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Achieving social license is a means to avoid that a business operation has adverse impacts on local communities. Neglecting or failing to unmask potential conflicts can be a costly affair for the company, and in the worst case, a conflict can escalate and cause the entire project to collapse. Luckily, all this is avoidable if stakeholder engagement is properly planned and carried out! 

If your company needs a loan to carry out its operation, banks often require that you undertake an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, of which stakeholder engagement with affected communities is an integral part. If any of the affected communities are indigenous people, they have the right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent (ILO 169). The United National Guiding Principles to Business and Human Rights  expect companies to engage with potentially affected groups. 


A Social License (to Operate) is understood as existing when

  • Business has addressed potential adverse impacts of their planned or ongoing operations,

  • Acceptance is gained and maintained from as many people as possible who live and work in areas which are impacted and influenced by the planned or existing operations, and

  • The views of affected stakeholders - and in particular significantly impacted rights-holders - are taken into account in the planning and decision-making of the operation(s).



Building and maintaining social license is an ongoing process throughout the entire project. Large and potentially controversial projects should proactively engage in the pre-feasibility phase. 

RBA Stakeholder Engagement Services:


Understanding the local context:

RBA undertakes field research to capture local dynamics such as political context and existing social order as basis for tailoring the stakeholder engagement  to culture and context.

Stakeholder identification:

RBA assists in identifying communities, men, women, elderly, disabled, children, ethnic or indigenous groups, labour communities and other people who are affected directly or indirectly by the business operations. 


Establishment of support systems:

RBA assists with training of staff to prepare for meaningful, respectful and appropriate engagement with different stakeholders.


Stakeholder engagement activities:

RBA assists in facilitating different engagement activities suited for different stakeholder groups. RBA ensures correct timing, form, content and language, gender-, age- and indigenous-sensitive processes, making sure no-one is left behind.


Remediation and Grievance mechanisms:

RBA assists in identifying appropriate actions to prevent, mitigate and compensate for negative impacts of the business operations. RBA also facilitates the establishment of grievance mechanisms, 


RBA assists with the establishment of monitoring systems for continuous monitoring of potential new negative impacts. 

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment:

RBA conducts ESIAs using participatory approaches, involving stakeholders in the design and assessment (see separate service).

Contact us for more information

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