BACKGROUND BRIEFING

CO3

CO3 is a London-based ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) consultancy which represents multinational corporations including mining company Vedanta Resources.

Survival has called on CO3 to resign its account with Vedanta over the mining company’s controversial plans to mine India’s Niyamgiri hills, the lands of the Dongria Kondh people. CO3 has so far refused to do so.

The Indian government has blocked Vedanta’s mining plans, citing the company’s ‘shocking’ and ‘blatant disregard for the rights of tribal groups.’

The Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund withdrew its investment in Vedanta following a report by their Council of Ethics that an association with Vedanta and its subsidiaries carries, ‘an unacceptable risk of complicity in present and future severe environmental damage and systematic human rights violations.’

CO3 is at risk of such complicity by continuing to provide Vedanta with ‘CSR’ services.

‘Independent’

CO3 has publicly defended Vedanta’s plans to mine Niyamgiri, but describes itself as an ‘independent advisor’ to the company. Many multinational corporations use similar ‘independent consultancies’ to provide a veneer of respectability.

The 8,000 Dongria Kondh, one of India’s most isolated tribes, have vehemently opposed the mine, saying it would end their way of life forever. The Dongria Kondh have lived in the Niyamgiri Hills since time immemorial, and are totally dependent on its forests. They grow crops on the slopes, and gather wild fruit in the dense forests.

‘Parroting’ Vedanta’s denials

Survival’s director Stephen Corry has said, ‘People who care about human rights should boycott British companies which dispossess tribal peoples and companies representing them. That includes British consultancies like CO3, which parrots Vedanta’s denials that the Dongria Kondh people face destruction’.h2. From the web

* CO3’s website
* Vedanta’s website
* PR Week: Survival targets CSR agency
* CO3 comments on Survival’s Facebook page

From Survival’s website

* Survival targets CSR consultancy CO3
* The Dongria Kondh
* Progress Can Kill
* CO3 comments on Survival’s blog


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