Protecting Indigenous Peoples Through Socially Responsible Investment

Indigenous Law Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1, Fall 2007

30 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2007


This paper canvasses a new approach to protecting Indigenous peoples that targets the institutions that financially sponsor the development projects and companies that can often harm Indigenous livelihoods. To revitalize and protect their communities and legal systems, Indigenous peoples must reckon with the power of financial markets. Encouragingly, through the movement for socially responsible investment, which has had earlier successes such as its campaign against investment in apartheid South Africa, some financiers are beginning to respect Indigenous rights and interests. Some mutual funds remove companies that violate Indigenous rights from their investment portfolios, while other investors seek change through shareholder activism. Much more needs to be done, however, if SRI is to have an impact. Some states have started to introduce informational and incentive based policy mechanisms to promote SRI, which may eventually enable the financial sector to be a source of support rather than an obstacle to Indigenous self-determination.

Keywords: Indigenous peoples, socially responsible investment, finance, environmental law

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Richardson, Benjamin J., Protecting Indigenous Peoples Through Socially Responsible Investment. Available at SSRN:

Benjamin J. Richardson (Contact Author)

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 89
Hobart, Tasmania 7001


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