Critical Corporate Friend. Let us tell you what you are doing wrong and doing right, before you throw money at it! Don’t let your OP EX be eaten by useless CSR. Many firm waste resources giving communities assets they don’t want, don’t value or don’t need. These can become an expensive burden, a symbol of what you have not done and build a relationship were the community becomes dependent on your business. Working out a relationship with communities requires a process or engagement – that is what we specialise in.
We can support you to shape and manage investor relations relating to social risk to your project. Social Risk – the risk to your business from communities, is very often not mapped until the proverbial hits the fan! Mapping, monitoring and managing that risk also enables you to communicate with investors what the risks are, why you might be investing in solutions now to stop major issues arising that could collapse profit margins or stop production all together. Engaging with Social Risk is a “lean Business” process – traditional CSR is short term external PR. This is particularly true in the developing countries of the global south.
Your project impacts beyond the boundary fence. The local communities impacted on, for example by site transport or staff influx can cause your business major issues. Politically, economically, logistically and reputationally you need to map that risk. We can help you turn that from a threat to and opportunity. If communities are engaged and incentivised they will monitor your logistics, support you politically and become a major arm of your site security programme.
We are experts in the use of participatory methodologies. These are tried and test approaches to engaging people, informing them or real choices and supporting a consensus in decision making. This is particularly important in terms of ensuring the most politically powerful or most vocal people locally don’t override the voices of the majority. Issues of gender, class, race, ethnicity, age and education are some of the factors which can get ignored when striking an arrangement with communities. Instead of supporting local communities and winning their support, your business may end up compounding conflict and turning the heat up on a pressure cooker situation.