First Peoples Worldwide is an Indigenous-led organization that translates on-the-ground impacts of investment affecting Indigenous Peoples to corporate decision-makers. We deploy multiple strategies at the intersection of business, law, and finance to build the business case for respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Please take a moment to read First Peoples Worldwide’s annual report, which encompasses project and engagement highlights from July 2020 through June 2021.
MESSAGE FROM FIRST PEOPLES WORLDWIDE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
I am delighted to present to you our Annual Report, and I am so grateful for our continued partnership with Indigenous Peoples, investors, and organizations around the world that make our work to drive change in the capital markets possible every day. Through these partnerships, we at First Peoples Worldwide have a unique view of the many ways that the ecosystem of corporate accountability is experiencing a tectonic shift in real-time.
First, for the last three decades the work of our founder Rebecca Adamson and others has mainstreamed corporate advocacy and shareholder advocacy strategies for Indigenous Peoples. After Rebecca’s retirement, Carla Fredericks, who led the organization through the end of 2020, recognized the opportunity to harness parallel strategies in the corporate, legal, and international human rights sector to create powerful channels of effective advocacy for Indigenous Peoples to decision-makers at all levels. When we field questions today, they are about how to deploy a campaign, what priorities to set, and which message to send. Thanks to these visionary women, and the work of so many Indigenous leaders, we have moved past the question of whether this strategy will work, but rather how best to point precious resources towards success.
Second, we are watching the waves of advocacy begin to create change across multiple sectors. In the banking sector especially, the questions have moved beyond what is free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), to how does FPIC work, what can we do to move this inherent right forward, and who else is operationalizing FPIC. The field is shifting, and our role is vital as a leader for sector-based movement in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and sovereignty.
Third, there is an appetite among sector leaders for more depth, more details and quick forward movement. We have continued to provide capacity building through one-on-one and workshop engagements about core issues such as FPIC, and the nexus between environmental, economic, and social sustainability. We have also seen an increase in desire for information about not just screening out bad practices, but how to move forward in a good way. More companies are asking how to build deal structures consonant with Indigenous values; which criteria to include in an investment thesis; and where to start activating metrics on the “S” in ESG.
Given our unique role at the intersection of business, law, and finance, this report highlights the many strategies that First Peoples Worldwide deployed to uplift Indigenous Peoples from July 2020 through June 2021.
In brief, we were honored to lead on the investor campaign that pushed the Washington Football Team to remove its racist name, and we continue to bring together the investors and Indigenous organizations to mobilize positive change and show that racist branding has no place in corporate culture. We also saw the power of integrating international advocacy and corporate engagement when 29 global financial institutions refused to finance oil and gas drilling in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge, sacred to the Gwich’in. Our work to support the Gwich’in Steering Committee continues to build on this success. We’ve also seen traction among investors and Native enterprise alike after the release of our paper Harnessing Private Equity for Indigenous Peoples. Finally, through our coordinating role for the Investors & Indigneous Peoples Working Group, the group drove action to uplift the priorities and concerns of Indigneous Peoples in investor circles, shareholder advocacy, and regulatory mechanisms.
I am grateful for the support of our partners, programmatic participants, and all who have come alongside this critical work in the last year and over the decades. We at First Peoples Worldwide look forward to continuing the work with you in the years ahead to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable future from a foundation of Indigenous values.
Kate R. Finn, Executive Director
First Peoples Worldwide