Social License to Operate in Chile: step-by-step guide to obtain it

The term “Social License to Operate” was coined in the late 1990s, particularly in relation to the Mining Sector. It encompasses the authentic approval received from the communities where mega-projects are undertaken.

In Chile, corporations involved in projects with notable socio-environmental impacts confront a significant hurdle of acquiring and sustaining the Social License to Operate (SLO), thereby ensuring their feasibility. This license isn’t a concrete permit but rather an intangible approval granted by the community within which the company operates. It is contingent upon the societal acceptance of the company’s undertakings and initiatives and is vital for its enduring prosperity.

The process of obtaining this license is neither straightforward nor singular. It is an ongoing endeavor wherein project proponents must engage closely with diverse stakeholders to attain levels of empowerment and involvement that go beyond conventional project management. Once acquired, it becomes crucial to maintain the license throughout the project’s lifespan, requiring active management.

The Relevance of the Social License to Operate (SLO): Why Does It Matter?

The Social License to Operate holds immense significance for multiple reasons. Firstly, it enables companies to operate with enhanced security and operational stability, mitigating the risks and expenses associated with social conflicts resulting from inadequate management in this sphere. When a community actively partakes in the benefits that projects can bring, it becomes a collaborative partner in the company’s endeavors, reducing the likelihood of conflicts or blockades.

Another important factor of having a healthy SLO is the significant improvement of an organization’s reputation. Good management demonstrates that the company is responsible and committed to sustainable development, appealing even to responsible consumers who demand that companies properly manage the environment and the communities in which they are located.

The SLO opens up new business opportunities. Companies with this license can access new markets and customers who value sustainability and social responsibility. In turn, it contributes to the sustainable development of communities. Companies that obtain the SLO usually invest in social and environmental projects that benefit the communities in which they operate.

Brief description of the step-by-step to obtain the Social License to Operate

Conduct a context analysis:

  • Understand the social, economic, political and environmental environment in which the company operates.
  • Identify the key stakeholders with whom you need to interact to obtain the SLO, such as the community, local authorities, non-governmental organizations and other interest groups.
  • Assess the expectations and concerns of these key stakeholders.
  1. Establish an SLO policy:
  • Define the company’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainable development.
  • Establish clear principles for SLO management.
  • Assign responsibilities within the company for the implementation of the SLO policy.
  1. Build relationships with the community:
  • Establish effective communication channels with the community, such as public meetings, newsletters and social networks.
  • Promote dialogue and community participation in decision-making.
  • Demonstrate transparency and accountability in all activities.
  1. Implement social responsibility programs:
  • Develop and implement programs that benefit the community, such as educational, health, employment, and economic development projects.
  • Involve the community in the definition and execution of these programs.
  • Monitor and evaluate the impact of these programs in the community.

Possible problems to be observed

Limited understanding among the community about a company’s operations can potentially generate mistrust, particularly when negative incidents come to light. Additionally, the inability to foster meaningful dialogue with the community can ignite conflicts in the future.

Considering the business perspective, it is important to factor in the capability to execute social responsibility initiatives aimed at mitigating adverse effects. Furthermore, closely monitoring any alterations in legislation or regulations that have an impact on, or contribute to, the management of the Social License to Operate is crucial.

How can Socionaut assist companies in Chile in obtaining the SLO?

Socionaut is a company that specializes in managing SLO for projects in intricate contexts. Its consultants have extensive experience in diverse sectors such as mining, oil, infrastructure, and energy megaprojects, providing valuable contributions throughout various project stages. Their team of experts is capable of assisting you with:

  • Conduct a context analysis
  • Establish an SLO policy
  • Build sustainable community relationships
  • Implement social responsibility programs

In addition to:

  • Identify key stakeholders with whom you need to interact to obtain the SLO.
  • Develop effective communication plans to inform the community about your activities
  • Implementing social responsibility programs that benefit the community
  • Monitor and evaluate the impact of your activities on the community.

Socionaut brings forth its expertise and knowledge to support you in crafting and executing projects promoting social consciousness. These projects are aligned with the goal of achieving Sustainable Livelihood Outcomes (SLO) and nurturing enduring relationships with stakeholders, particularly the communities within your sphere of influence. Visit their website to explore further details on how they can assist you in attaining your business objectives sustainably.