Building Trust with Social Licence to Operate

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Corporate social responsibility and social acceptability are some vital aspects of an organisations’ mission in the modern world. These two are integrated in what we call Social Licence to Operate, or to simply put it: “the ongoing acceptance of a company or industry’s standard business practices and operating procedures by its employees, stakeholders and the general public.”

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Industrial processes may have a serious effect on the environment. For instance, improper disposal of waste in waterways causes severe harm to marine life. Such concerns may produce issues of trust for the company’s stakeholders and particularly the general public. According to a survey released by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, most companies agree that “Trust is critical to maintaining an organisations’ social license to operate and therefore an organisations’ sustainability.” A proactive approach to building trust must be formulated in order to avoid unnecessary issues and concerns.

Social responsibility plays a part in an organisations’ role of building trust by acting for the benefit of the society at large. This involves finding the balance between economic development, societal and environmental welfare. Initiatives involved here include environmental sustainability, such as limiting pollution and reducing greenhouse gases; direct philanthropic giving to charities and organisations; fair labour practices for employees; and a focus on economic responsibility.

Meanwhile, social acceptance involves adopting key social principles, like accountability and transparency. Projects such as mines, pipelines or power stations may be cause for concern, and this is the reason why corporations must build relationships with impacted communities. Communication is often the key here, to ensure social needs, economic needs, and other community issues, are taken into consideration.

Forward-thinking companies like Schneider Electric work on their Social Licence to Operate by pushing for sustainable development. The goal is to meet the present needs of the company and its stakeholders without compromising the welfare of future generations. Setting a new framework and implementing important measures creates both tangible and intangible results.

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