Levels of corporate community engagement who should provide the social license to operate

Bortun, Dumitru
Crisan, Camelia
Publication date: 
JEL codes: 
M14 - Corporate Culture; Social Responsibility.
Several authors are linking sustainability to CSR when referring to companies and their activities in the relevant communities (Doppelt, 2003; Doppelt, 2008; Hawken, Lovins&Lovins, 1999; McDonough&Braungart, 2002; Porrit,2007; Elkington, 2007). Others have implied this term when referring to the types of responsibilities a company needs to have in order to be able to exercise its activity in the society (Blair [1994] 2004, Clarke [1998] 2004 and Philips 2003). It took a little while until a new term has been used in the literature: social license to operate, Boutilier and Thomson (2011) especially when referring to activities involving exploiting non-renewable resources, a step that needs be taken by mining companies in their attempt to engage with communities. In their particular case, the debate is important because, once exploited, there may be no resource left for the use of future generations, therefore one needs to ask who is the party legitimately provide such license to operate: a local community, a series of stakeholders or an entire nation. For this purpose, the authors are examining the case of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (a mining company seeking to exploit gold in Romania), and its failure so far both in obtaining the official environmental license to operate as well as being granted a large stakeholder or nationwide social license to operate.
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