Types Research

Research

CCSI produces qualitative and quantitative research crucial for advancing the body of knowledge on investment for sustainable development. This research provides a foundation for CCSI’s other activities and for advancing its overarching mission.

Mining and the Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the UN member states agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which represent the global agenda for equitable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economic development until 2030. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in… read more

Assessing Water-Related Risks in the Mining Sector

As part of a 3-year grant from Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), CCSI is working with the Columbia Water Center to develop and benchmark a modeling platform for quantitatively assessing the environmental risks associated with gold and copper mining projects and their resulting financial implications.

Fossil Fuel Companies and Climate Change

CCSI has been exploring what strategies fossil fuel companies have embraced in order to address climate change concerns and what responsible investors could request from fossil fuel companies in order to move towards a decarbonized economy.

A Regulatory, Operational and Commercial Framework for the Utilization of Associated Gas

CCSI is working to develop a regulatory and operational framework that would unlock the value of the APG that is currently wasted, in order to improve energy efficiency, expand access to energy, and contribute to climate change mitigation, thus promoting sustainable development.

Developing a Collaborative Approach to Human Rights Impact Assessments

CCSI, in partnership with the Sciences Po Law School Clinic and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, has developed a collaborative approach to human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of private sector investment projects. Although HRIAs have become increasingly prominent in recent years, one specific challenge is the frequent lack of trust between communities and companies, which often extends to distrust of HRIAs that “the other side” has initiated. A collaborative approach to HRIAs provides an avenue to jointly undertake an HRIA that is considered credible by all sides and that helps to address the power imbalances that often exist between companies and communities around private sector projects.

Innovative Financing Solutions for Legal Support to Communities

Around the world, project-affected communities grapple with how to access and pay for the legal support they need in the context of natural resource investments—including when they are asked to negotiate directly with investors. CCSI is conducting research to identify, assess, and help further thinking around innovative financing solutions for legal support to communities as they seek to secure and promote their rights and interests that may be affected by agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource investments.

Communities’ Redress for Harm Post-Closure, Abandonment, or Divestment

What are the implications for individuals’ or communities’ ability to obtain redress for harms after investors or lenders have pulled out of a project, or after a project has failed? In light of the continued pressure on investors and lenders to divest from problematic projects, as well as the number of land deals that have failed altogether, CCSI is working to examine the loopholes, gaps, and unenforceable elements in laws and policies regarding redress of harms to communities when investors or funders have left a project and to develop proposed solutions for improving redress options in those circumstances.

Legal Support for Governments

What types of legal support do host governments use in the context of land investments? When negotiating land investment deals, are host governments out-lawyered and out-resourced at the negotiating table? How can legal assistance help governments to meaningfully incorporate international best practices around responsible land-based investments into individual projects? CCSI is conducting research on how host governments access legal support in the planning, negotiation, and monitoring of land investments, with a view to better understanding where legal support gaps for governments exist, and how these can be addressed by governments themselves, as well as by donors, support providers, and other international partners.

Guides to Land Contracts

To make investor-state contracts for land, agriculture, and forestry projects more readily available and accessible, CCSI has created a range of guides and other resources to assist users of OpenLandContracts.org and others in better understanding these agreements.

Topical Contractual Issues

Contract Comparison Research: Using the ResourceContracts.org contract comparison tool, CCSI is researching local content and water provisions respectively in oil, gas, and mining contracts from select countries, supplementing and situating the analysis in the context of the projects to which the contracts apply to understand the impact of such provisions on water availability for communities surrounding… read more

Community Development Requirements: Domestic Laws, Best Practices, and Community Development Agreements Database

CCSI has a growing portfolio of activities regarding community development requirements and community development agreements (CDAs) that includes: (i) mapping domestic legal requirements for community development in the context of mining projects; (ii) policy and research on best practices around CDAs and benefit sharing for extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects; and (iii) regularly maintained collection of publicly available community agreements relating to extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects.

Researching Transparency

Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry hold diverse and far-reaching implications. Despite their significance, these investments are often negotiated and approved behind closed doors, and governed by contracts that are difficult to access and understand. This status quo is particularly concerning in countries where land contracts play a pivotal role in allocating risks and determining the benefits of land-based investment, including for those affected who lack a voice in the negotiation process.

Land Investments and Human Rights

When not designed or implemented carefully, large-scale investment in agriculture can pose risks related to human rights and land rights. These risks are most acutely felt by rights-holders, but they can also have reputational, financial or other implications for governments and investors.

Employment from Mining and Investments in Land for Agriculture

The employment potential of investments in extractive industry projects and land acquisitions for agriculture is often touted both by governments and by companies in support of investor-friendly policies and large-scale investments in natural resources. CCSI is examining how job numbers are calculated, which factors influence job creation, and the quality and sustainability of these jobs, as well as whether job creation generated from these investments is net positive.

Land Investments and Climate Change

Land investments generally require shifts in land use. Some shifts have detrimental climate impacts; others aim at climate mitigation. All hold the potential to also affect access to land and the rights of land users. CCSI’s work in this area focuses on the interactions between resource investments, land use, land rights and climate change, including how to apply better practices to land investments aimed at climate change mitigation.

Influence of the Transport Transformation on Fossil Fuel Demand

In collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University, this research examines how the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) could be accelerated, and how this transformation may impact fuel demand. We focus on two areas where we have identified gaps in the existing literature. The first focus is on the impact of fleet… read more

Amicus Raising Human Rights Arguments in Respect of Investor-State Disputes

With the support of the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia Law School and the Law School Clinic at Sciences Po, CCSI submitted an application to file a written submission as an “other person” in Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru. CCSI’s submission focused on a range of issues, including: The implications of international… read more

Aligning Investment Treaties with Sustainable Development

Policy makers and other stakeholders are currently asking fundamental questions about whether and to what extent international investment agreements (IIAs) are consistent with and are helping to advance sustainable development objectives at home and abroad. A CCSI study commissioned by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation provides a framework to help answer those questions about… read more

Investment Arbitration and Human Rights

CCSI focuses on the intersection of international investment law and international human rights law, and the impacts of their application for the most vulnerable of rights-holders. Among other things, this includes a specific focus on investment arbitrations, and their implications for the realization of human rights.

Conceptualizing Economic Linkages to the Resource Sector

GIZ has been working with CCSI to develop research and training materials around economic linkages to the resource sector.

Access to Justice

Among the critical issues that arise from the interaction of human rights and investment law is whether and how the relatively greater access to justice provided to aggrieved investors by the international investment regime undermines access to justice for other individuals and communities, including those affected by large-scale land-based investment.

Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, and Investor Protections

Dealing with land-based investments and the grievances that they raise can be difficult for host governments, who face a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This project examines the different legal frameworks governing what governments can do to address and remedy land-related grievances after investment concessions have been awarded, with a specific focus on government obligations under international investment law and international human rights law.

Enabling Resource Contract Transparency

Contract transparency in natural resources is an emerging norm that many governments, companies and international institutions have endorsed, particularly within the extractive industries. However, more must be done to make it a standardized and meaningful norm that leads to better accountability within the extractive industries as well as around investments in land, agriculture, and forestry…. read more

Infrastructure Investments Tied to Large-Scale Agriculture Projects

Infrastructure development is often cited as one of the primary benefits of foreign direct investment in large-scale agricultural projects. Yet it is hard to find specific information on the most common types of infrastructure linkages, or how beneficial such linkages are for communities and host governments. CCSI is examining various strategies used to leverage large-scale agricultural investments for infrastructure development.

Land Contracts and Transparency in Land-Based Investment

Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry hold diverse and far-reaching implications. Despite their significance, these investments are often negotiated and approved behind closed doors, and governed by contracts that are difficult to access and understand. This status quo is particularly concerning in countries where land contracts play a pivotal role in allocating risks and determining… read more

Comparing Mineral Regimes: Licensing vs. Contracts

CCSI examined the advantages and disadvantages of different minerals regimes (licensing regimes vs. contractual arrangements) in 18 countries around the world. For the 13 countries that used mining contracts, CCSI further examined the contract negotiation and implementation processes of 30 mining contracts as well as the relationship between those countries’ mining contracts and their legal regimes. CCSI also identified potential opportunities for external experts to support resource rich, low income countries in contract negotiations.

The Mine of the Future

CCSI, IISD and Engineers Without Borders researched the technological innovations that are being developed, assessing when these technologies could be rolled out, and quantifying their impact on local employment and procurement and how local content policies should adapt.

Leveraging Mining-Related Infrastructure Investments for Development

With the support of the World Bank and the Australian Government, CCSI has been exploring regulatory, operational and commercial models to leverage mining-related infrastructure for broader development needs.

Research Series on New Trends in and Development Impacts of International Investment Law

An ongoing stream of CCSI’s work is to follow developments with claims made and decisions issued in treaty-based investor-state arbitrations, and produce papers documenting these developments and highlighting their implications for environmental, social and economic policy.

Managing the Public Trust: How to Make Natural Resource Funds Work for Citizens

The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) have conducted a world-wide survey of NRFs looking at their management, investments, transparency, and accountability to the public, as well as the fiscal rules that govern them. This project seeks to foster cross-country experience-sharing on fund governance.

Relationship between Investment Treaty Protections and Domestic Law Standards

With over 3000 international investment treaties in existence and governments continuing to negotiate and ratify additional bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, it is important to have a clear understanding of the implications of these investment treaties on investor protections and state liability, and the resulting balance of public and private interests that they strike. To… read more

Bridging the Gaps between Investment Law and Environmental Policy

CCSI is reviewing international investment agreements and the case law interpreting them, and analyzing what the treaties mean for domestic environmental policy.

Essential Security Clauses in International Investment Agreements

This project looks at the extent to which international investment agreements have come to incorporate clauses that provide the parties with exceptions from the application of certain disciplines.

Fiscal Regimes for Natural Resources

CCSI is researching several aspects of designing and implementing a fiscal regime in an attempt to find legal and fiscal elements that can help avoid unanticipated consequences or disputes between the investor and the government over the course of the investment.

China’s emergence as an important outward investor and implications for international investment law

China has become one of the three most important outward foreign direct investors, complementing its role as one of the most important host countries world wide and the most important one among developing countries. Moreover, the country has concluded the second highest number of of bilateral investment treaties, in addition to free trade agreements with… read more

Business Case for Transparency

CCSI strongly supports the transparency of contracts and tax flows and has published various research and papers making the business case for transparency, including two submissions to the SEC in 2011 and 2015.

China-US Bilateral Investment Treaty

This project looks at the obstacles to an agreement between China and the US, and the compromises that could possibly be envisioned.

Review Mechanisms in Natural Resource Contracts

CCSI has published a brief which examines the use of built-in review periods in extractive industry contracts as a mechanism for managing investor–host-country relations over the duration of a project. CCSI completed a survey of periodic review mechanisms contained in extractive industry contracts, to analyze how they have been used to date and understand the purposes for which they may usefully be applied.

Outward FDI and Competitive Neutrality

The study of outward FDI and competitive neutrality seeks to analyze what measures home countries have undertaken to support their outward investing enterprises and what the salient features are of these measures.

Downstream Beneficiation of Extractive Resources

This research looks at the economic prerequisites that attract first degree downstream beneficiation industries, such as steel mills, and the extent to which these industries have contributed to further domestic linkages in the past, and assesses whether it makes sense to provide large incentives for these investments.

Review of Legal Frameworks Governing Public-Private Partnerships

CCSI is working to deepen and broaden understanding regarding the appropriate legal frameworks that can better ensure that public-private partnerships result in high quality, accountable, and sustainable infrastructure and related services.

Fostering Knowledge and Technology Spillovers of Extractive Industry Investments

This research project assesses the channels through which knowledge and technology can be transferred and, based on successful country case studies, provides recommendations on how governments can enhance technological spillovers in oil, gas, and mining.

Leveraging Investment for Sustainable Development: the Role of Performance Requirements for Technology Transfer

This project furthers research (1) on the types of performance requirements countries may want to use (or avoid using) in order to fully reap the benefits from investments by MNEs; and (2) the role of international investment agreements in promoting or restricting use of such performance requirements.

Home-country Measures Supporting International Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

This research project focuses on identifying concrete actions home states can take to help catalyze and channel FDI to enhance technology transfer for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Emerging-Market MNEs and Sustainable Development

The Emerging Market Global Players Project leads and coordinates research among a worldwide network of academics and institutions that produce new studies on the salient features of MNEs from emerging markets and their impact on sustainable development.

Intra-African Investment Flows

In partnership with Africa Investor, CCSI evaluated trends in intra-African investment flows over the last 10 years. A high-level summary of the research was published in the November 2012 edition of Africa Investor magazine.

Review of Competitive Bidding Frameworks for Natural Resource Rights

This study surveyed the trend toward countries integrating competitive bidding provisions for mineral rights allocation into their national legislation and regulations, and sought to analyze these issues.

Resource for Infrastructure Deals

CCSI, in collaboration with the Carter Center, is developing two economic models for the Sicomines mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to compare the financial flows under the resource for infrastructure deal with a ‘traditional’ contract under the mining code of the DRC.

Infrastructure Development and Large-Scale Natural Resource Investments

Infrastructure linked to large-scale natural resource investments is often cited as a primary benefit of such investments, including for both extractive industry and land-based agriculture projects. The most common methods of linking infrastructure development to investments differ, however, based on the underlying sector. CCSI has undertaken a significant amount of research on leveraging extractive industry… read more