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Earth Matters
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Earth Matters

Indigenous Peoples, the Extractive Industries and Corporate Social Responsibility 

Edited by Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh and Saleem Ali
November 2008   272 +viii pp   234 x 156 mm  
hardback   ISBN 978-1-906093-16-7   £35.00  


Review copies   Inspection copies
“This book challenges the extractive industry to examine some difficult dilemmas confronting miners and indigenous peoples in terms of corporate social responsibility ... Any mining executive – indeed any developer – concerned about the social context of a project will find this a stimulating and thought-provoking read.” – Tom Albanese, CEO, Rio Tinto

 

Indigenous peoples have historically gained little from large-scale resource development on their traditional lands, and have suffered from its negative impacts on their cultures, economies and societies. During recent decades indigenous groups and their allies have fought hard to change this situation: in some cases by opposing development entirely; in many others by seeking a fundamental change in the distribution of benefits and costs from resource exploitation. In doing so they have utilised a range of approaches, including efforts to win greater recognition of indigenous rights in international fora; pressure for passage of national and state or provincial legislation recognising indigenous land rights and protecting indigenous culture; litigation in national and international courts; and direct political action aimed at governments and developers, often in alliance with non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

At the same time, and partly in response to these initiatives, many of the corporations that undertake large-scale resource exploitation have sought to address concerns regarding the impact of their activities on indigenous peoples by adopting what are generally referred to as ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) policies. This book focuses on such corporate initiatives. It does not treat them in isolation, recognising that their adoption and impact is contextual, and is related both to the wider social and political framework in which they occur and to the activities and initiatives of indigenous peoples. It does not treat them uncritically, recognising that they may in some cases consist of little more than exercises in public relations. However, neither does it approach them cynically, recognising the possibility that, even if CSR policies and activities reflect hard-headed business decisions, and indeed perhaps particularly if they do so, they can generate significant benefits for indigenous peoples if appropriate accountability mechanisms are in place.

In undertaking an in-depth analysis of CSR and indigenous peoples in the extractive industries, the book seeks to answer the following questions. What is the nature and extent of CSR initiatives in the extractive industries and how should they be understood? What motivates companies to pursue CSR policies and activities? How do specific political, social and legal contexts shape corporate behaviour? What is the relationship between indigenous political action and CSR? How and to what extent can corporations be held accountable for their policies and actions? Can CSR help bring about a fundamental change in the distribution of benefits and costs from large-scale resource exploitation and, if so, under what conditions can this occur?

Earth Matters gathers key experts from around the world who discuss corporate initiatives in Alaska, Ecuador, Australia, Canada, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Russia. The book explores the great diversity that characterises initiatives and policies under the name of ‘corporate social responsibility’, the highly contingent and contextual nature of corporate responses to indigenous demands, and the complex and evolving nature of indigenous–corporate relations. It also reveals much about the conditions under which CSR can contribute to a redistribution of benefits and costs from large-scale resource development.

Earth Matters will be essential reading for those working in and studying the extractive industry worldwide, as well as those readers looking for a state-of-the-art description of how CSR is functioning in perhaps its most difficult setting.

  
PRAISE

“This book challenges the extractive industry to examine some difficult dilemmas confronting miners and indigenous peoples in terms of corporate social responsibility. The Rio Tinto Group believes that there is a strong business case for corporate social responsibility and that, done well, it can create enduring value for shareholders. Constructive scrutiny and debate are an essential element of this. However, as the case studies in this volume demonstrate, the political context shapes both the nature of that debate and the practice of corporate social responsibility. Any mining executive – indeed any developer – concerned about the social context of a project will find this a stimulating and thought-provoking read.”
Tom Albanese, CEO, Rio Tinto

"In a field so prone to diatribe and polemic, Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh and Saleem Ali have produced an analysis that will be useful to indigenous communities, corporations, activists, scholars, students, and policy-makers. Their extensive fieldwork and research yield invaluable ‘dos’ and ‘don'ts’ that can help protect rights and permit mutually beneficial results on the ground."
Joseph P. Kalt, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy; Co-Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The 500-year-long collision course between indigenous peoples and those interested in possessing the resources embedded in and on their lands has entered a new phase as corporations face heightened social responsibility scrutiny at a time when indigenous peoples finally enjoy international recognition of their rights. This volume is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the myriad ways in which indigenous peoples and extractive industries are engaging with one another in the contemporary globalised era.
Ellen L. Lutz, Executive Director, Cultural Survival

… it is essential to have available rigorous, critical analysis of the policies, motives and actions of multinational resource corporations in their dealings with indigenous peoples. It is equally important to appreciate the differing responses of indigenous groups, and to understand the impact of dominant political and legal systems on the choices open to them and on the strategies they pursue in dealing with corporations. This book makes a valuable contribution in this regard. It brings together information on the experiences of indigenous peoples around the world, of the impacts on them of corporate policies and actions, and of the successes and failures of indigenous peoples in engaging with resource companies and governments. By doing so it will help ensure that the principle of ‘corporate social responsibility’ becomes a reality in the Kimberley and in other indigenous homelands.
Wayne Bergmann, Executive Director, Kimberley Land Council

  
REVIEWS

This, when published, was a brave book. It tackles community issues which are uncomfortable for many companies because the resolution of the issues is neither clear-cut nor complete. The documentation of the issues is an important contribution to the on-going search for solutions.

The book chronicles efforts and activities relating to indigenous peoples who are directly or indirectly affected by mining activities. There is more reference to experiences with aboriginal peoples in Australia than other areas of the World (which include indigenous peoples in Russia, Peru, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and the Arctic). I was disappointed with the depth of material covering Africa, which has its own set of social and economic problems, as it reflects against women, artisanal miners and children.

Having said that, the book is rich in detail and depth for the areas and grouping it does cover. The different papers make extensive reference to the available literature on their various subjects and they give clear and detailed perspectives.
Eagle Bulletin 20.1 (July 2010)

I just came across a new volume edited by O'Faircheallaigh and Ali which focuses on an interesting, important, yet often ignored relationship between resource extraction and indigenous peoples. Understanding that the extractive industries are almost never led by indigenous peoples, these interactions are then global in nature, and span a history of conflict and unease. The volume editors were wise to engage the authorship of important thinkers of today, as the problematic explored reaches far and wide, and it must, then, be explored with different lenses. The book achieves a solid balance between theoretical insight and illustrative content, to a variety of audiences interested on this timely and critical topic.
Catalin Ratiu weblog, November 2008

It is rare and refreshing to find an academic book that focuses on a single issue in a particular sector .. most [chapters] have clear practical relevance, covering issues like stakeholder agreements, social impact assessment and engagement with indigenous women ... CSR academics focused on either the extractives sector, or indigenous people will find this an extremely useful collection. Even for CSR managers with responsibilities in these areas, there are insights and lessons to benefit from, if they hone in on the particular countries, sectors and issues that fit their responsibilities or tackle their most pressing challenges. I hope this book becomes the trailblazer for a new sector-based, issue-specific genre of presenting academic research.
Wayne Visser, Founder & CEO, CSR International

 

Foreword

Wayne Bergmann, Executive Director, Kimberley Land Council
    
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Introduction

Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh, Department of Politics and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia
    
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1. Corporate social responsibility and democratisation: opportunities and obstacles

Katherine Trebeck, Research and Policy Executive, the Wise Group, Glasgow, UK
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2. The impact of resource development on social ties: theory and methods for assessment

Sharman Haley, Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA, and James Magdanz, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Kotzebue Alaska, USA
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3. Realising solidarity: indigenous peoples and NGOs in the contested terrains of mining and corporate accountability

Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada
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4. Understanding corporate–Aboriginal agreements on mineral development: a conceptual framework

Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh, Department of Politics and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia
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5. Indigenous peoples, corporate social responsibility and the fragility of the interpersonal domain

Richie Howitt, Department of Human Geography, Macquarie University, Australia, and Rebecca Lawrence, Department of Sociology, University of Stockholm, Sweden
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6. Corporate engagement with indigenous women in the minerals industry: making space for theory

Ginger Gibson, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, Canada, and Deanna Kemp, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland, Australia
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7. Archaeological heritage and traditional forests within the logging economy of British Columbia: an opportunity for corporate social responsibility

Bill Angelbeck, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada
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8. Indigenous employment outcomes in the Australian mining industry

Tanuja Barker, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland, Australia
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9. The fragmentation of responsibilities in the Melanesian mining sector

Colin Filer and John Burton, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, and Glenn Banks, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, New Zealand
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10. Shareholder activism and corporate behaviour in Ecuador: a comparative study of two oil ventures

Emily McAteer, RiskMetrics Group, USA, Jamie Cerretti, Environment America, USA, and Saleem H. Ali, University of Vermont, USA
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11. Environmental justice concerns with transnational mining operations: exploring the limitations of post-crisis community dialogues in Peru

Isabelle Anguelovski, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
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12. Indigenous people and mineral resource extraction in Russia: the case of diamonds

Susan A. Crate, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, USA, and Natalia Yakovleva, BRASS Research Centre, Cardiff University, UK
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13. Conclusion

Saleem H. Ali, University of Vermont, USA
    
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Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Brisbane. He is the author of A New Approach to Policy Evaluation: Mining and Indigenous People (Ashgate, 2002) and numerous monographs on indigenous people and resource development, negotiation, social impact assessment and public management. He has worked as a negotiator and advisor for many of Australia’s leading Aboriginal organisations.


Saleem H. Ali is associate professor of environmental planning at the University of Vermont and on the adjunct faculty of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. He is the author of Mining the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (University of Arizona Press, 2004) and the editor of Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press, 2007). Dr Ali has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Tufts University, a master’s in Environmental Studies from Yale University and a doctorate in environmental planning from MIT. Further details about his research can be found on www.uvm.edu/~shali.