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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.