Translate Lex Sustineo

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

IFC Performance Standards on Environmental & Social Sustainability: A Global Benchmark for CSR with Legal Implications for International Trade and Finance

In May 2009, the Government of Canada established the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor (“CSR Counsellor”) and explicitly endorsed the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards on Environmental & Social Sustainability (IFC Performance Standards) as a primary part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expectations for the Canadian mining and oil & gas industries. This endorsement was but the latest development to highlight the increasingly important role the IFC Performance Standards play in setting the standard for CSR and sustainable development in foreign direct investment. In considering the concept of CSR from a legal perspective, it gives rise to questions about the legal implications of the use of this environmental and social risk management standard in international trade, particularly as it may come to be used in investment disputes and to impose liability on lenders and borrowers.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

CSR and Litigation Strategies - Comments on Forbes' CSR Blog Article "Shell, Corporate Social Responsibility and Respect for the Law"

Forbes' CSR blog posted an interesting article by Amol Mehra and Katie Shay on Shell's litigation strategy in relation to litigation under the United States Alien Tort Statute (ATS).  In the article, the authors criticize Shell's arguments to the US Supreme Court that the ATS should not apply so as to bring the allegations (which relate to activities in Nigeria) within the jurisdiction of a US Court.  While I respect their views and think it is an important question to consider, I strongly disagree with their conclusions...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Meaning of "Prior" in Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples

The new Performance Standard 7 of the IFC Performance Standards for Environmental and Social Sustainability, used in environmental and social risk management by Financial Institutions through the Equator Principles Framework, requires the application of the "Free, Prior and Informed Consent" concept to certain projects affecting Indigenous Peoples.  In the book IFC Performance Standards for Environmental and Social Sustainability: A Guidebook, lawyer Pierre Christian Labeau discusses the meaning of "prior" in the context of FPIC.