Monthly Archives: July 2010

Water Access Recognized as a Fundamental Human Right

On July 28, the United Nations General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution recognizing access to clean water as a fundamental human right (.pdf).  This U.N. resolution will likely feature in corporate dialogues with stakeholders regarding water use, water access, water production, and the impact of corporate activities on local watersheds. 

Finding solutions that provide for the current and future needs of all water users is imperative. The stakes for both companies and communities are significant: a recent report by the 2030 Water Resources Group,… More

New Report on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent

Foley Hoag recently released a ground-breaking report on the relationship between companies and indigenous peoplesTalisman Energy commissioned this report at the request of two responsible investors, Bâtirente and Regroupement pour la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (“RRSE”).  The World Resources Institute (“WRI”), a think tank and thought leader on indigenous rights, was asked to provide a third party commentary on it. … More

Conflict Minerals and the New Financial Reform Legislation

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (.pdf), signed into law by President Obama on July 21, contains provisions requiring publicly traded companies that utilize certain "conflict minerals" to report regarding whether their products are “conflict free” – meaning that they should report on any due diligence steps taken to demonstrate that their products are not fueling conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"). The legislation does not prohibit companies from using minerals from conflict areas. Rather,… More

Extractive Industry Transparency and the New Financial Reform Legislation

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (.pdf), signed into law by President Obama on July 21, contains broad-reaching transparency provisions requiring oil, gas, mining, and other extractive industry companies to report their payments to governments to the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

The premise of the bill is that transparency, in the long run, supports human rights, and helps limit corruption in countries where few benefits from mineral wealth typically reach the general population.… More

Supreme Court Rejects Pfizer’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Alien Tort Statute Case

On June 29th, the United States Supreme Court declined to grant a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Pfizer Inc. seeking review of a January 2009 decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals involving claims brought under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). The Second Circuit’s decision held that Nigerian plaintiffs could properly bring claims against Pfizer under the ATS for “violation of the norm of customary international law prohibiting medical experimentation on human subjects without their consent.” … More