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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Shareholders, NGOs, raise questions about Newmont Mining’s social and environmental risks at company’s Annual General Meeting April 26th, 2012

Shareholders and NGOs at the Newmont Mining annual meeting in Wilmington, DE on Tuesday, April 24, questioned company senior management and the Board of Directors about the operational and reputational risks Newmont faces in Peru, and emphasized the need for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local communities where Newmont operates. In addition, the group strongly encouraged additional disclosure by the company on its environmental and social guidelines and practices, including Board oversight of these issues. The Missionary Oblates are involved in the dialog with Newmont, with particular concerns about the company’s operations in Peru, the Congo and Indonesia.

In 2007, in response to a shareholder proposal filed by members of The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Newmont agreed to conduct a global review of its policies and practices related to community opposition in its mining operations. At this year’s annual shareholder meeting, the lead proponent of that proposal, Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), expressed frustration over Newmont’s lack of disclosure on the implementation its Community Relations Review (CRR).

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Corporations Make Strides in Conserving Water April 9th, 2012

Two companies, which the Missionary Oblates and other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), have engaged in long-term corporate dialogs, have adopted important water-use reduction and management goals.

The Coca-Cola Company has announced a goal of becoming water neutral in their direct operations by 2020, and has taken a leadership role in corporate water management efforts. Coca Cola released its fifth annual Global Water Stewardship and Replenish Report on World Water Day (March 22nd). The company also recently released its first GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) report, an important move to increase transparency of data on its sustainability efforts.

Ford Motor Company recently announced plans to cut the amount of water used to make each of its vehicles by 30 percent, as of 2015, compared with the amount of water used in 2009. Under its Global Water Management Initiative adopted in 2000, the company had already reduced water use per vehicle by 62% as of 2010. Ford has recognized water as a material issue, along with other environmental, human rights and financial impacts on the corporation, and has identified water as one of its top priorities. Operating as it does in a number of water-stressed areas, the car manufacturer is investing in technologies that make its manufacturing processes less water intensive, as well as technologies for treating and reusing wastewater.

The Missionary Oblates JPIC Office has increasingly focused on water in its faith-consistent investment work as a vital issue affecting the health and well being of people across the globe, but especially the poor living in water-stressed and water scarce areas.

 

 

 


April Newbrief from the JPIC Commission Office in Rome April 5th, 2012

The Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation USG/UISG Secretariat has issued their Newsbrief for April. The newsletter is available in English and Spanish. Useful resources given on mining, land grabbing, water and more…

 

 


March 22 is World Water Day! March 22nd, 2012

Water is essential for life, and yet increasingly, both in the United States and around the world, water is becoming a scarce commodity. Once largely taken for granted, clean, accessible, affordable water has become a hotly debated and much studied subject.

We have a few things to share on the occasion of World Water Day that may be of interest:

  • Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI of the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas has written a reflection on water from the perspective of the drought-stricken region of west Texas, which we gladly share here. The article has been published in the San Angelo Standard Times. (Download PDF)
  • The UN Millennium Development Goal on access to water has been met, three years early! The goal was to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. According to a report issued today by UNICEF and WHO, between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells. The related goal on sanitation has yet to be met, but increased attention to this is encouraging.
  • Corporations are increasingly examining their water use, measuring risk, and looking at the impacts on local communities and the ecosystems on which they depend. The Oblate Faith-Consistent Investment initiative has focused on water as a key issue affecting the poor, and is engaged in substantive dialogs with major US multinational corporations on the subject. Read the Statement of Principles and Recommended Practices for Corporate Water Stewardship developed by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

 


UN Report says fresh water is seriously threatened March 20th, 2012

The fourth UN World World Water Development Report says that the increase in world population and global warming, worsening floods and droughts, threaten freshwater resources if nothing is done to improve management.

With a world population exceeding seven billion people, food needs are expected to increase by 70% by 2050, with an increasing demand for animal products requiring huge amounts of water.

The paper was also alarmed by the sharp rise in transnational purchase of agricultural land, which increased from 20 million hectares in 2009 to over 70 million today. It was noted that in the agreements signed between countries, water is never explicitly mentioned.

Richard Connor, the lead author of the report emphasizes that these pressures are likely to exacerbate economic disparities between countries at the expense of the poorest. “Water is the pillar upon which the social and economic development rest.”

Learn more…

 


MDG Target on Access to Safe Drinking Water Met! March 12th, 2012

“Today we recognize a great achievement for the people of the world. This is one of the first [Millennium Development Goals] MDG targets to be met. The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water are a testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but as a vital tool for improving the lives of millions of the poorest people.”

– United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement responding to a report released by the World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund.

The WHO/UNICEF report concluded that the world has met the MDG target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water well before the 2015 deadline. However, while they praised this accomplishment, several media outlets and observers (including Stephanie Cappa on the InterAction blog), have pointed out that the related MDG target on sanitation is off-track and unlikely to be met by 2015.

Read the report: Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012 update

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