Impacts of company operations on the security of communities
Impact on the broader community’s security: ensuring that persons in vulnerable situations have adequate protection
Analyse the context and assess risks and impacts regularly
Develop a risk and impact mitigation strategy in consultation with local communities and other relevant stakeholders.
- This could be part of wider human rights due diligence. Based on the information collected, determine a strategy to prevent, mitigate and address any risks and impacts, with input from community members on the most appropriate and effective approaches.
- Prioritise the most serious risks and impacts. Note that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights classify severity based on the scale, scope and irremediability of impacts. Where risks or potential impacts are high or extreme, do not start the project or activity until the risks have been reduced or mitigated to an appropriate level. CDA explains, ‘A company’s inability to operate in ways that do not, at a minimum, “avoid harm” should prompt serious consideration of withdrawal from the context’.29 (For more information, see 1.2.)
- Conduct a mapping of different security needs in the host communities, adopting a gendered perspective and taking into account the needs of groups that are particularly at high risk.
- Ensure the mitigation and management strategy is proportionate to the identified risks and impacts, as well as tailored to the company’s involvement in particular risks or impacts. The company generally has a greater responsibility to address issues that it causes or contributes to the issues it is linked to through its business relationships (see 2.8.d.).
- Exercise due diligence to identify and deal with negative legacies. Acknowledge poor practices in the past, apologise publicly for them on behalf of the industry and seek, as far as possible, to remedy past damage (e.g. by rebuilding trust in security providers through clear accountability processes).
- Be aware that there are no quick fixes for pre-existing and/or complex conflicts, and a company neither can, nor should, try to address them on its own.
- Coordinate with competent authorities to strengthen their ability to respond to heightened risks, ensuring that security measures adopted are appropriate to the risks.
- Develop joint approaches with other companies in the region to address increases in crime, violence or the presence of armed groups. This could be undertaken via multi-stakeholder working groups on business, security and human rights (see in-country working groups).
- Support non-governmental actors in conducting programmes that prevent and address sexual exploitation and violence against women and children by security actors.
- Work with key stakeholders through existing multi-stakeholder platforms or develop a multi- stakeholder security forum if none exists (see In-Country Working Groups as a Tool for Cooperation and Remediation: A Case Study in the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Carefully monitor the company’s business relations, transactions and financial flows.
- As emphasised by the Human Rights Translated Business Reference Guide, ‘Do not enter into or condone protection arrangements with any illegitimate armed actors, particularly in conflict areas or regions with poor human rights records’.
- Carefully analyse whether the company’s operations, supply chain, social investments, local community engagement, etc. might benefit, facilitate or contribute financially (e.g. through extortion) to the activities of armed groups.
- Regularly discuss the company’s expectations and contractual standards with suppliers and contractors. Include clauses in contracts prohibiting human rights violations and illicit payments (see Information Management: determining what to share in relation to security arrangements within Information -sharing, consultation and consent – Working with Communities)
- Include audit clauses in contracts and, if appropriate, specify in contracts that illicit payments to illegal armed groups may be grounds to terminate the contract.
- The UN Global Compact and Principles for Responsible Investment recommend that companies ‘develop a rigorous supply chain management system to assess and monitor if and how […] suppliers obtain resources and raw materials in conflict-affected and high-risk areas’.
Establish, maintain and update effective grievance mechanisms (see 4.2.e.).
In-migration as a result of new employment and business opportunities created by the presence of a company: avoiding tensions with and within local communities
Conduct human rights due diligence and update it regularly in consultation with local communities
Develop a risk and impact mitigation strategy that is adapted to the local context. This should be part of the wider human rights due diligence procedures in place to prevent, mitigate and address any negative human rights impacts
(see Senior management buy-in: securing recognition and resources required for engaging constructively with communities within Internal alignment and coordination on stakeholder engagement – Working with Communities).
Develop a local content strategy.
- Define ‘local’. Agree with local communities on the definition of who should be considered local for the purpose of employment and stakeholder engagement. However, be aware of biases in defining which communities are considered ‘local’. Avoid excluding groups or communities and exacerbating or creating social tensions. Seek to identify any communities that may have been overlooked (e.g. camps of refugees or internally displaced persons).
- Maximise employment opportunities for local people.
Establish a minimum quota of local staff for the company, as well as for its contractors and security providers.
Be clear about the number and type of jobs available in the company.
Be transparent about hiring criteria and publicly commit to hiring local community members to the greatest extent possible. Consider why local community members might not be qualified for certain jobs and consider implementing training, educational initiatives and/or other measures to address these gaps.
Ensure that hiring practices are inclusive for women, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and any other vulnerable or marginalised groups.
- Support training to increase local communities’ long-term job opportunities.
At early stages of operations, perform a survey of trades, industries and opportunities within the region to determine where gaps exist in vocational skills. Also identify potential partner organisations to collaborate with on skills training.
Begin vocational skills training at an early stage of investment.
Where possible, aim to provide official diplomas or certifications attesting to participants’ skills and training.
- Develop or support programmes to help local people identify and take advantage of business opportunities. This could include establishing business development centres, setting up microcredit programmes and/or serving as guarantors with local banks to help local entrepreneurs obtain access to credit.
- Consider establishing programmes where company representatives teach specific skills (e.g. business administration, accounting, business development planning, human resources management) to emerging local businesses.
- Keep in mind that company operations may not be permanent and adapt vocational training accordingly.
Institute an in-migration management plan at an early stage of investment.
- Involve representatives of all stakeholder groups (e.g. local communities, civil society organisations and representatives of national, regional and local authorities) in the development of the in-migration management plan.
- Develop programmes and support discussions that help communities anticipate and prepare mentally for the changes they will experience from the influx of migrants, especially where existing ethnic, religious, social or gender dynamics may be upset by an influx of male workers.
- For crowd control, avoid practices that may attract excessive numbers of people to the area of operations (e.g. avoid hiring people at the company gate).
- Mitigate the impact of non-local jobseekers on the host community, by, for example, ensuring local infrastructure is strengthened as part of the in-migration management plan.
- Support non-governmental actors in programmes that aim to prevent and address sexual exploitation and violence against women and children.
- On the basis of risk assessments and human rights due diligence findings, look for appropriate ways to strengthen and support community security mechanisms, in collaboration with the police and/or other community-based entities.
Company safety and security measures: avoiding the perception that the company sees and treats communities as a security threat
- Keep conspicuous and heavy-handed displays of protection to a minimum (e.g. avoid overt militarisation, displaying weapons, cars with blackened windows or convoys that drive fast through populated areas without stopping).
- Explore all possible ways to lessen the impact of security measures (e.g. build a safe pathway across the company site if the usual pathway has been closed due to operations).
- Before contracting with private security providers, determine whether there are cultural or ethnic sensitivities associated with their deployment in the area of operations.
- Where possible, employ women as security guards or interlocutors to facilitate women’s access to the company.
- Employ people from local communities that speak local languages.
- Consider inviting community members to observe select training sessions for public and/or private security.
- Encourage security personnel to attend select community meetings so they can gain a better understanding of community issues (provided this does not deter community members from attending). Ensure there are ample opportunities for engagement without company security in attendance.
Ensure alignment between the company’s stakeholder engagement strategy and security policies and practices.
- Educate personnel across all company departments on the stakeholder engagement strategy (see Navigating different stakeholders: avoiding inadvertently favouring or excluding sub-groups within communities within Stakeholder engagement strategy – Working with Communities).
- Ensure communities are not treated as a threat, but as partners.
Emphasise to all company staff understand that the company is hosted by the communities and that they should be treated respectfully at all times.
- Develop coordination procedures between the company’s community relations department and the security department, with the community relations department as the focal point for any interactions with local communities (see Local communities’ consent: ensuring it is based on realistic expectations and a realistic understanding of impacts within Information-sharing consultation and consent – Working with Communities).
Discuss security measures regularly with local communities and work together to address any security-related impacts
(see community representatives: ensuring they engage in support of communities as a whole rather than narrow interests within Stakeholder engagement strategy – Working with Communities and Senior management buy-in: securing recognition and resources required for engaging constructively with communities within Internal alignment and coordination on stakeholder engagement – Working with Communities).
- Share information in a timely manner, in languages that communities are able to understand and in formats that makes sense to the local population.
- Assure people that to the best of the company’s ability, the information they provide about security issues will be treated confidentially to protect their privacy, unless they want it to be shared publicly.
Public security assigned to company operations: managing the perception that it benefits the company and not the community
Ensure public security forces understand their mandate
In areas of the community where there is insufficient public security presence, work with public security management to strengthen law enforcement.
- Agree with public security on security measures that are appropriate to respond to local risks. Take into account that security measures which are conspicuous and heavy-handed could damage the trust of the community, thereby heightening security risks rather than reducing them.
- Encourage public security forces to appoint their own community liaison.
Discuss security arrangements with communities
(see information Management: determining what to share in relation to security arrangements within Information -sharing, consultation and consent – Working with Communities) and Company safety and security measures: avoiding the perception that the company sees and treats communities as a security threat within Impacts of Company operations on the security of communities – Working with Communities).
- Explain the purpose of security arrangements to communities and engage communities in discussions about how to improve security practices.
- Encourage the participation of a representative of public security forces in select community consultations. Ensure there are ample opportunities for engagement without public security in attendance.
- Encourage social interaction between public security, company staff and local communities, such as regular fairs, sports tournaments, development of joint exercises, etc.
- Work with key stakeholders through existing multi-stakeholder platforms or develop a multi- stakeholder security forum if none exists (see in-country working groups)
Monitor stakeholder perceptions regarding the project.
- Conduct regular surveys or assessments on community perceptions of the project, security arrangements and company relationship with public security, possibly independently administered. Use the same set of questions over time to maintain continuity and measure any changes (see Unidentified root causes, unaddressed impacts of the operation or unfulfilled commitments: addressing persistent tensions within Stakeholder engagement strategy – Working with Communities).
- Use the grievance mechanism to address concerns before they escalate (see Community mistrust: ensuring an effective grievance mechanism within Stakeholder engagement strategy – Working with Communities).
- Consult with credible and knowledgeable third parties to gain insights into communities’ concerns.
- Where perceptions have become more negative, open a dialogue with stakeholders as to why and how this can be addressed.
Threats to the livelihood of local communities: preventing tensions and conflict resulting from company operations
Before commencing new projects, carry out human rights due diligence that assesses company impacts on local livelihoods
Update this assessment regularly.
- Ensure the assessment reflects seasonal activities that may vary throughout the year.
Conduct a stakeholder mapping exercise in the area of operations
To address impacts on livelihoods, consider developing the following measures in collaboration with affected stakeholders.
- Engage with the host government to ensure community interests and needs are taken into account when developing a resettlement action plan for affected stakeholders. This should include finding alternative hunting, fishing and/or farming areas nearby to minimise the impact on livelihoods.
- Establish an alternative livelihoods programme, including scholarships and/or training, that facilitates access to other employment opportunities. Initiate the process of developing the programme at early stages of investment, in consultation with development agencies, government agencies, communities, marginalised groups, NGOs and civil society organisations.
- Employ affected stakeholders that qualify for jobs at the company (e.g. artisanal miners).
- Procure goods and services locally and help local businesses qualify for tenders.
- Cooperate with efforts to formalise the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector.
Support efforts by the host government to professionalise and formalise the artisanal mining sector, such as through the establishment of cooperatives, associations or other membership structures.
Engage with ASM associations and explore the possibility of reserving an area of the company’s concession for artisanal mining, whereby portions of the concession are subleased to small-scale miners who operate as sub-contractors to the company.
Support certification efforts that raise artisanal miners’ compliance with human rights and labour standards and enable their access to the global market.
- Engage with other companies operating in the area to develop an impact mitigation plan that addresses the loss of livelihoods, especially in cases of cumulative impacts.
Ensure that public and private security are trained on how to deal with the unauthorised presence of community members in the company’s concession. Training should address the exposure to bribes
- In mining contexts, ensure security is trained on how to address artisanal and small-scale miners seeking access to the concession in exchange for mining products or other benefits.