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 am hoping this blog will achieve something similar – the regular, free and open sharing of ideas and experiences. Time will tell how well it works out.

Responsible Business Management Archives

Orienting yourself (2021 update)

Responsible Business Management |  1 July 2021

(the new bits are links to human rights and indigenous peoples resources)

We make assumptions all the time. Sometimes they are reasonable and sometimes they are wrong and lead to serious consequences. Investing an hour to do a little on-line research to learn about the the country where your project is located will be time well spent. While there are any number of sites to choose, I find some to be more useful than others...


Trending in 2021

Responsible Business Management |  25 February 2021

I thought I'd make a start compiling a list of predictions of the direction of ESG in the year ahead. I'll try and get some balance into the list by finding some government, international development and civil society / NGO viewpoints to those of business. The list isn't ranked - it is not about who is better at prediction or which I think are more important, rather, the place on the list will simply reflect the history of discovery. The fact that the first three are from business probably is an indicator of my industry background / bias...

Evolution of a management system

Responsible Business Management |  11 February 2021

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…

The value of a quick look

Responsible Business Management |  28 January 2021

It used to be that satellite imagery or aerial photography was expensive and difficult to access. Now it is easy to see what is happening on the ground around projects. At its simplest you can start by logging into Google Earth, zooming in on a known set of coordinates or a local town name and having a play. If you have a team on the ground, asking them to take some drone imagery is cheap and easy to obtain and provides another level of detail...

Tapping into local knowledge

Responsible Business Management |  9 December 2020

This short piece highlights a few simple actions you can take that will reduce your community-related project risk.

My suggestion is that whether you are taking on an existing project or you’ve acquired it through a purchase or takeover, the simple act of talking to the in-country site team can save you a lot of grief. If they are on-the-ball they will be a good source of information to help you get up to speed…

Making the most of your first site visit

Responsible Business Management |  25 November 2020

If you're working on an overseas project and have never visited the site you'll be well served to make some pre-departure arrangements ahead of your first visit so that you can tick off the actions on your "what do I need to get out of my first visit checklist".  The more advice, views and ideas you can gather early on the better informed you’ll be and the less likely it is that you'll make costly mistakes. Having "been there done that", believe me when I tell you that it is not a good place to be...