Conversations That Matter

Social Licence to Operate with Radha Curpen

April 12, 2017

Ep 133

Radha Curpen

Social Licence to Operate


This week’s Conversation That Matters features Radha Curpen on the role of Social Licence in the development of projects that affect the environment, our neighbourhoods and our relationships with each other. What is ‘Social Licence’, who grants it, how do you get it, does it affect or influence regulators and does it have legal weight? Curpen says, “the gap between the legal licence and society's expectations is where social licence resides. There is a distrust of the regulatory process. And as a result, people are talking about social licence as something else in addition to the regulatory process of getting a licence.”


Complicating the process of acquiring ‘Social Licence’ is the nature of who will grant it. Curpen says it’s challenging, “this social licence discussion is the result, is the outcome of people not being satisfied, of people's expectations being higher, or of having to voice certain issues.”  As a result the overall regulatory process can become unstable and oddly creates a situation where there is reduction of public confidence in the formal regulatory process.


To obtain ‘Social Licence’, Curpen says, “you need to identify the stakeholders, engage them early, collaborate, get their input and continue to do so after your approval is obtained and continue to do so during the life of the project, that's what I call corporate social responsibility, the outcome of that is what we call the social licence to operate.”


Conversations That Matter is a partner program with the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. Join veteran Broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for these important and engaging Conversations shaping our future.

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