Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 528

528 Arctic Yearbook 2014 briefly presents the theoretical background for the study and discusses the results of the case study of the two mining and processing companies operating on the territories of the Kirovsk and Apatity municipalities in the Murmansk region. Data for the study have been obtained from scientific literature, statistics, media sources and through the semi-structured interviews conducted by the authors during the fieldwork in spring of 2014 with officials from the Kirovsk and Apatity municipalities, deputies of their municipal Councils, the representatives of both mining companies and ordinary people living in both municipalities. Social License to Operate: Theoretical Aspects The emergence of the “social license to operate” (SLO) concept is connected with growing public concern in many countries during the 1990s in the results of mining activities. These concerns arose due to a series of environmental damages made by some mining projects which evoked sharp conflicts of the companies with local communities. The term “social license to operate” was suggested by Canadian mining expert James Cooney in early 1997 at the meeting with the World Bank personnel. He suggested this metaphor to explain the quality of the relationship between a mining project and its host community (Thomson, Boutilier, & Black, 2012). The concept and terminology surfaced in May 1997 in discussions at the conference on mining and the community in Quito, Ecuador, sponsored by the World Bank (Thomson & Boutilier 2011: 1779). According to the definition given in one of the documents of the World Bank, “a social license to operate is the acquiring of free, prior and informed consent of local communities and stakeholders” (Pike, 2012). R. Pike, who cited the definition in his article, stressed that “this is part, but not the whole, of the social license. The whole consists of both the acquisition and ongoing maintenance of the consent of the local stakeholders” (ibid). The SLO concept has several conceptual roots. Among them there are sustainable development and multilevel governance concepts, as well as the concept of corporate social responsibility (Buanes 2014). A very important pillar of a social license to operate is corporate social responsibility (CSR), widely understood as “the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large" (World Business Council for Sustainable Development). According to an article of web resource for Canadian Mining Information – “the concept of “Social License to Operate” comes from the continuous study of the broader, older, and better established notion of “Corporate Social Responsibility” (Miningfacts 2012). Hence the SLO could be regarded as one of the derivatives of CSR. In the literature, a social license is often regarded as having three normative components: legitimacy, credibility, and trust; and four levels of social license: withdrawal, acceptance, approval and identification with the project psychologically, or co-ownership level (Prno & Slocombe, 2012; Thomson & Boutilier, 2011). Meanings of the components and levels are described by Thomson & Boutilier (2011). Defining the terms legitimacy, credibility, and trust Thomson and Boutilier (2011) suggested the following approach. First, they define legitimacy drawing on the Knoke’s approach who put legitimacy in the context of stakeholders and politics as “the acceptance by the general public and by relevant elite organizations of an association’s right to exist and to pursue its affairs in its Riabova & Didyk