Last winter, Praxis Mutual Funds® co-filed shareholder resolutions with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, asking the companies to report on how their indigenous rights policies could be extended to their decisions to finance firms involved in energy, mining, oil and gas, and infrastructure operations. The resolutions were spurred by the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) controversy and the potential risks of infringing on indigenous rights.
After conversations with Praxis and other shareholders, Goldman Sachs committed to future dialogues to discuss concerns raised by the investor group and what changes may prevent DAPL-type problems in the future. Morgan Stanley committed to review its entire environmental, social and governance policy, including its indigenous peoples policy, with an intention to improve it. In response, all of the shareholders withdrew their resolutions.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have strong indigenous rights policies which apply to how they finance specific projects in indigenous territories. However, both companies have indirectly provided financing to firms that participated in building the DAPL. Praxis believes that the new measures by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will lead to better outcomes for controversial projects.