Acorn Notes

Issue No. 22, April 2014

Capacity Building on Stakeholder Engagement

One of Acorn International’s West African partners recently asked for our review and feedback on a draft public consultation guidance document. The objective of the guidance is to present the company’s methodology for identifying and engaging with stakeholders to meet local EIA consultation requirements, and to help ensure that their approach for consultation is consistent and thorough across their projects.

We found that the guidance our partner developed was adequate for meeting the consultation needs for the local EIA process, which is likely the majority of the work that they will perform. But as they expand their business and client base, we thought it would be important to (1) ensure that the guidance also helps their teams recognize when a program beyond the norm may be required, and (2) ensure our partner’s client’s needs are met. For example we recommended:

  • As a first step, documenting the objectives of the project to recognize if an expanded consultation program may be needed, e.g., if a project needs to meet IFC performance standards.
  • Reviewing key messages and visual materials with the client prior to attending meetings with stakeholders to avoid releasing improper information or causing misunderstandings.
  • Ensuring that any concerns related to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and/or UK Bribery Act are reviewed with the client before meetings are held; for example, clients need to know if government officials will be transported to meetings, if meals will be provided or if serving alcohol is customary.
  • Specifying the types of documentation that should be kept, including names of meeting attendees, records of questions asked and responses given, and photographs (if appropriate).
  • Lastly, we provided links to best practice reference materials for public consultation and stakeholder engagement, including documents from IFC, IPIECA and OGP.

Acorn International has worked with this partner on over 10 EIAs in their country over the past five years. We have been pleased with our capacity building success with this partner over the course of our work together, and their initiative to document their public consultation process and seek our feedback further speaks to their vision for improvement and consistency.

The recommendations we provided to their guidance document were an example of our business model being put to work to provide “Local Content – Global Assurance”. Our partner could clearly define the local consultation needs for their country, and Acorn International was able to provide advice for enhancements to meet international industry needs and best practices. We are pleased to see evidence of this model at work with our West African partner and we look forward to similar successes with other partners worldwide.

Acorn International LLC delivers social and environmental risk management consulting services to the extractive industries and investors worldwide. We work with local partners in over 80 countries worldwide. We look forward to engaging in continuous improvement for the industry and building capacity with our partners.   



Acorn International Notes

Acorn Notes is a series of periodic papers to share ideas regarding EHSS and sustainability management for international industry.

Issue 23 - May 2014: 3 Things I Learned in Mexico - Non-technical Risks in the Oil Industry
Issue 22 - April 2014: Capacity Building on Stakeholder Engagement
Issue 21 - March 2014: Above-ground Facilities and Stakeholder Engagement: Deploying the 'CAC'
Issue 20 - March 2014: A Starting Point for Shared Equity
Issue 19 - March 2014: What It Takes to Run a Great Consulting Firm
Issue 18 - February 2014: Considering Human Rights - Trends and Lessons in Oil and Gas Impact Assessments
Issue 17 - June 2013: Managing Environmental Health in International Development Projects
Issue 16 - January 2013: Integrating Environmental and Social Performance throughout the Project Lifecycle
Issue 15 - January 2013: The State of Shale Play in 2013
Issue 14 - August 2012: Building Environmental and Social Governance in Host Countries
Issue 13 - May 2012: Human Rights and Business: A New Era
Issue 12 - February 2012: Extractive Industries Confront Pressure for Greater Transparency
Issue 11 - January 2012: Key Updates to the IFC Sustainability Policy and Performance Standards
Issue 10 - June 2011: Oil & Gas and NGOs: New Rules of Engagement?
Issue 9 - February 2010: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 8 - January 2009: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 7 - May 2008: Top Ten Lessons Learned About Health Impact Assessment
Issue 6 - January 2008: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 5 - September 2007: Results of web forum with our International Partners
Issue 4 - January 2007: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 3 - May 2006: Suggestions and tips for safe international travel
Issue 2 - January 2006: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 1 - November 2005: The Top 10 “unspoken" criteria for determining the success of EIAs


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