Corporate Social Responsibility and the Extractive Sector

January 1, 2012

As the only law firm in the United States with a Corporate Social Responsibility and Risk Management Practice, Foley Hoag is singularly equipped to help clients put human rights principles and aspirations into practice in a manner that minimizes uncertainties and maximizes business opportunities. To this end, we assist clients in managing legal risks, safeguarding corporate reputations, and turning the challenges of globalization into a competitive advantage.

Companies in the oil, gas, and mining industries face the complex challenge of conducting their operations in a manner that not only respects national and international laws, but also observes voluntary standards and industry guidelines concerning social and environmental issues. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that exploration and extractive activities around the world present increasing legal and reputational risks in the areas of human rights, labor rights, security practices, and the rule of law.

Foley Hoag’s Corporate Social Responsibility Practice helps companies in the extractive industries to identify risks and understand the implications and requirements of a wide range of international guidelines and standards. We work with clients to monitor and benchmark their efforts against the relevant standards applicable to the extractive sector, as well as industry best practices, and to develop strategies to manage business risks. Key standards that impact the industry include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labor Organization’s Conventions, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the United Nations Global Compact, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Our attorneys are experts in advising corporate leaders on how best to guide their operations to achieve both business objectives and the highest levels of compliance with critical human rights standards. We also assist companies in building effective channels of communication and positive relationships with key stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, the media, unions, socially responsible investor groups, and indigenous communities. In addition, we help clients establish partnerships with international organizations that foster social and marketplace stability in the developing countries in which they operate.

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