With greater awareness of environmental and social issues investors have asked companies to report on how their activities impact communities. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports are standard for large corporations nowadays which let investors (and interested parties) see what the company has been up to reconcile any negative impacts the company has perpetuated. Increasingly, investors are asking for CSR statements to include indigenous issues since companies that ignore local concerns tend to perform worse, a good example of this is the recent debacle of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In Canada and around the world, we are entering a time where the prudent company is the company that secures Indigenous consent before beginning activities, involves Indigenous peoples as partners, and works with them to establish a clear framework for ongoing relations in order to renew and maintain relationships. For investors, strong Indigenous relations are a marker that a company is a stable investment, with management foresight, solid partnerships and prospects for sustainable growth.
This is proof that direct protest action works.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has decided to not grant permission to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to be built as planned. The pipeline was meant to go through burial lands of the Standing Rock Sioux which is offensive in itself, but there’s more to it. The pipeline would have also greatly harmed the local ecosystem and drinking water. In the event of a spill (and pipelines spill all the time) the damage to the natural environment and to people would be epic.
Despite these risks, Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to try to build the pipeline elsewhere. Of course this recent development will make it harder to do so and the protestors will continue to fight big oil for the average person’s right to clean water. What’s more, is that the economic argument for pipelines is weak at best.
The Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, the army announced on Sunday, handing a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe after a months-long campaign against the pipeline.
The announcement came just one day before the corps’ deadline for thousands of Native American and environmental activists – who call themselves water protectors – to leave the sprawling encampment on the banks of the river. For months, they have protested over their fears that the pipeline would contaminate their water source and destroy sacred sites, and over the weekend hundreds of military veterans arrived at the camps in a show of support for the movement.