This website helps to improve investments in land. It connects investors in land with the social and environmental services they need to invest responsibly and efficiently (e.g. consultation, impact assessment, land mapping processes and benefit sharing processes).

The Social License Platform (SLP) helps companies and investors (Businesses) to articulate their requirements and find Experts (Service Providers) who are knowledgeable and affordable. The platform also offers training and support for potential experts (e.g. NGOs, farmer associations, academic experts and domestic consultancies).

This resource places emphasis on connecting businesses to local service providers who are trusted by communities and have proven their expertise on the operating front. Localising investment services empowers the people affected by land investments and increases the value of local engagement for businesses.

If you are new to the Social License Platform, you need to register and develop a profile before you can access the resources available to Registered Users.

Please proceed with registration as a “Business” (normally companies, investors or international consultants) or “Service Providers” (normally a CSO, consultancy or academic).

How it works

The SLP is dedicated to both businesses and service providers. This means that our Users will be in search of either Experts or Projects and will follow these simple steps to become connected.

If you are looking for experts

If you are looking for projects

Services

The SLP helps Businesses to find services in the following areas:

1. Legal and Institutional Due Diligence and Risk Analysis/Policy Analysis: Helping businesses to understand the legal, regulatory, and administrative operating environments, social contexts and other governance and compliance situations so they can operate in conformance with governance and social frameworks and avoid sanctions, disputes, delays, fines, penalties, and other barriers to smooth and responsible investment processes. This and the following services also call for the identification of risks to acceptable and functional social engagement, particularly with those vulnerable to exclusion such as women, youth, migrants and ethnic minorities.

2. Stakeholder Mapping and Stakeholder/Community Consultation: Identifying all affected parties and supporting a transparent exchange of information between the business and these parties, paying particular attention to reaching out and hearing from social groups vulnerable to exclusion. Businesses can use these processes to establish and maintain effective and robust dialogue with local people and groups, which is essential to establishing and maintaining a social license to operate.

3. Community Capacity Building: Building the capacity of individuals – both women and men – and communities to hear and react to information; provide feedback on preferences, consent, impacts, objections, and expectations; generally engage in two-way dialog; and enter into negotiations and resulting agreements may be required at the outset of any investment in land or other natural resources. Only with a certain level of capacity can individuals and communities be expected to grant and sustain a social license to operate.

4. Social and Environmental Impact Assessment and Mitigation: Identifying, avoiding, reducing and compensating for the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of an investment process is a vital element of earning and maintaining social license to operate. Identifying and assessing impacts – to women, men and communities – is a critical first step. Developing alternatives approaches that permit impact avoidance and mitigation is also central to impact management. Any impact assessment and management process must recognize that women usually perceive and are affected by impacts differently than men and communities.

5. Gender Impact Evaluation/Gender Analysis: Impacts to women (and other marginalized groups, such as youth) can only be identified in most cases when focused upon with targeted emphasis and dedicated resources and expertise. Thorough assessment, identification, evaluation, analysis, and management of impacts ensures that women’s land and natural resources uses are seen and equitably acknowledged during an investment process. Specialized expertise is almost always required to perform these tasks.

6. Outgrower Support and Engagement: Change of land use that calls for land users and rightsholders to change the way they use and benefit from their land creates impacts that affects women, men, and communities. These changes must be facilitated through engagement, consultation, and supporting measures that explain the scope and impact of the changes and provide the means for successful and rewarding livelihoods transitions and restoration. The support must be tailored to the new land use and sustained during its life.

7. Land Valuation, Surveying, Mapping, and Entitlement: Identifying uses, resolving conflicting claims, establishing and demarcating boundaries, and formalizing rights to land and other natural resources may be required prior to the transfer of land rights or to change of land use. These activities, done in a participatory, inclusive, and transparent way, can help businesses earn local trust and can create needed certainty and an enabling environment for successful, responsible investments.

8. Monitoring and Evaluation: Collecting, analyzing and reporting data on performance and impact reduces risk while providing clear targets for improvement. Additionally, good monitoring and reporting is required to ensure and demonstrate compliance with the terms and conditions of agreements between businesses and individuals/communities, with business policy and performance commitments, and with commodity and production process certification standards. The groups and methods used to conduct and communicate these processes, along with the content and accessibility of the outputs, are integral to the local perceptions and acceptance that can create and sustain social license to operate.

9. Negotiations and Agreements: Agreements with individuals (both women and men) and communities must be negotiated in a way that provides for a level playing field, the full and transparent exchange of information, an explanation of the benefits and costs that can accrue when land use is changed or land rights are transferred to others, and informed consent prior to the agreement coming into force. Sometimes agreements that affect land rights are made between businesses and government, which then requires separate agreements between the business (and sometimes the government) and the land users or rightsholders. Negotiating and creating these agreements requires specialized knowledge, communications skills, and drafting capabilities.

10. Establishing Grievance Mechanisms: Designing and implementing a functioning, effective, equitable, transparent, and accessible project-specific grievance mechanism for handling and resolving disputes is central to responsible investment and maintaining social license to operate.

11. Other: The SLP will facilitate services that are related to social engagement but which do not fall neatly in the above categories. Businesses can simply say what they need and the Admin team will respond rapidly with an assessment of how they can help. 

 

The SLP will expand this list of services in response to demand and feedback. Please contact us if you have any questions.