A range of industrial projects can contribute to local development, decarbonisation and inclusive growth. Their acceptability is often no less complicated than others. Instructions for use taken from a large number of projects that Ksapa has carried out in this area.
What is local acceptance of industrial projects?
Ksapa has worked on a number of projects that raise questions about local acceptability, even though they can directly make a positive contribution to the local environment: roads and other transport infrastructure, wind farms, dams, factories, industrial complexes developing the local circular economy, agricultural activities , tourist resorts… Many of these projects can deliver clear gains in terms of a low-carbon pathway, job creation and/or economic development on site.
From our experience, local acceptance for industrial projects refers to the level of approval, support and trust that the local community and stakeholders have for the implementation of a particular industrial project. It involves assessing whether the project is considered desirable, useful and compatible with the values, aspirations and well-being of the affected community. Local acceptance is crucial for the successful implementation of industrial projects as it helps minimize conflict, resistance and opposition from the community. When a project enjoys local acceptance, it is more likely to receive collaboration, participation and support from local stakeholders, which can lead to smoother project implementation, fewer delays and better results.
Factors influencing local acceptance of industrial projects may include:
- Communication and transparency: Effective communication and transparency in providing information about the project objectives, potential impacts, mitigation measures and decision-making processes are essential. Open dialogue and sharing relevant information with the community can help build trust and address concerns.
- Participation and consultation: Involving the local community and stakeholders in meaningful participation and consultation processes allows them to express their views, concerns and ideas. Involving stakeholders at an early stage and taking their input into account in decision-making can contribute to greater social acceptance.
- Environmental and health considerations: Demonstrating that the project includes measures to minimize environmental pollution, reduce health risks and ensure compliance with applicable regulations and standards is essential to gaining social acceptance. Addressing concerns about environmental and public health impacts can help alleviate opposition.
- Economic benefits and job creation: Highlighting the potential economic benefits of the project, such as job creation, local business opportunities and economic growth, can contribute to social acceptance. Demonstrating the project’s positive contribution to the local economy can help generate community support.
- Community involvement and local empowerment: Involving the local community in the decision-making process and empowering them to have a meaningful voice in the project can promote a sense of ownership and increase social acceptance. This may involve partnering with local organizations, addressing community needs and sharing project benefits.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility through ethical business practices, community investments and contributions to local development can contribute to social acceptance. Engaging in dialogue with community members and addressing their concerns can help build trust and improve acceptance.
It is important to note that social acceptance is context specific and can vary based on the nature of the project, local culture and specific community characteristics. Building social acceptance requires a proactive and inclusive approach that takes into account the needs and perspectives of the affected community throughout the project life cycle.
What principles can shape local acceptance of industrial projects?
When we work in India, the US, Indonesia, France or Brazil, it is self-evident that each project is rooted in a specific regulatory, political and cultural framework that must be understood – which we do thanks to the quality and diversity of expertise provided by deploying our teams around the world, and applying methodologies that have been extensively tested and deployed in various areas. Ultimately, however, we apply a set of cross-cutting principles that can be applied in most contexts, especially in high-conflict environments. Here are some important principles:
- Stakeholder engagement: Communicate with the local community and stakeholders from the early stages of the project and throughout its life cycle. Encourage their active participation, listen to their concerns and suggestions and incorporate their feedback into decision-making processes.
- Transparency and information sharing: Promote open and transparent communication about the project objectives, impacts, risks and benefits. Provide accessible and accurate information to the community and stakeholders, ensuring they have a clear understanding of the project and its implications.
- Mutual benefits: Show how the project will deliver tangible benefits to the local community and stakeholders. This can include job creation, local procurement, infrastructure development, skills upgrading and other economic and social benefits. Highlight the positive contributions the project can make to the local economy and quality of life.
- Environmental and Social Responsibility: Incorporate environmental sustainability and social responsibility into project design, operation and mitigation measures. Implement practices that minimize environmental impact, protect natural resources and respect human rights. Demonstrate a commitment to the well-being and safety of the community.
- Adaptive management: Adopt an adaptive management approach that enables flexibility and responsiveness to changing conditions and stakeholder needs. Continuously monitor and assess the impact of the project, adjust strategies as necessary and engage in ongoing dialogue with stakeholders.
- Conflict resolution and grievance mechanisms: Create effective mechanisms for resolving conflict and addressing grievances. Provide accessible channels for community members and stakeholders to raise concerns, seek resolution and provide feedback. Ensure that complaints are taken seriously and handled quickly and fairly.
- Cultural sensitivity and heritage conservation: Respect and preserve the cultural heritage, values and traditions of the local community. Take into account their cultural and historical ties to the land and ensure that the project does not cause irreparable damage to culturally significant sites or practices.
- Long-term investment in the community: demonstrating a long-term commitment to the local community, even beyond the life of the project. These can include initiatives such as skills development, community infrastructure, education programs and other sustainable investments that contribute to the well-being of the community even after the project is completed.
Applying these principles can help create a basis for social acceptance by promoting trust, meaningful engagement and a sense of shared benefits between the industrial project and the local community. That said, the competing arguments of the climate pathway, biodiversity protection, sharing and competition over the use of local resources are now highly controversial, making dialogue increasingly difficult – even in the case of projects whose contribution to this issues is easily contestable – because, for example, in the case of the development of renewable activities. The various principles outlined above must therefore be based on a basic matrix that is now unavoidable: the ability of the project to fit into the local 1.5°C trajectory.
These principles are interdependent and must be applied in an integrated manner to maximize local acceptability. It should be emphasized that territorial acceptability is a complex process, and each project requires a specific approach depending on its characteristics and context. Ksapa works with a network of more than 150 practitioners around the world who collaborate with companies, investors and local stakeholders to design frameworks, programs and financing instruments on the ground that ensure local acceptability of projects with a demonstrable local contribution. Ksapa applies widely proven methodologies to ensure its work meets the highest standards and generates long-term territorial impact that delivers shared value for territories.