Globally, there are over 476 million Indigenous People living in over 90 countries. Historically, indigenous peoples have been disproportionately marginalised, dispossessed and exploited by a dominant society and denied basic political, social and cultural rights. Businesses often cite the need to meet market demands for raw materials as justification for infringing the rights of indigenous peoples and seizing their lands. Thus the rights of indigenous peoples are pressing concerns somewhere down the supply chain of almost all businesses and organisations.
Responsible 100 has developed a number of introductory questions to help you explore this important issue and your organisation's exposure to it. Please respond with as much relevant information as you can. These questions are available via this Google Form.
Responsible 100 creates and develops detailed benchmarks on each of the issues we explore. Each benchmark identifies and defines different levels of performance as either POOR, OKAY, GOOD or EXCELLENT. A general statement describes those four performance levels in summary. Under each statement, examples of the sorts of policies and practices businesses are observed pursuing are listed, usually broken down into categories, e.g. Policies & Procedures; Target Setting, Measurement & Reporting; or Leadership, Advocacy & Culture. Some such lists include 50 or more examples. The above reveals the current summary statements only. The complete benchmarks are shared with those organisations which, through offering answers to the above questions - and any other relevant details about what they do, how and why - help to shape and improve the benchmarks on an ongoing basis.
Indigenous peoples are distinct social and cultural groups that share collective ancestral ties to the lands and natural resources where they live, occupy or from which they have been displaced. The World Bank estimates that there are over 476 million Indigenous Peoples making up 5,000 unique groups that live in over 90 countries.
Indigenous People’s right to self-determination and the protection of their land, culture and livelihood is protected by the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Despite this, indigenous peoples remain disadvantaged facing human rights abuses such as violence, forced migration and forced assimilation by governments and businesses around the world. They face marginalisation and discrimination in legal systems, which makes them more vulnerable to abuse.
Indigenous human rights advocates who call for change are frequently targets of state-sponsored harassment and violence. Additionally, they may be killed and physically assaulted simply for belonging to an indigenous group. Indigenous peoples have been accused of treason or terrorism for peacefully attempting to protect their cultural identity or exert authority over their ancestral lands, which are frequently abundant in resources and biodiversity.
As indigenous peoples often lack formal recognition over their lands, territories and natural resources, businesses have often found ways to exploit indigenous lands.
Outside of certain high risk sectors such as agribusiness, mining, forestry, biofuels, energy and tourism, businesses are unlikely to be intentionally participating in the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples, although supply chain risks exist for practically all businesses irrespective of size, sector or location.
Any business or organisation has the ability to support indigenous peoples (through e.g. a related cause or campaign it chooses to support) by using its voice or any position of power to call out bad actors and encourage governments to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, raising public awareness (e.g. through social media), donating to indigenous peoples' rights campaigns, and/or by purchasing goods and services from indigenous peoples.