A report jointly released by the Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRIS) and the Centre for Australian Ethical Research (CAER) looks at the measures companies are implementing to address indigenous and land rights issues.

The report examines the policies of seven large companies, and finds that while most offer a basic public commitment to indigenous rights, sectors such as forestry and agriculture lag behind. Furthermore, the research finds that few companies are committed to achieving informed consent for all projects, and that the quality of reporting on indigenous rights issues is generally poor.

EIRIS warned that companies engaging in activities that may infringe the rights of indigenous peoples face increasing reputational risks, the threat of litigation and increased regulation. Christal George, corporate ethics researcher at CAER said: ‘The recent adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by 143 countries as members of UN General Assembly, sends a clear signal that, as international standards evolve, companies will increasingly be brought into the spotlight and their actions scrutinised.’