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Research Report

DISPUTE OR DIALOGUE?: Community perspectives on company-led grievance mechanisms

Emma Wilson
Emma Blackmore
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Pages: 166
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 8-9)
    Caroline Rees

    In 2005, when Professor John Ruggie was beginning his six-year mandate as UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, there was little on which human rights NGOs and companies accused of human rights abuses could agree. One rare point of agreement was that the only legitimate place for addressing these kinds of dispute was a court of law. Where that was not possible, the two sides typically defaulted into a rhetorical battle through campaigns and public relations.

    Over the following years, as we explored the space between angry rhetoric on the one hand and lawsuits on the other, it...

  2. (pp. 10-13)

    Extractive industry companies and their investors increasingly see a strong business case for building good relations with local communities, and addressing conflict and potential conflict in a timely and effective manner. This involves engaging meaningfully with communities affected by project operations, so as to build trust and to respond appropriately to any local concerns, major or minor. If left unaddressed even minor complaints may escalate into disputes or even violent conflict. This is potentially devastating for local communities. From the company perspective, it can also result in damage to its reputation, a loss of operational time and money, and it...

  3. (pp. 14-47)
    David Vermijs

    This chapter describes and analyses the existing literature on company—community grievance mechanisms⁸ in the oil, gas, mining and forestry sectors. As such, it provides the context for the remaining chapters in this book.⁹ It explores the definition of company—community grievance mechanisms, trends and drivers for their implementation, and how their effectiveness can be assessed. It also considers possible future trends in the use and design of such grievance mechanisms. A major influence on public awareness, adoption and development of grievance mechanisms has been the work of Professor John Ruggie in his role as UN Special Representative on Business...

  4. (pp. 48-65)
    Emma Wilson, Christoph Schwarte and Ingilab Ahmadov

    The Baku—Tbilisi—Ceyhan (BTC ) pipeline spans Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Due to its size and impact, the BTC pipeline project has been the object of considerable international scrutiny by civil society organisations and project lenders. It is also often used as a case study for progressive corporate responsibility practices.69 The BTC project demonstrates the value of a holistic approach to stakeholder relations, with the grievance mechanism as an integral part. In particular, the project has benefited from having invested in civil society capacity building through an NGO monitoring programme during the construction phase. This has enabled informed dialogue...

  5. (pp. 66-83)
    Jérôme Lewis and Sophie Borreill

    The Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB ) manages approximately 1.4 million hectares of tropical forest concessions in the northern Republic of Congo. Since 2004 the company has been striving towards securing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, achieving its first certificate in 2006 and full certification in 2010. FSC has been a key driver for CIB to establish a grievance mechanism for resolving disputes over tenure claims and use rights and for providing fair compensation for loss or damage affecting the legal or customary rights, property, livelihoods or resources of local communities. In practice, the CIB grievance mechanism is a flexible...

  6. (pp. 84-109)
    Natalya Novikova and Emma Wilson

    The Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project, located off the eastern shores of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East, is viewed as a pioneer of community engagement in Russia and has received several awards for its social programmes.94 The Sakhalin-2 project started up in the 1990s and produced its first oil in 1999. It is operated by a multinational consortium — Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, Ltd. — which was led by Shell until 2007 when the Russian state company Gazprom took over as operator.95 The Sakhalin-2 project has come under considerable international scrutiny due to the extent of the project...

  7. (pp. 110-135)
    Emma Blackmore and Starr Levesque

    This chapter considers the effectiveness of three different grievance mechanisms implemented by mining companies. It focuses on two key areas of implementation: building systems within the company, and building relations with the community in particular country contexts. The first case analyses Anglo American’s approach to stakeholder engagement, its grievance mechanism and the computerised system that forms part of this approach. It demonstrates the value of providing company-wide guidance for effective stakeholder engagement — in the form of a process and corresponding tools — although challenges remain in regard to implementation at the site level. The Anglo American case also demonstrates...

  8. (pp. 136-144)

    The overview and the set of case studies provided in this book offer a wealth of material to enhance understanding of how company-community grievance mechanisms have evolved, how they are designed and how they operate in practice. The book helps to fill an identified gap in current literature, as the authors have sought to explore the subject primarily from the perspective of communities and civil society organisations.

    The use of company—community grievance mechanisms has grown significantly in recent years in response to the increasingly evident business case for addressing and avoiding conflict and getting community relations right. Much of...