• Noel Ong

How are Sustainable Investments and ESG relevant to Australian Indigenous People?

Coffee with Samso Episode 91 is with Kado Muir, Ngalia Cultural leader and Chairman of the National Native Title Council.

In mining, there is now a permanent requirement to be responsible in company actions i.e. to be responsible environmentally and socially. Historically, mining projects have always made the effort to be environmentally friendly or at least to minimise their impact on the ground, water and air.

Now, the movement is to incorporate the Social and Governance aspects. Governance has always been left in the background and many projects have turned a blind eye to governance issues in the name of business. Now with the emergence of ESG, all these issues are now required to be addressed.

I have been wanting to speak to Kado to get his perspective on current issues such as Juukan. I wanted to understand its significance and how Standard Operating Procedures can get it so wrong in a system as robust as Rio Tinto's strict rules.

For me, Kado is one of the new generation of elders in the Australian First Nation community who are carrying on the tradition of the people. When I spoke to Kado, I felt that he is trying to bridge the divide that has been lingering for decades. The establishment of Mabo was a step forward and I feel that it is only one step of many that is required.

This is the second time Kado and I have had a Coffee With Samso. The first was Sustainable Harvesting of Sandalwood Trees: Marnta Sandalwood - but I think we never did the main issues real justice in terms of engaging more deeply in them. What we did was to bring out the history and passion of Kado's thoughts and aspiration. The development of the Sandalwood business with the idea of making it sustainable socially and environmentally complements this current episode.


00:00 - Introduction

20:27 - The ESG Issue

30:00 - The Social Issue in ESG

33:03 - Commercial Needs vs. Social Compliance

40:03 - Why ESG is good for the Mineral Industry

42:28 - Discussion is Good

43:35 - Misunderstanding of First Nation Compliance

45:48 - Conclusion


About Kado Muir

Ngalia Cultural leader and Chairman of the National Native Title Council

Mr Kado Muir is a Wati, a Goldfields Aboriginal cultural and community leader and an anthropologist/archaeologist with many years’ experience working in Aboriginal heritage, language preservation and maintenance, traditional ecological/education and native title research. From an early age, Kado grew up living in the bush and his passion is to “look after country, community and culture".

Kado is a community based cultural heritage and environmental activist. He has led campaigns against uranium mining in Western Australia and is part of that national network. He has been pushing for the mining industry to adopt responsible practices in Aboriginal heritage and to stop destroying Aboriginal sites and sacred places. Kado is a cultural leader who has preserved his Ngalia language and helped develop Australian curriculum content incorporating Aboriginal knowledge into education curriculum.

Kado operates a number of businesses including an Aboriginal art business, a sandalwood company, a culture-focussed podcast and an Aboriginal heritage consultancy business. He is an advocate promoting alternative community-based enterprises.


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