EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY & DEVELOPMENT
The extractive activity of non-renewable natural resources can be an important source of direct impacts in host societies where extractive projects are located. These impacts can come in the form of employment, salaries, acquisition of goods and services and local procurement, taxes and fiscal payments, investments on local infrastructure, direct social investment and the implementation of corporate policies.
Nevertheless, from the perspective of individuals and communities, these direct impacts should not be considered as final outcomes, and it is necessary to understand that alone or by themselves these impacts are insufficient to achieve real development goals such as improvements on the quality of life of the majority or basic social conditions of the most vulnerable groups in society.
We believe that this differentiation, between direct impacts and final outcomes, is a key aspect to understand the relationship between extractive industries and society.
From a corporate perspective, an erroneous diagnosis about the direct impacts and final outcomes on society leads to misaligned communication and engagement strategies with host communities and can be a permanent source of social conflicts. For extractive companies involved, this is the first step to a high project-business risk that can mean loss of social license to operate. From a societal perspective, this could represent missed opportunities as far as extractive projects driven development and social progress are concerned.
Our objective is, therefore, to work based on a new approach, where it is necessary to place individuals and their communities at the centre of the analysis. We aim to build a shared vision about the future, a vision that prioritises the connection of the direct impacts of extractive industry with development goals.
This task can only be successfully carried out through the coordination of policy makers, local and national government, civil society, international development agencies, community representatives and mining companies. Together it is possible to build a shared vision about the future and to formulate an agenda of complementary policies, strategies and actions that transform natural resource extraction into real development and social progress.