In cooperation with investor partners, Praxis Mutual Funds® has engaged ConocoPhillips on indigenous rights issues for more than a decade. The most recent conversation took place in October, covering the company’s Indigenous Peoples Sustainability Report, regional updates from Canada, Australia, and Alaska, and a discussion over metrics meant to measure the company’s social performance in these areas.
During the course of this engagement, ConocoPhillips has made progress on developing positive and mutually beneficial relationships with the indigenous communities it relates to, and implementing a robust free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) structure. ConocoPhillips was one of the first energy companies to embed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into their human rights policy.
Praxis has also engaged other companies on indigenous concerns. Several years ago, at the request of local indigenous communities, Praxis co-filed shareholder proposals at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley related to the Dakota Access Pipeline and indigenous rights. Both were providing financing to companies building the pipeline, despite having strong indigenous rights policies.
Praxis and the other filers withdrew their proposals after the companies agreed to review how they could extend their indigenous rights policies to cover more energy and mining infrastructure operations, leading to better outcomes on controversial projects.
Additionally, Praxis has participated in numerous shareholder letters and statements to banks, insurers, and energy companies – urging restraint in the development of mining and energy projects where indigenous groups oppose them.
Praxis will continue to collaborate with other investors and indigenous communities to promote indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination.