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New ranking of Arctic oil, gas and mining companies on indigenous rights

A newly developed ranking evaluates the public commitments, formalized procedures and institutional arrangements of resource-extraction companies for handling indigenous rights in the Arctic. The purpose of the ranking is to support norm formation and to contribute to improving the performance of companies on indigenous rights by highlighting which companies have made a public commitment to indigenous rights, and to what extent.

The ranking covers 92 oil, gas and mining companies involved in onshore resource extraction above the Arctic Circle. Each company is assessed according to 20 criteria related to indigenous rights. The criteria were selected by evaluating the main guidelines and legal instruments related to resource extraction and indigenous rights in the Arctic. These criteria include commitments to international standards, the presence of organizational units dedicated to handling indigenous rights, competent staffing, track records on indigenous issues, transparency, and procedures for consulting with indigenous peoples. The application of these criteria to the companies indicated that 60% per cent of companies operating in the Arctic are poorly prepared to respect indigenous rights.

The top-ranking company is Teck Alaska Incorporated—a Canadian company operating in Alaska. Companies operating in the Canadian and US Arctic do better overall in the ranking than their counterparts operating in the Asian and European Arctic.  Oil and gas companies do better than mining companies. Petroleum companies have significantly better scores than mining companies, although the best performer is a mining company.

Interestingly, the ranking indicates that ratification of ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples does not guarantee that a country provides an adequate enabling environment for companies to respect indigenous rights, as companies in both Denmark/Greenland and Norway—the only two Arctic states that have ratified ILO 169—have low average scores.

This is the first time this ranking has been carried out, and it is therefore experimental. To read more about the ranking and see the results, see https://www.academia.edu/31311533/Ranking_Oil_Gas_and_Mining_Compan...

The author of the ranking is Research Professor Indra Overland of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).

The ranking is a product of the project Indigenous Peoples and Resource Extraction in the Arctic: Evaluating Ethical Guidelines led by the Arran Lule Sami Centre, Ajluokta/Drag, Norway and Funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

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