West Moberly First Nations launched its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Program on Monday through its West Moberly Corporate Alliance.

The ESG program will change how industry works with Indigenous communities by connecting Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Referenced standards with community and Indigenous values, said West Moberly Corporate Alliance in a statement.

“WMCA’s ESG program shows that Indigenous values can also be industry values,” said West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson. “Our partner companies have signed on to ESG tracking and data-based reporting because it demonstrates leadership and builds community trust through accountability.”

The band says ESG standards are mainly associated with major industrial operators who use ESG factors to evaluate and improve their operations and decision-making. They also gain access to an ESG equity market valued at over $3 trillion in Canada.

WMCA says its partner companies may gain an edge over competitors by contributing to ESG programs and mandates.

“Indigenous participation is a core part of our business, yet this hasn’t been substantively factored into the ESG standards of industry majors,” said Industrial Metalwork President Steve Gillingham. “We commend WMCA for working to bridge this gap, and we are honoured to participate in West Moberly’s ESG Program.”

The program was funded by Natural Resources Canada’s Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) program.

“Indigenous Peoples are leaders in building a cleaner, more resilient energy future,” said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources.

“The Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships program facilitates opportunities Indigenous communities can capitalize on to ensure sustainable development of resources and to create economic benefits for communities. Going forward, the Government of Canada will continue to work with Indigenous communities to increase participation and enable the development of innovative energy projects that will have benefits for generations to come.”

WMCA has 13 partner companies in the program this year, collecting a total of 66 data points which will be reported in the organization’s year-end ESG Accountability Report.

 This hard data will be presented alongside qualitative data showing the day-to-day actions, goals and ESG accomplishments of individual Partner companies, said West Moberly.

West Moberly Corporate Alliance is 100 per cent owned by the West Moberly First Nations. It generates revenue and community benefits through Environment, Social and Governance partnership agreements that govern the natural resource and commercial projects across West Moberly First Nations Territory.