Collaborative engagement on companies importing phosphate from Western Sahara

Companies operating in or sourcing from Western Sahara run the risk of unwittingly aggravating the unstable political and social situation in the country and may become complicit in the oppression of the indigenous Saharawi people. Since 2009, Ilmarinen, together with its service provider GES Investment Services and other PRI signatories have been engaging with phosphates and oil & gas companies sourcing from the region on corporate human rights due diligence and legal risk awareness.

As a result of the ongoing dialogue, some companies have engaged with local stakeholders, consulted third parties on business impacts and committed to or started reviewing their human rights and/or sourcing policies. Investors benefit from the companies’ reduced operational and reputational risks, in particular with regards to human rights and supply chain management. In the long term, the stabilising effect on Western Sahara might also open up new investment opportunities.