There are three main stages in earning and maintaining your Social Licensemeasuring

  1. Understanding your current Social License level
  2. Strengthening credibility and trust with your important stakeholders
  3. Negotiate an agreement and assure compliance

It starts with understanding the current impacts of your project on your stakeholders. Social License uses a mix of proven techniques, including

  • analysing the methods used to determine your impacts and the measurement of societal sentiments with social radars such as Finchline or Meltwater
  • the use of targeted interviews to determine internal and external stakeholder views, based on social science techniques and the work of John Rawls and Peter Sandman
  • stakeholder profiling and mapping, using the AA1000SES international standard
  • the social license hierarchy, developed by Robert Boutilier et al

When your project is in the red zone, the conflict level will be determined using the Escalation Ladder developed by Friedrich Glasl

Glasl escalationladder


The second stage is to rebuild relations, restore credibility and trust and finding common ground. The core of it has been developed by Harvard University through The Mutual Gains theory and is used in mediation processes. In essence you will have to negotiate interests, and it is not a Zero Sum Game ! When credibility has been achieved in your relationships, the pie can be increased and then divided in an acceptable way for all parties. This includes internal stakeholders as well, since your Legal, Technical and Public Relation department may have different views on how to move forward.

Discrete caucuses are used to understand the real interest and values of your stakeholders. The preferred negotiation method depends on different aspects of the project, such as proportion of impacts, reputation of the proponent and level of trust

agreement making methods

The third stage is to secure credibilìty and trust by negotiating an agreement that can be maintained together. The form of the agreement depends on the case and varies from an informal conflict resolution, Joint Fact Finding missions to a formal binding or non-binding tri-partite agreement with the community and the authorities. The latter may be governed by a legitimate multi stakeholder board with representatives of the community, company and authorities to maintain the Social License. For more information, please contact me

deal community 2


deal community 1