IIPWG has long advocated to improve consideration of Indigenous Peoples in due diligence and risk assessment guidelines such as the Equator Principles (EPs) – an environmental and social risk management framework used by over 100 high-level financial institutions in nearly 40 countries.
The EPs serve to protect banks and financial institutions from costly ESG mishandling. In their current form, however, the EPs fail to adequately consider Indigenous Peoples’ rights, especially the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Native peoples on projects that may negatively impact them. Weak and noncommittal language in the EPs renders it obsolete for financial institutions that seek meaningful partnership with Indigenous Peoples to avoid social and environmental violence.
In 2019, letters were submitted to the Equator Principles Association (EPA) to address deeply flawed draft revisions to the EPs. These included a letter from institutional investors representing a total of $1.2 trillion AUM and another signed by 40 investment firms and Native organizations and advocates. IIPWG members attended public stakeholder meetings to voice concerns in London and Toronto, and a redline and outcomes documents were submitted to propose further improvements and detail challenges in the EPA's public stakeholder engagement process.