Our license to operate largely depends on the good and trusting relationship with our local stakeholders. Therefore, as part of our Sustainability Commitments 2030 and in line with our commitment of “being a good neighbour”, HeidelbergCement has set itself the goal to have “Community Engagement Plans” that include tools and strategies for engaging regularly with local key stakeholders for all sites by 2023.
The Group supports the country management, who ultimately are responsible for stakeholder management on a local level, in achieving these goals.
Community engagement plan
We consider a CEP best practice to structure and sustain our engagement with local stakeholders. It should be used to understand the actual situation, potential risks and opportunities and instruments to maintain a trusting relationship with the communities we are operating in. The steps described below are part of an internal guidance.
It is essential to understand and describe the status quo of the operations. Key stakeholders, key issues and existing community engagement should be described here. To understand the issues that are key to the local communities it is first necessary to obtain an overview of the most important stakeholders. These stakeholders can be locals who are directly or indirectly affected by our operations or their interest may be impacted. Consequently, the engagement needs to be tailored to take the different types of impacts into account.
There are several approaches to developing a representative list of stakeholders. Communities directly adjacent to our sites should be considered a priority. Such local communities can be affected in various ways: potential effects of air and water emissions, on and off-site transportation or the socio-economic effects of job creation throughout the supply chain. It is important to keep in mind that the situation is dynamic. Stakeholders and their interests can change over time, both in terms of relevance to the project and the need to actively engage them at various stages. Not all stakeholders in a group or sub-group will necessarily share the same concerns or have unified opinions or priorities. This requires prioritizing the stakeholders and, depending on who they are and what interests they might have, determining the most appropriate ways to engage with them. Regularly updating the list of key stakeholders will allow the operations to manage relationships according to their needs, degree of influence, level of interest etc.
Method of engagement
Depending on the objective of engagement, the respective stakeholder group and the issue at hand, different options of engagement are available as outlined in the table below (1).
In choosing the method it is necessary to keep the capacities of the stakeholder group in mind and to make engagement with HeidelbergCement as easy as possible. At the same time, engagement cannot be forced upon the stakeholder groups, therefore risks such as participation fatigue must to be considered.
Monitoring & Reporting
Measuring and evaluating the impacts of community engagement will help us to determine the extent to which the engagement is helping to shape the company’s relationship with the communities and the results should be clearly communicated. To facilitate the dissemination of best practices we have set up suitable structures to exchange learnings between operations.
(1) New South Wales Department of Planning – Social impact assessment guideline (2017)