Private Sector Engagement

Progressive companies and investors are making public commitments to respect community rights in their operations, but implementation of commitments has been uneven and opaque. Demand for land is intensifying, but little has yet been done to implement commitments, and local peoples continue to be marginalized in the face of growing threats.

Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendants, and local communities live on and manage over 50 percent of the world’s land, but governments recognize their legal ownership rights to just 10 percent. And as investors and corporations have pushed into increasingly remote rural areas seeking land for agribusiness, oil and gas exploration, infrastructure, and renewable energy projects, they have increasingly found themselves coming into conflict with communities over contested land. These disputes not only jeopardize the rights and livelihoods of local communities, Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendants, and the women within them; they also pose a threat to companies and investors as projects can become mired in long and costly conflicts with communities that can lead to work stoppages, stalled investments, and project abandonment.

As the financial and operational costs of insecure indigenous and community land rights, or “tenure risk,” have become increasingly apparent, some progressive global companies and investors have committed to addressing land rights in their operations. However, implementing these commitments across sprawling global supply chains has proved challenging.

Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) works to catalyze private sector action on land rights by:

  • Steering the Interlaken Group, an informal network of individual leaders from influential companies, investors, CSOs, government and international organization committed to expanding and leveraging private sector action to secure community land rights
  • Producing analyses quantifying the costs of tenure risk across regions and sectors
  • Convening stakeholders from the private sector, governments, and civil society at the global and national levels to share learning on mitigating tenure risk
  • Identifying ways for these stakeholders to support community-led economic models as an alternative to large-scale land acquisitions.

Interlaken Group

The Interlaken Group is an informal network of individual leaders from influential companies, investors, civil society organizations, governments, and international organizations. The purpose of the Interlaken Group is to expand and leverage private sector action to secure community land rights. Together they develop, adopt, and disseminate new tools and advance new “pre-competitive” mechanisms to accelerate private sector learning on responsible land rights practices. Learn more about the Interlaken Group.

Resources recap

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