CCSI produces qualitative and quantitative research crucial for advancing the body of knowledge on investment for sustainable development. This research provides a foundation for CCSI’s other activities and for advancing its overarching mission.
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The 2009 Africa Mining Vision (AMV) provides guidance for the industrialization of African countries by leveraging their mining sector. However, the global context has changed since its adoption. As a result, it does not include guidance on how governments should embrace the climate change agenda as an opportunity for better and further industrialization, deeper linkages, and sustainable development…. read more
To further and fully understand how to plan for the decarbonization of mining value chains, we need better data on carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, neither consumers, corporates, or financial institutions know the embodied emissions in the products they produce or sell. While methods like life-cycle analysis and environmental product declarations exist, none use… read more
Investment is a critical component of sustainable development. In particular, under the right conditions, foreign direct investment (FDI) can improve economic growth and living standards, create jobs, transfer technology and know-how and result in supply chain upgrading. However, its benefits are not automatic, and, if not carefully governed, investment can result in harm to the… read more
Don’t Throw Caution to the Wind: In the Green Energy Transition, Not All Critical Minerals Will Be Goldmines
The green energy transition will be exceedingly mineral intensive. Manufacturing solar panels, wind turbine and batteries to power cleaner energies is set to significantly increase the demand for co-called “critical” minerals. Such a forecast prompts high expectations in mineral-rich countries and suggests promising opportunities for developing countries. However, the projects to increase the primary extraction… read more
With the support of Oxfam, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment reviewed select provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and corresponding policy statements from the Minerals Policy 2018 to provide recommendations for how to best align the anticipated new mining law with international best practice.
Securing Adequate Legal Defense in Proceedings under International Investment Agreements: A Scoping Study
CCSI prepared a Scoping Study on Securing Adequate Legal Defense in Proceedings under International Investment Agreements (Scoping Study) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Also available are: A summary version of the study (33 pages) A webinar (March 24, 2020), hosted by CCSI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, discussed the… read more
Policymakers and environmental advocates have often overlooked how provisions granted by states in international investment agreements (IIAs) have been used by investors to challenge government measures taken in the public interest to protect the environment and advance environmental justice.
The food sector confronts significant sustainable development challenges. It both contributes to, and suffers from, environmental degradation, especially human-induced climate change and deforestation. Although it can provide farming communities with livelihoods and incomes, it also can fuel land grabs that undermine community rights and wellbeing. The sector feeds the growing global population, but also contributes… read more
Extractive industry investments are oftentimes divisive. Those that support a project, will likely emphasize the benefits resulting from tax revenues and employment. Those that oppose the project, will often highlight the adverse impacts on the environment and impacted communities. To date, this debate can be informed by several tools. On the benefit side, stakeholders can… read more
In its current form, the international investment treaty regime may stymie the business and human rights agenda in various ways. This draft chapter, which will be published in the forthcoming Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business, provides an overview of the interaction between human rights law and the investment treaty regime and explores options for addressing the challenges that arise due to this interaction.
CCSI is researching the politics of FPIC —how the distribution of power across different actors, the (mis)alignments of their interests, and characteristics of political systems and broader structures affect whether and how FPIC processes unfold in order to surface existing strategies that account for political realities and to recommend future strategies that may lead to the improved realization of the right to FPIC.
“Universal Owners” have a clear financial interest in the enduring health of the overall economy. They can exercise their influence as shareholders to spur and support improved conduct through active shareholder and board advocacy at annual meetings.
Mine sites that are remote often rely on expensive off-grid solutions to generate power. Use of renewable energy could be a cost-reducing solution for mine sites, and CCSI is researching how to leverage the power demand from mines to deploy renewables in developing countries.
In collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, CCSI conducted a comparative study of laws that recognize customary land rights in six countries in Africa. The study was carried out to assist the Government of Sierra Leone and the Stakeholder Platform on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure as… read more
Coffee, the world’s favorite beverage, provides livelihoods for at least 60 million people across dozens of countries. Promoting the long-term health, wellbeing, and environmental sustainability of the much beloved coffee sector should be a clear priority. Yet coffee is experiencing a sustainability crisis. A sustained decline in world coffee prices has squeezed coffee producers, and thrown… read more
The allocation of the rights to tax business profits of non-resident entities’ operations depends on whether these operations can constitute a “Permanent Establishment” (PE) according to the definition included in each DTA. CCSI’s research and brief looks at this issue in the context of extractives and provides a sample clause that optimizes the PE definition for resource rich countries.
As part of a 3-year grant from Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), CCSI worked with the Columbia Water Center to develop and benchmark a modeling platform for quantitatively assessing the environmental risks associated with gold and copper mining projects and their resulting financial implications.
CCSI has been exploring the strategies fossil fuel companies have embraced in order to address climate change concerns, and the strategies responsible investors could potentially request from fossil fuel companies in order to move towards a decarbonized economy.
CCSI is working to develop a regulatory and operational framework that would unlock the value of the Associated Petroleum Gas that is currently wasted, in order to improve energy efficiency, expand access to energy, and contribute to climate change mitigation.
CCSI examined the advantages and disadvantages of different mineral regimes (licensing regimes vs. contractual arrangements) in 18 countries around the world. For the 13 countries that used mining contracts, CCSI further examined the contract negotiation and implementation processes of 30 mining contracts as well as the relationship between those countries’ mining contracts and their legal regimes. CCSI also identified potential opportunities for external experts to support resource rich, low income countries in contract negotiations.
Community Development Requirements: Laws, Best Practices, and Community Development Agreements Database
CCSI has a growing portfolio of activities regarding community development requirements and community development agreements (CDAs) that includes: (i) mapping domestic legal requirements for community development in the context of mining projects; (ii) policy and research on best practices around CDAs and benefit sharing for extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects; and (iii) regularly maintained collection of publicly available community agreements relating to extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects.
This study surveyed the trend toward countries integrating competitive bidding provisions for mineral rights allocation into their national legislation and regulations, and sought to analyze the potential issues around these provisions.
In September 2015, the UN member states agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which represent the global agenda for equitable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economic development until 2030. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in low-income countries.
How International Oil Companies Could Assist Greece to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: A Conversation Starter
This policy paper wishes to be a timely contribution towards a fruitful debate among stakeholders; it urges International Oil Companies (IOCs) to examine how the critical Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Greece can be integrated into their core business so that the oil and gas industry can contribute to the country’s sustainable growth.
How International Oil Companies Could Assist the Republic of Cyprus to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: A Conversation Starter
This policy paper is addressed to International Oil Companies (IOCs), public officials and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) involved in the natural gas industry in Cyprus. There is currently no conversation happening in Cyprus on how the oil and gas industry could help Cyprus achieve their Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, this paper hopes to initiate a debate and conversation around this topic.
In partnership with the World Economic Forum, CCSI curated the Transformation Map of the Mining and Metals sector; it maps out the seven drivers that are already and will continue transforming the mining and metals sector.
Renewable energy is instrumental to the success of the SDGs. But, renewable energy projects have at times undermined the achievement of the SDGs and adversely affected human rights. Given the urgency and scale at which renewables must be deployed to meet the world’s climate goals, it is especially critical that we understand their potential impacts—both positive and negative—on each SDG, to ensure that renewable energy driven development does not come at the expense of other development goals.
Investment treaties are often described as instruments aiming to (1) promote investment flows; (2) provide investors remedies for harms; (3) improve governance and the rule of law in host countries; and (4) depoliticize disputes – objectives of varying degrees of importance to multinational enterprises, home states, host states, and other stakeholders. The investor-state dispute settlement… read more
CCSI examines how investment treaties (both their substantive standards and dispute settlement mechanisms) can, do, and should impact development and implementation of environmental policy, including, but not limited to, measures related to climate change. CCSI implements this project through a range of activities. These include: reviewing all publicly available investor-state arbitration decisions to identify implications… read more
While international investment can provide transfers of capital and technology that spread the use of environmentally sound products and processes, and enable countries to “leapfrog” more polluting phases of development, it can also give rise to certain environmental risks. For one, strategies that firms use to structure their operations across borders and the doctrine of… read more
Contrary to SDG 10, which aims to combat inequality both within and among countries, levels of intra-national inequality in particular are on the rise in many countries. It is therefore timely and crucial to examine what factors are causing these gaps, and how they might be reduced. CCSI is examining the role of investment treaties… read more
CCSI is researching how the development of green technology could impact the demand for “critical” minerals.
CCSI, in partnership with the Sciences Po Law School Clinic and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, has developed a collaborative approach to human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of private sector investment projects. Although HRIAs have become increasingly prominent in recent years, one specific challenge is the frequent lack of trust between communities and companies, which often extends to distrust of HRIAs that “the other side” has initiated. A collaborative approach to HRIAs provides an avenue to jointly undertake an HRIA that is considered credible by all sides and that helps to address the power imbalances that often exist between companies and communities around private sector projects.
Around the world, project-affected communities grapple with how to access and pay for the legal and technical support they need in the context of natural resource investments—including when they are asked to negotiate directly with investors. CCSI is conducting research to identify, assess, and help further thinking around innovative financing solutions for legal and technical support to communities as they seek to secure and promote their rights and interests that may be affected by agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource investments.
What are the implications for individuals’ or communities’ ability to obtain redress for harms after investors or lenders have pulled out of a project, or after a project has failed? In light of the continued pressure on investors and lenders to divest from problematic projects, as well as the number of land deals that have failed altogether, CCSI is working to examine the loopholes, gaps, and unenforceable elements in laws and policies regarding redress of harms to communities when investors or funders have left a project and to develop proposed solutions for improving redress options in those circumstances.
CCSI strongly supports the transparency of contracts and tax flows and has published research and papers making the business case for transparency, including two submissions to the SEC in 2011 and 2015.
What types of legal support do host governments use in the context of land investments? When negotiating land investment deals, are host governments out-lawyered and out-resourced at the negotiating table? How can legal assistance help governments to meaningfully incorporate international best practices around responsible land-based investments into individual projects? CCSI is conducting research on how host governments access legal support in the planning, negotiation, and monitoring of land investments, with a view to better understanding where legal support gaps for governments exist, and how these can be addressed by governments themselves, as well as by donors, support providers, and other international partners.
To make investor-state contracts for land, agriculture, and forestry projects more readily available and accessible, CCSI has created a range of guides and other resources to assist users of OpenLandContracts.org and others in better understanding these agreements.
Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry can have far-reaching implications. Despite their significance, these investments are often negotiated and approved behind closed doors, and governed by contracts that are difficult to access and understand. CCSI conducts crucial research on land investment transparency, including by investigating the transparency needs of local and national actors and by scrutinizing land investment contracts, which can play a pivotal role in allocating risks and determining the benefits of investments.
When not designed or implemented carefully, large-scale investment in agriculture can pose risks related to human rights and land rights. These risks are most acutely felt by rights-holders, but they can also have reputational, financial or other implications for governments and investors.
CCSI is exploring how free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and consultation processes can be integrated into investor-state contract negotiations, taking into account the practicalities of contract negotiations, to better safeguard the land rights and human rights of members of project-affected communities.
Monitoring fiscal reforms in extractive industries is an ongoing part of CCSI’s research.
CCSI is researching aspects of designing and implementing fiscal regimes in an attempt to identify legal and fiscal elements that can help avoid unintended consequences or disputes between an investor and the government over the course of the investment.
Land investments generally require shifts in land use. Some shifts have detrimental climate impacts; others aim at climate mitigation. All hold the potential to also affect access to land and the rights of land users. CCSI’s work in this area focuses on the interactions between resource investments, land use, land rights and climate change, including how to apply better practices to land investments aimed at climate change mitigation.
CCSI submitted an application to file a written submission as an “other person” in Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru. CCSI’s submission focused on a range of issues, including the implications of international human rights law for the interpretation and application of investment treaty standards.
Policy makers and other stakeholders are currently asking fundamental questions about whether and to what extent international investment agreements (IIAs) are consistent with and are helping to advance sustainable development objectives at home and abroad. A 2019 paper from CCSI examines the alignment of IIAs with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, arguing that while FDI will play… read more
CCSI focuses on the intersection of international investment law and international human rights law, and the impacts of their application for the most vulnerable of rights-holders. Among other things, this includes a specific focus on investment arbitrations, and their implications for the realization of human rights.
CCSI is working to identify and advance concrete steps that can help address legal support gaps in the context of large-scale land-based investment. Under a series of projects, CCSI is conducting research on solutions for overcoming specific obstacles; developing guidance resources; and providing workshops and other opportunities to strengthen the provision of quality legal support that promotes responsible investment outcomes.
Among the critical issues that arise from the interaction of human rights and investment law is whether and how the relatively greater access to justice provided to aggrieved investors by the international investment regime undermines access to justice for other individuals and communities, including those affected by large-scale land-based investment.
Dealing with land-based investments and the grievances that they raise can be difficult for host governments, who face a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This project examines the different legal frameworks governing what governments can do to address and remedy land-related grievances after investment concessions have been awarded, with a specific focus on government obligations under international investment law and international human rights law.
International investment law, based primarily on international investment treaties, plays an important role in the governance of investment in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. CCSI partnered with IIED and IISD to produce a briefing note that explains how investment law affects these investments, and how policy-makers can navigate the challenges posed by current frameworks.
CCSI is analyzing how international investment agreements and investor-state dispute settlement can impact the rights of human rights defenders. This includes exploring whether the international investment law regime may exacerbate the repression and criminalization of human rights defenders in the context of investment projects.
Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry hold diverse and far-reaching implications. Despite their significance, these investments are often negotiated and approved behind closed doors, and governed by contracts that are difficult to access and understand. This status quo is particularly concerning in countries where land contracts play a pivotal role in allocating risks and determining… read more
CCSI has published a brief which examines the use of built-in review periods in extractive industry contracts as a mechanism for managing investor and host-country relations over the duration of a project. CCSI completed a survey of periodic review mechanisms contained in extractive industry contracts, to analyze how they have been used to date, and to understand the purposes for which they may usefully be applied.
Contract transparency in natural resources is an emerging norm that many governments, companies and international institutions have endorsed, particularly within the extractive industries. However, more must be done to make contract transparency a standardized and meaningful norm that leads to better accountability within the extractive industries, as well as around investments in land, agriculture, and forestry.
An ongoing stream of CCSI’s work is to follow developments with claims made and decisions issued in treaty-based investor-state arbitrations, and produce papers documenting these developments and highlighting their implications for environmental, social and economic policy.
The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and CCSI have conducted a world-wide survey of Natural Resource Funds (NRF). The survey considers NRF management, investments, transparency, and accountability to the public, as well as the fiscal rules that govern them. This project seeks to foster cross-country experience-sharing on fund governance.
With over 3000 international investment treaties in existence and governments continuing to negotiate and ratify additional bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, it is important to have a clear understanding of the implications of these investment treaties on investor protections and state liability, and the resulting balance of public and private interests that they strike. To… read more
CCSI is reviewing international investment agreements and the case law interpreting them, and analyzing what the treaties mean for domestic environmental policy.
This project looks at the extent to which international investment agreements have come to incorporate clauses that provide the parties with exceptions from the application of certain disciplines.
In March 2017, CCSI presented a working paper titled “Articulating a Rights-Based Argument for Land Contract Disclosure” at the World Bank Land & Poverty Conference. The paper explores whether and how existing state obligations under human rights law require disclosure of land contracts and more transparent contracting processes around land investments.
China’s emergence as an important outward investor and implications for international investment law
China has become one of the three most important outward foreign direct investors, complementing its role as one of the most important host countries world wide and the most important one among developing countries. Moreover, the country has concluded the second highest number of of bilateral investment treaties, in addition to free trade agreements with… read more
This project looks at the obstacles to an agreement between China and the US, and the compromises that could possibly be envisioned.
The study of outward FDI and competitive neutrality seeks to analyze what measures home countries have undertaken to support their outward investing enterprises and what the salient features are of these measures.
CCSI is working to deepen and broaden understanding regarding the appropriate legal frameworks that can better ensure that public-private partnerships result in high quality, accountable, and sustainable infrastructure and related services.
Leveraging Investment for Sustainable Development: the Role of Performance Requirements for Technology Transfer
This project furthers research (1) on the types of performance requirements countries may want to use (or avoid using) in order to fully reap the benefits from investments by MNEs; and (2) the role of international investment agreements in promoting or restricting use of such performance requirements.
This research project focuses on identifying concrete actions home states can take to help catalyze and channel FDI to enhance technology transfer for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
The Emerging Market Global Players Project leads and coordinates research among a worldwide network of academics and institutions that produce new studies on the salient features of MNEs from emerging markets and their impact on sustainable development.
In partnership with Africa Investor, CCSI evaluated trends in intra-African investment flows over the last 10 years. A high-level summary of the research was published in the November 2012 edition of Africa Investor magazine.
CCSI, in collaboration with the Carter Center, is developing two economic models for the Sicomines mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to compare the financial flows under the resource for infrastructure deal with a ‘traditional’ contract under the mining code of the DRC.
Infrastructure linked to large-scale natural resource investments is often cited as a primary benefit of such investments, including for both extractive industry and land-based agriculture projects. The most common methods of linking infrastructure development to investments differ, however, based on the underlying sector. CCSI has undertaken a significant amount of research on leveraging extractive industry… read more
Contract Comparison Research: Using the ResourceContracts.org contract comparison tool, CCSI is researching local content and water provisions respectively in oil, gas, and mining contracts from select countries, supplementing and situating the analysis in the context of the projects to which the contracts apply to understand the impact of such provisions on water availability for communities surrounding a project, and the realization of local content objectives.