Social and Stakeholder Engagement
In a world where communities, civil society and government have growing interest in and influence over our client’s activities, RSK provide a range of services to help our clients engage effectively with their stakeholders, maximise the benefits, and minimise the impacts of their projects.
Well-managed infrastructure and energy projects contribute positively to society and can bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment. Conversely, if poorly managed, such projects can result in a range of socio-economic, health and human rights impacts, and lead to higher costs, schedule delays, reputational damage and operating risk.
We provide social expertise and support for all stages of the project life cycle from definition to appraisal, development, operations, closure and decommissioning. We provide social baseline studies, social impact assessments, stakeholder engagement services, social management plans, ecosystem services assessment, land access and resettlement plans, social monitoring and evaluation services and social investment programmes.
With decades of experience, our experts support project delivery, helping to foster a social license to operate, as well as ensuring regulatory requirements are met cost effectively, and enabling project financing.
We understand that socio-economic and biophysical impacts are inextricably interconnected and we provide a fully integrated and interdisciplinary approach to our services.
Our social experts collaborate with specialists from our biodiversity, marine, landscape and visual assessment, cultural heritage, noise, air quality, hydrogeology, hydrology, soils and geomorphology teams to develop an understanding of how change in one domain triggers impacts across other domains.
Experienced and diverse specialists
Our skilled, multilingual team has a breadth of experience working in numerous countries and contexts on projects spanning a wide range of sectors and scales. We have worked with private, public and non-profit clients across Africa, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Caspian region. Our programs of work are tailored according to the scale of the project and the unique socio-economic institutional context in which they occur.
We regularly work with clients seeking funding from International Financial Institutions. We consider international legislation, host country regulations, lender requirements, corporate standards, and relevant guidelines in an integrated way, helping to ensure the expectations of stakeholder are addressed.
Inclusive stakeholder engagement
We recognise that good communication with interested and potentially affected parties is fundamental to the success of any project. Each stakeholder engagement activity is carefully designed with a clear audience and purpose in mind, specific to the needs of the client and project, and is supported by detailed, culturally informed implementation plans.
We have proven experience engaging with marginal, vulnerable and under-represented minority groups. We use methods that are effective and accessible for all stakeholders, sensitive to local power dynamics, and designed to avoid domination by local elites, genders or age groups. We routinely use a range of engagement techniques, including household surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews, participatory rural appraisal and public meetings.
Social Baseline Studies
We design, implement and manage baseline studies to enable our clients to understand the socio-economic, health and human rights context in which they operate. A wide range of techniques, including desktop reviews, site visits, household surveys, field studies, focus group discussions and key informant interviews enable us to build a comprehensive picture of the local environment.
Well planned and executed engagement with communities and other stakeholders can significantly shorten the time it takes for a project to be implemented, improve project outcomes and help projects become socially sustainable. Our aim is to help our clients identify, understand, and manage the requirements, concerns and aspirations of those who have influence over, or are influenced by the project – be they regulators, project sponsors, lenders to the project, civil society and NGOs, or local communities. We use a range of engagement techniques, including household surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews, participatory rural appraisal and public meetings.
Land Access, Resettlement and Livelihood Restoration
When an individual or community experiences temporary or permanent involuntary loss of land, structures or access to productive assets, the implications are complex and far-reaching. We work closely with our clients to identify, assess, manage and monitor the social effects of land access and resettlement to achieve a positive outcome for affected people, clients and stakeholders.
Projects that require land access, resettlement and livelihood restoration services are often complex in nature and need sensitive management. We help our clients overcome a multitude of challenges, including complex tenure systems, conflicting politics and differences between international good practice and national requirements.
Social Management Plans
Our experts work closely with our clients to develop practical social mitigation plans, including social monitoring and evaluation plans, resettlement action plans, influx management plans, community development plans and livelihood restoration plans, local recruitment plans and indigenous peoples plans.
Our team is experienced in the design and implementation of grievance management systems, providing a formal mechanism to investigate and redress concerns.
We are experienced at delivering ecosystem services impact assessment in alignment with legislative requirements, lender compliance and international best practice. We offer an integrated approach to environmental and social impact assessments, standalone socio-economic assessments and reviews of existing impact assessments for quality assurance and compliance.
Strategic social investment aligns the company approach with the long and short term development objectives of local community, civil society and government. Through working in partnership with other stakeholders, companies can deliver sustainable, measurable development outcomes. Our specialists have both designed and implemented multi-million dollar social investment programmes and understand the complexity of managing such multi-faceted initiatives.
We provide bespoke training and mentoring in implementing social mitigation commitments, grievance procedures, social surveying and monitoring techniques, health and safety in the field, GIS tools and data management and interpretation, with the aim of building our clients’ in-house capabilities to support post-permitting commitments and minimise their ongoing consultancy costs.