In the real world
Key points for companies
What companies do will depend on communities’ existing capacities. First, assess these capacities, and gaps, to understand what prevents more active community engagement in multi-stakeholder processes. Then consider the following range of actions, seeking effective and representative participation especially of women given their role in ensuring that development efforts endure:
External conditions that improve likelihood of success
- A multi-stakeholder body represents the key actors in the landscape/jurisdiction
- Community organizations exist, and represent the interests of marginalized groups
- Communities see pre-identified and clearly communicated incentives to engage in the process
- Facilitators trained on public participation best practices are available to ensure a transparent and robust system for informed consent of vulnerable communities
- Communities and the company (or an intermediary NGO or CSO) enjoy an established and trusted relationship
- Parties have a strong understanding of socio-economic profiles of community groups and their involvement in land use issues
The business case for this intervention
- Active and effective community participation in landscape/jurisdictional planning and implementation often helps a company to achieve its stated sustainability/sourcing goals and targets.
- Catalyzing community participation in a multi-stakeholder process increases the likelihood that the solutions it advances will receive community buy-in and support, lowering risks of future conflicts.
- Direct support for community representation and participation can improve a company’s reputation and enhance its social license to operate.
- Direct engagement of communities in the multi-stakeholder process may accelerate solutions for land ownership, access to credit, and loans in countries where land tenure is not fully developed.
1 PACT has published a number of reports on public participation in EIAs, including one for the Mekong region as part of the Mekong Partnership for the Environment: https://www.pactworld.org/library/guidelines-public-participation-eia-mekong-region.