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Abstract

An examination of contemporary struggles over extractive industry projects

shows that they are not adequately captured by current CSR strategies

because they are not exclusively disputes about the environment, human

rights or health and safety as those subjects are generally understood by

companies. Rather, they are better understood as disputes over community

control of resources and the right of community members to control the

direction of their lives. This Article proposes that extractive industries can

tackle the underlying causes of the growing opposition to their projects in the

developing world by engaging in consent processes with communities and

groups directly affected by projects with a view to obtaining their free prior

and informed consent (FPIC). The authors propose that FPIC must be

enduring, enforceable, and meaningful in order to take companies and

communities out of their current defensive positions. FPIC should instead

allow companies and communities to take up proactive positions - with those

companies that have the consent of the communities in which they operate

obtaining a competitive advantage and those communities that have

enforceable agreements with companies obtaining control over the naturalresource-

based development process on which their future depends.

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