Log, Stock and Barrel - Financial Institutions in the Resource Sector
IntroductionFinancial institutions, from the World Bank to private and public banks, private equity firms, and sovereign wealth funds, play a major role in the exploitation and trade of natural resources like oil, gas, minerals, and timber. They provide the financial resources and/or guarantees necessary for the investments. Some national and international financial institutions have set policy guidelines, standards, corporate codes of conduct, and safeguard policies at their end to address the ecological and social impacts of their investments. However, a large number of financial institutions have yet to issue such policy guidelines and standards. Setting up guidelines and standards is not an end in itself and there are several inherent limitations, but they are seen as key mechanisms to address social, ecological, and developmental concerns related to investments in the resource sectors.
Over the years, a number of activists and organisations throughout the world have been working on several aspects related to financial institutions and resource sectors. They have been using a variety of strategies to address these issues depending on their specific social and political context. The overarching objective of this dossier is to collect information on the different financial institutions, their role in the resource sectors and put together different mechanisms, tools and strategies to address policy issues.