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Your social licence is measured on the level of trust your stakeholders have in your business, which is built from a value alignment. A stakeholder can be anyone who is impacted by or who can impact your business. Their trust is  earned and maintained through your business's level of accountability and authenticity.

You know you are losing your social licence when you are dealing with increased regulations and barriers to operate be they physical protests or market signals where consumers vote with their wallets. Staying relevant and in line with your stakeholders values will future-proof your business beyond regulations and in line with market cycles so you can ensure it is around for generations to come.

Trust is one of our most precious business resources we have that often gets overlooked. Because we can't see it on the balance sheet it is perceived to be intangible. However, it's quite simple. Without our stakeholders we don't have a business. If your stakeholders' trust is circling the drain it's time to put some resources, time and effort into building healthy relationships with them - to understand and be understood.

Trust equation = Value alignment  + Authenticity + Accountability

What we

Welcome to Social Licence Consulting!

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In my research, I  define what a social licence is, how it is lost and how it can be earned back.

The earning of a social licence is really not that complicated. It all boils down to relationships and the trust capital within them. The process gets simpler still if an industry keeps itself engaged and understanding its stakeholders in a meaningful way from the beginning and consistently from then on. Having a finger on the pulse of where stakeholder values and concerns lay is a form of insurance against any future threat to a business or industry, be it legal, physical or commercial.

My recommendations to earn one's social licence to operate were as follows:  

  1. Be accountable 

  2. Know your stakeholders

  3. Be Inclusive

  4. Align your values  

  5. Be transparent

  6. Be brave. 

"Social licence is built on trust."

​Dr Robert Boutillier and Ian Thomson's Social Licence model (right) is a great demonstration of the different levels of social licence a business can earn.

Boutillier defines a social licence as a community's perception of acceptability of a business and its operations.

"A social licence to operate (SLO) is a community’s perceptions of the acceptability of a company and its local operations. The idea that communities have the power to stop projects and can speak for themselves is frequently resisted by corporations and anti-corporate activists alike. Occasionally, governments also resist the idea.”


(Boutilier, 2014)

SLC Boutilier & Thomposon diagram.jpg
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