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.

Delivering on your aspirations

Responsible Business Management |  14 October 2020

Company aspirations will dictate how you go about your business. With this in mind, what are you saying – the ubiquitous vision, values, mission statement – how are you putting the words into practice in the context of the country you are operating in and the legal requirements you must meet?

If you are promoting yourself as a leader in environmental and social performance you will need to walk the talk. Spinning a story - talking up achievements without supporting evidence - does not work in what is becoming an increasingly skeptical and connected world. Aspiring to being developer of choice is one thing but increasingly communities (and others) believe something when they see it, so it would be a good idea to understand what they think is important for them and then to deliver the results they need to see.

If you’re expecting to borrow money or issue shares to build the project you need to seriously think about adopting IFC Performance Standard No 5  as your land acquisition guide because a large and increasing number of lenders and investors are using this as the de facto requirement. If you don’t think about this up front you can find yourself having to do a lot of rework to fill the gaps which will take time and are likely to delay project financing and a construction start.

If the land you need to access is home to Indigenous people, you’ll need to pay particular attention to the quality of consultation and negotiation and to be able to demonstrate that you have free prior and informed consent (FPIC) for your project (Performance Standard No 7). You will also need to pay extra attention to cultural heritage (Performance Standard No 8).

Last but not least, if you might be a seller at some future date you can expect an increasing number of potential buyers to take an interest in the social legacy they will take on and that the offer price will reflect their perception of risk.

 


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