Our Services

Any extractive project is certain to have a dramatic and irreversible impact on the physical landscape, the inhabitants of the immediate and surrounding areas and, sometimes, even on the corporations that initiate them. Yet, for projects that are handled responsibly from start to finish, there can be benefits that are as positive and far-reaching as the transformation itself.

CONTINUUM has a deep understanding of the (sometimes conflicting) business, social and environmental contexts and the skills to contribute meaningfully to outcomes that enrich/benefit as many stakeholders as possible.

Scope of Services

Every project starts with an idea.  Assessing its commercial viability, and translating that into a successful and sustainable business proposition, demands rigorous oversight for the lifecycle of the project.  We specialise in helping our clients, and affected communities, to navigate their way through the risks and challenges that occur from a social and environmental context between concept and completion – and beyond.

We have the expertise and experience to provide specialist social and environmental support in these key areas:

 

Project Planning and Viability

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Specialist Social & Environmental Risk Advice

Cutting across each of our specific services, we provide advice to clients on the spectrum of social and environmental risks that can face prospective development projects.

By managing risk up front, and then throughout the life of a project, we contribute to its success by identifying ways to:

  • save money,
  • reduce potential schedule delays, and
  • promote better relationships with key stakeholders

Lender Facilitation and Compliance

Project proponents who receive finance from a bank that subscribes to the Equator Principles and/or the International Financing Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standards need to meet rigorous international standards – and that’s where we come in.

Our team provides specialized lender facilitation and compliance services to ensure our clients’ projects meet both national and international standards.

We offer advice on the steps that need to be taken; interface with financial institutions on their behalf; and monitor project compliance to ensure sustainability.

Our expertise in this area also includes Environmental and Social Audits and Due Diligence exercises to ascertain where other risks and opportunities might lie, and provide clear recommendations on the way forward.

Resettlement Planning

Of all the social aspects of a project, resettlement can be the most challenging.  Particularly if it involves conflict over land.  Our philosophy is to help clients develop and execute resettlement in a manner that gives physically and economically displaced people the opportunity to improve, or at the very least to restore, their livelihood and standard of living.

We can facilitate the entire resettlement process:

  • Compile Resettlement Action Plans (RAP)
  • Conduct Social Census and Asset Surveys
  • Perform assessments of potential resettlement areas, and conduct the resettlement site selection process
  • Plan and design resettlement areas
  • Develop livelihood restoration plans, and
  • Monitor communities post-resettlement

Communication is key and we have the skills to develop communication materials that ensure communities are informed of their rights and the changes happening to them throughout the resettlement process

Community Investment Planning

At its best, community investment builds strong relationships between a company and its stakeholders and makes a sustained contribution to improved quality of life.

Globally, we are seeing more companies than ever before allocating greater proportions of their bottom line to investing in community development initiatives that both benefit their local communities and enhance their own reputation.  It’s something we strongly support and are proud to help facilitate through our development of Community Investment Plans (CIPs).

Social context is key and we actively seek opportunities to partner with NGOs that already have a presence in the communities or the greater project area.  Depending on what is relevant, we start with capacity building, livelihood development, skills transfer or access to services, then assist our clients to implement and monitor the associated community investment/development initiatives and projects.

Biodiversity Strategy Plans

As a consequence of man-made development, biodiversity is reducing at alarming rates. On any given project, biodiversity impacts are likely to be some of the most significant so, now, lending and government institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) stipulate that impact assessments should also include a look at ecosystem services (The benefits society receives from ecosystems on a local, regional and national scale).Working closely with our clients we help them:

  • Develop Biodiversity Strategies that focus on:
    • the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
    • the maintenance of ecosystem goods and services
  • Develop, plan and implement:
    • Biodiversity Management Plans
    • Biodiversity Offset Plans
  • Undertake Ecosystem Services Assessments (ESA) in line with IFC Performance Standard 6 (Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources) to provide an understanding of:
    • Project dependence on ecosystem services
    • Multi-scale impacts and dependence, and
    • Indirect and cumulative project impacts.

Contractor Management Plans and Labour Plans

Contractors frequently make up a significant part of a project workforce and it is important to manage them effectively so compliance, scheduling and productivity aren’t compromised.We help our clients develop strategies for managing contract workers involved in the environmental, labour and community aspects of their projects. These include the development and implementation of:

  • Framework documents which can be used to evaluate the abilities of their contractors in the tender, pre-FEED (front-end engineering and design), FEED and post-FEED phases.
  • Management plans which are used to specify and track contractor performance for the duration of their engagement.
  • Labour plans that encompass human resources development, employment equity, local economic development and retrenchment management.

We’re especially skilled at developing appropriate strategies to avoid, minimise or mitigate risk around labour relations and community impacts.  Our expertise ensures that standards promoting morale, health and productivity are met in the workplace and on construction sites.

Project Assessment

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Social Impact Assessments (SIA)

Usually required as part of the EIA process, a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is the first step to understanding a project’s social context. Its goal is to promote a social and bio-physical environment that is equitable and sustainable throughout, and beyond, the project lifecycle.Our dedicated team of social scientists conduct SIAs in diverse geographical and cultural settings to help our clients get to grips with the social profile and risks/impacts of a project.An SIA provides key project assessment data, including:

  • Baseline information on the socio-economic context
  • A view on local community values and perceptions of the project
  • Potential social risks and relevant mitigation measures
  • Local opportunities to mitigate defined risks
  • Evaluation of alternative sites based on social profiling

It is our belief that specialist studies associated with an EIA should not be undertaken in isolation and, in the case of SIAs, we see a strong linkage to the Public Consultation/Stakeholder Engagement processes.

Economic Impact Assessments (EIA)

In line with the holistic approach to EIAs recommended by the International Finance Corporation and International Association for Impact Assessments, our specialists consider a broader range of economic issues in the assessment of social risk than is often taken into account.While standard economic modeling is still applied, our approach analyses the impact of a proposed project on growth, fairness and stability within the context of the economic goals and concerns of the affected community.

Every EIA has its own unique set of risks and opportunities. With our network of expert practitioners and specialists – who plan and undertake EIAs for development projects in the oil and gas, mining and urban development sectors – we help our clients:

  • Plan their projects with due environmental and social consideration
  • Obtain the relevant environmental permits to ensure regulatory compliance
  • Engage in a thorough and transparent public consultation process as part of the EIA
  • Undertake all necessary environmental and social studies to accurately assess potential project impacts and associated mitigation measures.

To ensure a successful EIA process, our philosophy is to plan early and engage in ongoing, transparent communication with the various stakeholders, particularly regulators and Interested and Affected Parties (I&APS).

Community Health Impact Assessments

Community Health forms an important part of environmental and social management planning. Our service is centred on helping clients to:

  • Identify environment-based health risks (such as communicable diseases, equipment accidents, and exposure to hazardous materials or conditions) to provide a robust baseline of prevailing health conditions before a project gets underway.
  • Undertake a thorough review of health systems, infrastructure and institutional capacity in the greater project area to understand the existing systems within which project-related health impacts ought/will need to be managed.

With the existing vulnerabilities outlined by means of the baseline community health data, our team is able to develop effective, evidence-based management measures to avoid, reduce or mitigate potential health impacts on project-affected communities.

Project-Induced In-Migration Studies (PIIM)

PIIM is the term used to describe the influx of people to a project area in response to associated opportunities or benefits.

They come in search of employment, or better access to community facilities, but a host of other consequences can follow them: social tensions in the existing communities, caused by lack of housing, food shortages, increased pressure on natural resources, increased land values, and associated increased costs and risk for the project developer.Irrespective of its positives and negatives, PIIM is inevitable, and it is our job to help clients manage the impacts proactively. We define the issues, present practical action plans to address them and implement site and context specific mitigation measures.

Revenue Management Studies

Project revenue represents both an opportunity and a challenge: If not managed properly, it can cause more harm than good. When this is the case, countries fall behind on their development targets (such as poverty reduction) and risk becoming more politically and socially unstable.Our team of Revenue Management specialists undertake studies to mitigate these risks and help clients understand:

  • Different revenue streams generated from a project;
  • Associated impacts of revenue on various sectors of the economy; and
  • Mitigation measures to ensure fair distribution of wealth.

We look at the different levels of technical complexity and deliver practical solutions without compromising the scientific integrity of the outcomes.

Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIA)

Development projects can raise human rights issues that have the potential to affect communities and the reputation of the companies involved.

To avoid this, both the United Nations (through its “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework and Guiding Principles) and the International Finance Corporation (in its Performance Standards) stipulate that project viability planning should include a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA).Our experts assist clients by ensuring human rights are enshrined in every aspect of a project – from corporate policy to grassroots.  They:

  • identify, predict and respond to potential human rights impacts
  • ensure respect for the rights of affected communities (simultaneously safeguarding the company’s reputation)
  • implement mitigation action plans and recommendations
  • monitor any impacts through the lifetime of the project.

Project Implementation & Management

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Resettlement Management

Of all the social aspects of a project, resettlement can be the most challenging.  Particularly if it involves conflict over land.  Our philosophy is to help clients develop and execute resettlement in a manner that gives physically and economically displaced people the opportunity to improve, or at the very least to restore, their livelihood and standard of living.We can facilitate the entire resettlement process:

  • Compile Resettlement Action Plans (RAP)
  • Conduct Social Census and Asset Surveys
  • Perform assessments of potential resettlement areas, and conduct the resettlement site selection process
  • Plan and design resettlement areas
  • Develop livelihood restoration plans, and
  • Monitor communities post-resettlement

Communication is key and we have the skills to develop communication materials that ensure communities are informed of their rights and the changes happening to them throughout the resettlement process.

Public Consultation & Stakeholder Engagement

One of the most important aspects of any project is to gain and sustain the support of the people that live and work in the area of influence.

Our Stakeholder Engagement team helps clients acquire a ‘Social License to Operate’.  Through services aimed at building strong and authentic relationships with all government, communities, civil society and all relevant project stakeholders, they:

  • Establish and maintain relationships with identified sectors of society
  • Develop and implement Stakeholder Engagement Plans (SEP)
  • Manage community relations on the ground, on a day-to-day basis
  • Develop communication material for each target audience, and
  • Monitor grievances and complaints, and assist our clients to respond to these grievances and complaints

Community Investment Management

At its best, community investment builds strong relationships between a company and its stakeholders and makes a sustained contribution to improved quality of life.Globally, we are seeing more companies than ever before allocating greater proportions of their bottom line to investing in community development initiatives that both benefit their local communities and enhance their own reputation.  It’s something we strongly support and are proud to help facilitate through our development of Community Investment Plans (CIPs).

Social context is key and we actively seek opportunities to partner with NGOs that already have a presence in the communities or the greater project area.  Depending on what is relevant, we start with capacity building, livelihood development, skills transfer or access to services, then assist our clients to implement and monitor the associated community investment/development initiatives and projects.

Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR may not be a regulatory requirement but for many corporations it has become a genuine moral obligation.We have the necessary experience and skills, and enjoy helping our clients to:

  • Determine the areas of greatest need in the community, country or project area
  • Develop CSR strategies in line with their corporate objectives
  • Implement CSR plans, policies and procedures that enable them to make a meaningful difference.

Biodiversity Strategy Implementation

As a consequence of man-made development, biodiversity is reducing at alarming rates. On any given project, biodiversity impacts are likely to be some of the most significant so, now, lending and government institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) stipulate that impact assessments should also include a look at ecosystem services (The benefits society receives from ecosystems on a local, regional and national scale).Working closely with our clients we help them:

  • Develop Biodiversity Strategies that focus on:
    • the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
    • the maintenance of ecosystem goods and services
  • Develop, plan and implement:
    • Biodiversity Management Plans
    • Biodiversity Offset Plans
  • Undertake Ecosystem Services Assessments (ESA) in line with IFC Performance Standard 6 (Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources) to provide an understanding of:
    • Project dependence on ecosystem services
    • Multi-scale impacts and dependence, and
    • Indirect and cumulative project impacts.

Environmental Management Plans (EMPs)

Environmental Management Plans ensure that project programmes and legislative requirements are met during project implementation. An EMP may be a prerequisite to obtain an environmental permit and, based on the impacts identified for a particular project, our multi-disciplinary team develops practical, fit-for-purpose EMPs that meet all relevant national and global compliance standards.We have developed, coordinated and implemented scores of EMPs for clients and projects at various phases. We can do the same for you.

Project Monitoring

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In-field Environmental & Social Compliance Monitoring

These days, adherence to international, national and corporate standards is a big issue and there are hefty penalties for non-compliance. No corporation wants to risk paying a debilitating fine or, worse, losing their license to operate.

Our dedicated team of experienced professionals plan, manage and implement the environmental and social components of projects and conduct daily environmental and social monitoring in-field. This keeps clients up-to-date on any compliance issues and minimises the risks by ensuring that they are reported and managed appropriately.