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New publication raises the benchmark for business engagement with indigenous peoples

Global Compact Network Australia | December 13, 2013

(Sydney, 13 December 2013) The Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) today launched in Australia a global guide from the UN Global Compact aimed at helping business understand and take action to respect and support the rights of indigenous peoples. The GCNA also launched an Indigenous Engagement Working Group with a number of leading Australian companies to advance understanding and action in the Australian business community.

The UN Global Compact’s Business Reference Guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Guide) was developed by an international business-led taskforce and advisory group, which included representatives from Australian companies Westpac Banking Corporation, KPMG Australia and Rio Tinto. The Guide was launched globally last week at the second annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva.

Catherine Hunter, Head of Corporate Citizenship at KPMG Australia, and Chair of the Board of the GCNA, who was part of the global taskforce and Expert Group that developed the Guide, said: “The Guide is a welcome and valuable tool to assist business to better understand the relevance of indigenous peoples’ rights to their activities, and how best to support and respect these rights. Importantly, it inspires confidence for business to know how best to engage with indigenous peoples with integrity, respect and in the true spirit of the UN Declaration.”

Building on the global Guide, the GCNA’s Indigenous Engagement Working Group (IEWG) aims to advance understanding and awareness in the Australian business community of the importance of positive Indigenous engagement, identify Australian good practice and contribute to the global UN agenda around business engagement with indigenous peoples on behalf of Australian business. Founding members of the group include Fortescue Metals Group, KPMG Australia, PwC Australia, Telstra Corporation, Westpac Banking Corporation, GHD Pty Ltd, International SOS, Sebel Furniture, Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility and Banarra.

Alice Cope, Executive Manager of the GCNA said: “We anticipate the IEWG will become a valuable business platform for sharing good practice, while also inspiring business to engage in a way that is mindful of human rights and fosters positive engagement with indigenous peoples.”

The Guide can be accessed here: www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/human_rights/IndigenousPeoples/BusinessGuide.pdf

Global Compact Network Australia

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative, with over 10,000 participants committed to respecting universal principles in human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and supporting UN goals including around sustainable development. The business-led Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) brings together Australian signatories to the UN Global Compact to advance the private sector’s contribution to sustainability through a national and international platform for dialogue, learning and influence.

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