Toronto, ON, May 9, 2017 – On Thursday, May 11, shareholders of Enbridge Inc. will vote on a shareholder proposal calling for disclosure of the company’s process to identify and address social and environmental risks, including Indigenous rights risks, when reviewing potential acquisitions.
The proposal is a result of Enbridge’s recent acquisition of a 27.5% ownership stake in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a project that raised concern from Indigenous Peoples, investors and three US Federal Agencies about the adequacy of Indigenous consultation and environmental assessment.
The Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) supported the Sisters of Charity – Halifax, in filing the resolution to encourage investors to hold Enbridge accountable to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) call to action for business. Specifically, the TRC calls on Canadian companies to conduct business in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), including ensuring the free, prior & informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples before proceeding with economic development projects that would affect them, their territories or their resources.
“We believe that attention to Indigenous rights in company decisions is important both for the value of a company and for reconciliation in Canada”, says Sister Cecilia Hudec, Canonical Treasurer, Sister of Charity – Halifax. “When a company makes an acquisition or investment decision without considering how it may impact Indigenous Peoples it not only risks reputational damage, regulatory intervention and financial loss, it also inhibits progress towards the development of an inclusive, fair economy that respects First Peoples.”
The DAPL project was subject to months of protests and regulatory delays as the Standing Rock Sioux raised alarm about the destruction of sacred sites and possible contamination of drinking water.
A similar shareholder resolution was filed at Marathon Petroleum, which owns 9% of the DAPL project. 32% of Marathon shareholders supported the proposal at its annual meeting on April 26.
“The vote at Enbridge is an opportunity to send a clear signal to the company that its shareholders have a strong interest in how their company assesses and addresses Indigenous rights, human rights, and environmental concerns in investment decision-making,” says Delaney Greig, Engagement Analyst at SHARE. ”After Northern Gateway, the significance of this issue for the company cannot be overstated.”
Through its Business & Reconciliation program, SHARE is working with institutional investors and Indigenous groups to engage with companies on the importance of adequate social and environmental due diligence, the implementation of free, prior and informed consent, and economic opportunities for Indigenous people.
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Notes for Editors
Interviews available with Delaney Greig, Engagement Analyst, SHARE; Sister Cecilia Hudec, Canonical Treasurer, Sisters of Charity – Halifax; and Steve Sitting Bear, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Contact: Norah Murphy, 604.695.2026 or [email protected]
About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)
SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors. Since its creation as a non-profit organization in 2000, SHARE has provided proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada.
www.share.ca / @share_ca