Indigenous and farming communities are groups of people with roots in a given area, be it historical, cultural and, of course, economical.
These groups develop a strong sense of belonging not only to each other but to the land they call home. When community land undergoes a change in the way it is owned and utilised, it can lead to serious conflicts.
Specifically, companies coming in to develop a commercial operation do not always understand the complexities of land tenure and how that can differ from country to country. Too often, communities are not compensated, consulted, or even warned about the coming development, which can lead to struggle and suffering for all involved. The solution can’t be to stop all development. However, it must start with engagement and dialogue. Forging positive relationships with communities is not just good for commercial operations, it is essential to build mutual respect and safeguard fundamental rights.
Respecting the rights and lands of communities is an element we infuse in all our work, both on the ground and in board rooms. We encourage strong commitments and provide tools and know-how, namely in the form of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) approach. It is also why we launched the Centre of Social Excellence, an educational program committed to transform development conflict into collaboration and opportunity.