Canadian resource companies must adopt new standards on community engagement to mitigate risk, says Ethical Funds

    VANCOUVER, March 5 /CNW/ - Canadian mining, energy and oil and gas
companies can minimize reputational, operational and fiduciary risks by
adopting the latest evolving standards on engaging and benefiting indigenous
communities, according to a new executive brief from The Ethical Funds
    Around the world, communities have begun to deny corporations access to
resources, fearing adverse environmental impacts and negative economic
consequences. The Ethical Funds brief, Winning the Social License to Operate,
gives resource extraction company executives and board members a set of
top-line recommendations to follow to help successfully manage this growing
assertiveness. Top among the recommendations is the adoption of the standard
of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) when dealing with indigenous
    "Recent history has given us many cases of major resource companies
seeing their multi-billion dollar projects evaporate, their reputations
dragged through the mud and their share prices tumble, because they have not
taken the time or made the effort to fully inform and consult with indigenous
communities," said Robert Walker, Vice President of Sustainability for Ethical
Funds. "A new approach is needed for our leading mining, energy and oil and
gas companies if they are to avoid the mistakes of the past."
    Ethical Funds will use the findings of its research to guide portions of
its shareholder action dialogue during 2008, including engaging Canada's
leaders in the mining and oil and gas industries.
    "Resource extraction companies must at least review these new FPIC
standards and consider their adoption if they are to ensure their expensive
investments see a return," said Walker. "And the more progressive companies
are the ones that are recognizing the need for community consultation and the
delivery of tangible benefits to impacted communities. If FPIC has not yet
fully arrived, it is clearly on the horizon."

    Ethical Funds' executive research paper can be read in full at:

    About Ethical Funds

    Launched in 1992, Ethical Funds is Canada's leading manager of socially
responsible mutual funds, delivering a successful track-record of combining
financial performance with making good companies better. Ethical Funds has
multiple award-winning funds and Canada's largest team of sustainability
analysts. Ethical Funds is a division of Northwest & Ethical Investments LP.

For further information:

For further information: Jane Mitchell, Public Relations, Ethical Funds,
Tel: (604) 714-3843,

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