The Revised Equator Principles Call on Companies to Seek Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Next up Governments

7 September 2012 - Foley Hoag, Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law, Amy K Lehr

The new draft Equator Principles reflect and build upon theIFC Performance Standards’ requirement that companies obtain the free, prior, and informed consent ("FPIC") of indigenous peoples for development projects. This language reflects the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”), which was supported by all but four countries in the UN General Assembly in 2007. The four countries that originally voted against the Declaration – the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – have since reversed their positions.  Although the Declaration is a soft law instrument and therefore not binding on companies, given the broad support that it received at the UN General Assembly, it is certainly persuasive. And, in fact, national courts of countries including Belize and Colombia have begun to cite to the Declaration in their court decisions related to indigenous peoples. Read More.