- 20 years working with communities undergoing complex social change on four continents, and nine years as a social assessor of extractive and agroforestry projects. Has helped dozens of extractive companies manage company/community dynamics and build strong relationships with their communities.
- Combines line management experience on billion-dollar mega projects with multinational director-level experience; guides investors and managers through international social performance standards.
- Projects in both Congos, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Guinea, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Turkey, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Madagascar, Peru, Chile, Panama, Guatemala, Bolivia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Canada, the United States, Sweden and New Caledonia.
- Experience resolving community-project conflict prompted his involvement in groundbreaking UN Global Compact work on conflict and revenue transparency.
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Social Performance Management
- CSR – corporate social responsibility – is dead.
Companies are shifting away from traditional corporate social responsibility programs – donating clean water, schools and the like to local communities – toward applying the same kind of rigor to how they interact with communities and stakeholders as they would to their finance or production functions.
Social performance isn't about "feel good" programs but concrete ways companies can manage and mitigate the impact they have on others. This often means changing even the language organizations use – for example, starting to think of what many people still describe as "community development" instead as "strategic social investment" (investments that match social programs with a company's business objectives).
There is a country in Africa where the government wants a company with a project there to build schools – a standard CSR-type project. But the company knows the schools will never get funding to open. So how does that help the community? And how does that mitigate the company's risks that come from operating there? Social performance management always starts with a fundamental assessment of those risks.
- Banks have integrated social performance standards into their loan requirements.
This is a really significant shift. In the early 2000s, human rights organizations that were frustrated by the pace of change in manufacturing and other industries decided to target the funders that were backing the companies' projects. They targeted a few of them and held protests outside their offices. The banks were astonished. Under pressure, a group of eight large banks created the Equator Principles, which spell out social and environmental performance requirements as one condition for project financing. There are now 80 participating institutions around the world.
The International Finance Corp. also has social and environmental performance standards for the projects it funds, as do many other international financial and development institutions. These banks requires companies to have social performance management systems in place before they will invest. Almost every national development bank has done the same thing. This has created a structure that allows companies to approach social performance in a tangible and predictable way. They know what the benchmarks are.
- Cellphones have become a powerful tool for communicating with local communities.
Cellphones are pervasive, even in the developing world. They have become a powerful tool allowing social investment programs to send money in areas without formal bank access. Some companies have systems that allow local people to use cellphones to report grievances, whether by calling or texting. This gives communities access to the company in ways that were not possible before. And it allows companies to more effectively communicate with local people. Cellphones have become a supplement to local radio, in terms of their power to distribute information and allow interaction.
- The talent pool for social performance management is growing.
- The pool has been growing in the last five to 10 hears, as companies realize they need specialized expertise for this. It's a very specific discipline. Increasingly, we’re seeing MBA and resource engineering programs develop coursework around this. The University of British Columbia has a disciplinary graduate program and a PhD program, for example. The programs are generally framed around CSR, but they give people more than just an academic understanding of social performance management. The practice itself is evolving, so the pool of people with skills and experience will continue to grow.
- As extractive industry budgets for social performance shrink, risk grows.
- Many companies might think, especially in challenging economic times when they are cutting budgets for exploration and development, that managing social performance is just a "nice to have" element. It's not. In fact, when budgets shrink, the potential social risks to projects often rise. Employees are trying to do more with less, and managing social issues can sometimes fall off the table. The key to maintaining effective social performance management is to mainstream it, particularly so that front-line staff have incorporated it into their daily activities.