Earning and maintaining a Social License to Operate takes work - it is not something that comes for free. That being said, I don't think it is rocket science. What I have found works is to use a simple cause-and-effect model which recognises that the actions of a company directly influence the quality of its SLO and the quality of the SLO leads directly to easily identifiable benefits to the company. This model is the basis of the SLO toolkit.
The toolkit is free for anyone to use - no strings attached. I hope that by using the toolkit you can work things out for yourself but if you still have questions or you are stuck on a particular issue or concern please complete the form at the bottom of the page and we can see if there is a way I can to help you.
Earning and maintaining a social license to operate (SLO) may not be easy but it is not complicated. It comes down to applying a simple cause-and-effect model built on the idea that company actions directly influence the quality of a SLO and the quality of the SLO leads directly to easily identifiable benefits to the company.
Competition for land is always an issue for companies and communities. Compensation for damage and the displacement and resettlement of communities is a challenging experience for all concerned often leading to conflict over the right to land and its use.
In-migration is an inevitable consequence of project development and although a case can be made that growth benefits trade, employment, infrastructure, and services, the overwhelming experience from the resources sector is that host communities suffer.
Changes to the natural environment made by companies when they develop projects inevitably bring new risks into local communities. How these translate into impacts depends on the effectiveness of plans and activities aimed at reducing, remediating and offsetting.
Company facilities and activities will, more often than not, directly, indirectly and cumulatively change community exposures to environment-based health risks such as communicable diseases, equipment accidents, and exposure to hazardous materials or conditions.
The way a company engages with a community to protect their culture and their heritage greatly affects the quality of the relationship, the effectiveness of broader community consultation and the sustainability and legacy of operations.
Creating business opportunities for people with an entrepreneurial spirit is one way to benefit local communities. Buying locally can shorten and diversify supply chains and build local support.
Issues surrounding jobs often become a major source of tension, particularly when local people see outsiders being hired for jobs they think they can do or feel they are entitled to, turning what should be a positive into a negative.
For most projects the benefits that come from employment and business opportunities fall to a small proportion of the population. For the majority community development is the one broadly distributed benefit they will see.
All company activities and employee and contractor actions have either positive or negative impacts on a local community. This means that actively promoting and encouraging the right attitude and behaviour deserves the same level of attention as every other part of the business.
Engagement sets the tone for relationships with local communities. Meeting and talking with local people is the only way to hear, to learn and to share ideas and concerns and to find solutions. It is the most effective and efficient way to stay on top of issues and to respond quickly.
Taking complaints seriously and establishing a good complaints handling procedure is one of the most effective ways of dealing with local concerns. This is particularly important where company activities and operations are close to communities.