ABPA Pushes for Indigenous Perspectives in Canadian Sustainability Standards

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APBA Business

The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (ABPA) has presented a comprehensive response to the proposed Canadian Sustainability Disclosure Standards (CSDS), emphasizing the integration of First Nations’ perspectives into Canada’s sustainability reporting framework.

The ABPA’s letter to Lisa French, outlining 18 recommendations, highlights the necessity for the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB) to align with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) principles. The association stressed the critical role of Indigenous knowledge in the standards-setting process, particularly in risk management and preventing ‘red washing.’

Coinciding with National Indigenous Peoples Month

In conjunction with National Indigenous Peoples Month, the ABPA released a groundbreaking primer, “Pathways to Prosperity, Indigenous Engagement and Impacts: Transitioning the Economy Beyond Green for a Sustainable Future.” This document offers an Indigenous lens on the evolving fields of Indigenous relations and reconciliation in Canada, providing guidance for the CSSB.

With Indigenous peoples holding inherent rights to 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity, the ABPA asserts that First Nations’ leadership is crucial for driving sustainable change. They call for improved coverage of Indigenous rights and reconciliation by Canadian securities regulators, suggesting that the CSSB can become a global leader by integrating First Nations principles and laws.

A Call for Collaboration

The ABPA’s Board of Directors, led by President Jason Rasevych, is dedicated to collaborating with other Indigenous organizations and the CSSB to ensure that new sustainability standards reflect Indigenous principles and rights. They emphasize the importance of partnerships with entities like the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and territorial bodies such as Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) for sustainable development.

“This endeavor cannot be accomplished by the accounting profession and regulators alone. It necessitates deeper efforts, interoperability, comparability, and alignment with First Nations’ principles and laws. As we move beyond green, we must yield value beyond compliance into consent of Indigenous peoples. The ABPA’s recommendations for the Canadian Sustainability Standards are a testament to the power of Indigenous knowledge in shaping a sustainable future for all Canadians,” said Jason Rasevych, President, ABPA.

“Indigenous engagement is not just a checkbox—it’s a pathway to prosperity and a more inclusive economy. By integrating First Nations’ perspectives into sustainability standards, we honor the interconnectedness of our ecosystems and the stewardship provided by Indigenous peoples with the capital markets and economic reconciliation,”  adds Justin Jimmy, co-author of ABPA’s “Pathways to Prosperity” primer.

Access the ABPA Documents

For those interested in the detailed recommendations and insights from the ABPA, the following documents are available:

  1. ABPA response letter to the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board
  2. ABPA primer – Pathways to Prosperity, Indigenous Engagement and Impacts: Transitioning the Economy Beyond Green for a Sustainable Future

About the ABPA

The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (ABPA) is a non-profit, member-based organization headquartered in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It serves the First Nation business community within Treaty #3, Treaty #5, Treaty #9, and Robinson Huron and Superior Treaty Areas. The ABPA advocates on business and public issues relevant to First Nation businesses, provides a forum for policy development and programming, and supports the socio-economic well-being of First Nations peoples in Northern Ontario. They also assist non-First Nation businesses by offering information, guidance, and access to a broad network through events and sponsorship.

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