The term ‘social licence’ has become an increasingly popular expression to describe the business case for company engagement with stakeholders and issues.
The term was coined in the mining industry about 15 years ago but today is so mainstream we see it routinely used in the news media and politics. For example, the coal seam gas industry and the live cattle export industry have both had their social licences under the spotlight in recent months.
At ACCSR we have been routinely measuring the social licence to operate (SLO) in all our stakeholder research projects for the last two years. The SLO measures we use evolved from our work looking at social capital in stakeholder networks. We’ve done this work together with our senior international associate, Dr Robert Boutilier.