Greater engagement with indigenous communities needed: SHARE

first_img Divestment and engagement work together to drive ESG Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Keywords Shareholder activismCompanies Shareholder Association for Research and Education Power, politics and passivity in the public markets Investors must fight against income inequality, SHARE says Greater engagement with indigenous communities needed: SHARE The Vancouver-based shareholder advocacy organization issued a report on Thursday detailing the results of its review of the disclosure of 173 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, focusing on indigenous issues. Overall, the research found that this disclosure “is often incomplete, inconsistent or lacking altogether.” The report finds that just 1% of these companies have indigenous board members; only 3% are committed to seeking the informed consent of indigenous communities on initiatives that may affect them; and just 5% provide disclosure on indigenous employment in senior roles. The financial services sector, particularly the big banks, is doing better than many other sectors in certain areas, the report states: “Many listed financial institutions provided good disclosure on employment contracting and training. Notably, Canada’s large banks led the sector in discussing and reporting on indigenous indicators more generally. “Unfortunately, our findings show that many issuers in Canada often do not consider their performance with respect to indigenous peoples to be either relevant or material. For these reasons, current public reporting provides a limited window into a corporation’s policies and practices, and is insufficient for investors to know which issuers are conducting business in a way that supports reconciliation,” the SHARE report says. “Companies may be doing more to advance indigenous relations, employment, advancement, training, and contracting than is apparent from their public reporting. If so, this information is not publicly available to shareholders.” As a result, the SHARE report calls on institutional investors and companies to help drive the process of reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Canada. It notes that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) final report in 2015 included a recommendation for the corporate sector to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in its own operations (known as Call to Action 92). “Call to Action 92 is an important rallying cry for both investors and companies” says Delaney Greig, engagement analyst at SHARE and co-author of the report. “Companies need to stop viewing indigenous relations as risk management and instead cultivate relationships with indigenous peoples as partners, employees and neighbours.” “We have a powerful role to play as institutional investors, in mobilizing our voice and investment dollars to support reconciliation in the Canadian economy and with Canadian companies,” adds Andrea Nemtin, president and CEO of Inspirit Foundation, which helped fund the research. SHARE says it’s engaging with companies on behalf of certain institutional investors to improve firms’ policies, practices and public reporting related to indigenous issues. The organization is also co-hosting a series of workshops with indigenous organizations and businesses on the need for greater disclosure of business and reconciliation practices in Canada. “We believe that if investors do not ask, issuers will not tell,” it says. Photo copyright: izanbar/123RF Related news James Langton Corporate Canada does a relatively poor job of providing disclosure on its engagement with indigenous communities and its handling of indigenous issues, according to a new study from the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE). Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more