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Navigating The Puzzle Of Social Licences To Operate

Date: 03 March 2015

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33 pages, 16 figures

Executive Summary

A firm’s social licence to operate (SLTO) is a concept that captures the intangible factors deriving from corporate relations with labour, local community and civil society. Firms can use this as a justification for many sustainability initiatives, without necessarily addressing a lack of understanding of the underlying issues. Verdantix research finds that social licences pose an ever-mutating challenge for firms, which can present unexpected risks driven by shifting community demands. This report aims to help communications, sustainability and other executives involved in community relations, to understand the real impact of SLTO risks on the business environment. To inform this research, Verdantix spoke with non-profit organizations, consultants and corporates working to understand and manage the impact of SLTOs.


Social Demands Expose Corporations To Unexpected Risks
Assertive Local Communities Require More Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence
Executives Can Harness The Latent Benefits Of Social Licences To Strengthen Business Mandates 


Adidas, Anglo American, Apple, Center for Sustainable Shale Development, Chevron, Cia de Minas Buenaventura, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Environmental Defense Fund, ERM, Exxaro, Facebook, FEMSA, Forest Peoples Programme, Gap, Holcim, Newmont Mining Corporation, Nike, Philippine National Oil Company, Primark, QQ International, Royal Dutch Shell, Tata Motors, Texaco, The Coca-Cola Company, Twitter, United Nations, US Environmental Protection Agency, Walmart, Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings