In an industry where corporate jargon can be thrown around quite willingly, the term ‘social licence’ could be mistaken for being just another buzzword.
But, let’s get real here, social licence is not simply marketing speak. Quite conversely, it’s an important marker of business success and something all organisations need to know about.
Social licence can be described, quite simply, as obtaining ‘social permission’. It refers to community and stakeholder acceptance of an organisation and their operations. It isn’t a formal agreement or official document, but achieving it is vital to long-term business survival.
Social licence is about building trust, positioning yourself as legitimate and, ultimately, bolstering your bottom line.
Here’s four ways businesses can work to earn social licence:
Always strive to communicate openly about your projects and activities. Be clear and upfront, and your stakeholders are more likely to understand your intentions and how they might be impacted. Open and honest communication is fundamental in building trust. And from trust comes social licence.
Undertake community engagement in a respectful manner. Taking the time to genuinely listen to your stakeholders will increase the chance of securing their buy-in. It’s also important be conscious and respectful of individual community conditions and needs. Always ensure your engagement activities are both accessible and inclusive.
Key to building trust is showing your stakeholders that you genuinely care about their opinions and concerns. Listen to what the community is saying and address their concerns. Your stakeholders will be more accepting if you position yourself as a company that takes feedback on board and follows through on its word.
Show yourself as progressive. Ensure your projects and activities are carried out in a manner that is environmentally and socially responsible. You’re also more likely to earn social licence if you work with stakeholders to build capacity and ensure communities are not unreasonably impacted by your projects. One way to engage the community in this way is to consider a local employment and/or procurement program.
If you would like to learn more about how your organization can achieve social license, contact our Communication Director, Sarah Broad via email at email@example.com.