I first heard the words “meeting under the mango tree” as a euphemism for having a predictable, easy to access process for enabling community members to raise issues and concerns in a safe and familiar place.  There is no fixed agenda and no one-size-fits-all for these exchanges. With one company we set up drop-in centres in each local village with a designated community officer in attendance everyday. Another made it known that a company person would be available “under the mango tree” for two hours every market day. I was hoping this blog would achieve something similar – the regular, free and open sharing of ideas and experiences. It hasn't worked so I'm taking a break and having a bit of a rethink. In the meantime I'll be reposting a "best of" selection from time to time.

STE(A)M powered education

Responsible Business Management |  15 October 2023

Supporting education can be done in many ways. However, education presents a conundrum – the community wants and needs with a passion, but companies do not have in-house capability, interventions have little immediate development impact (particularly when compared with the other areas of water and food security, health, and income generation) and the requirement to work with government education agencies adds a level of complexity.

Water Security - difficult to do well

Responsible Business Management |  15 October 2023

I can’t think of one site I’ve worked on or visited that doesn’t provide some level of support to improving the availability of clean water and better sanitation. It is easy to cut the cloth to fit the available resources, although it must be said this is an area where it is easy to under-estimate the amount of effort to create long lasting behaviour change which goes far beyond simply providing a borehole or building a toilet and hoping for the best, which unfortunately is an approach taken by many companies, big and small...

In the beginning...

Mining Insights |  11 June 2023

My social licence journey began I went to Ghana as part of a team planning to build a new mine. I had been working on the studies and design work for the company's Ghana projects for five years so I was very familiar with the project but not particularly familiar with Ghana which I had visited only three times, two of those being very short project kick-off trips. I was also a complete community novice, with Ghana being my first overseas assignment so, perhaps not surprisingly, I made plenty of mistakes. What follows is a look back on some of the processes we put in place and the results we saw in three important areas...

What is a fit-for-purpose organisation structure?

Responsible Business Management |  11 June 2023

What is this about?

Put simply, the one, the most important, action you can take is to ensure your communities / community relations / social performance team is capable of supporting your business plan...

Ten need-to-actions for a stronger social licence (updated)

Responsible Business Management |  28 May 2023

Check-out the one-minute video before looking deeper into the need-to-actions to demonstrate the behaviour needed to establish trust and build relationships. Without trust and good relationships the likelihood of success (for the business generally and for community-facing activities in particular) is greatly reduced...

Evolution of a management system

Responsible Business Management |  2 April 2023

Management systems supporting the pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement are found in all other aspects of business - technical, financial, administration and health and safety and environmental performance - so why not community relations and social performance? Why not indeed…