The steps to stop a pipeline – #NoDAPL

The steps to stop a pipeline – #NoDAPL

We came across an article that we wanted to share part of.  The article is more about a bigger picture but a section depicts the many working parts of a pipeline fight. What we know as boots on the ground, defund DAPL and keyboard warriors are explained in a more detailed view.

We left the entire section of the article intact. It is quoted exactly but highlighted in bold are the talking points we focused on. We see it as “the steps to stop a pipeline.”

—- From the Article —-

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Dakota Access Pipeline

Although Indigenous Peoples and investors have come together frequently over the last decade, few examples are as visible and powerful as what occurred during the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on their treaty territory.

The Tribe had expressed their desire to reroute the pipeline away from their lands as early as 2014, filed a legal case in 2016 directly opposing the route as planned, and expressed to the media their position that the pipeline violated their treaty rights.

When DAPL’s parent company—Energy Transfer Partners—continued construction, decimating objects with cultural and spiritual value to tribes across the Great Plains, the clear disregard for the Tribes’ resources and concerns led to significant social unrest.

Indigenous Peoples and allies from around the world gathered on the banks of the Cannonball River to physically protest construction of the pipeline. In fact, the #NoDAPL movement swelled to 15,000 people at its apex and resulted in conflict, arrests and further human rights violations.

In parallel to legal and international advocacy measures, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe activated a shareholder advocacy campaign targeted towards financial institutions funding pipeline construction.

The Tribe, supported by a significant coalition of investors, sent a letter representing over $685 billion assets under management—the total market value managed on behalf of the investors’ clients—that elevated to those institutions the real-time impacts of corporate actors’ failure to consider human rights during construction.

After meeting with multiple institutions over the course of the campaign, several European banks pulled their commitments from the pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s corporate engagement campaign put the rights of Indigenous Peoples on the radar as a material consideration for financial institutions. In 2018, First Peoples Worldwide used publicly available data to study whether the social and human rights risks attendant to DAPL manifested in financial losses. The study found that, though initially estimated to cost $3.8 billion, the pipeline cost more than $12 billion by the time it was operational in June 2017, losses accumulated from the long delays in construction due to social unrest and legal filings.

Energy Transfer Partners’ stock price significantly underperformed relative to market expectations during the event study period, and it experienced a long-term decline in value that persisted after the project was completed. In fact, from August 2016 to September 2018—while the S&P 500 increased by nearly 35 percent—ETP’s stock declined by almost 20 percent.

While the case study does not attribute this underperformance exclusively to social pressure, the early failure to respect the human rights of the affected Indigenous Peoples led to social protests and pressure, which led to the delays that ultimately cost the company and associated financial institutions billions of dollars.

Given these financial losses, this case study demonstrates the need for corporate directors and shareholders to understand, review, and incorporate respect for Indigenous Peoples into their business operations as a matter of fiduciary duty, if not as a matter of sustainable finance.

By Carla F. Fredericks & Kate R. Finn
Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR)

—- END Quoted Article —-

Our notes – Every step mattered. The youth that initiated the stand. The first “Aunties” that showed up in support. Bold actions to bring awareness. More people attend. Hundreds of arrests. Keyboard warriors who brought human rights violations to main stream news. Nations gathered and the sacred fire still burns. To this day, that pipeline is declared illegal and it’s future is all but certain.

Indigenous Peoples have pioneered the use of shareholder advocacy as a strong tool to integrate respect for human rights into corporate practice, successfully eradicating racist branding and addressing cultural appropriation.

For example, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility organized 800 investors to call on Liz Claiborne to retire the “Crazy Horse” brand; in 2007, the label was discontinued.

Similarly, after long engagement around the Washington NFL team’s racist logo and mascot, in June 2020 investors—representing more than $620 billion in assets—sent a letter to corporate sponsors Nike, PepsiCo, and FedEx urging them to make good on their commitments to eradicate racism by pressuring the team to change its name.

A letter with nearly 1,500 signatories of Native organizations and leaders was sent to show the wide consensus for change in Indian Country. By July 13, the team had retired the name and logo.

From Standing Rock to the NFL, finding the path to the pocket book is changing the game. For Standing Rock, that path was started by a handful of young people sitting in the way of a black snake coming.

Still saying #NoDAPL