In Focus: The Social License to Operate

In Focus: The Social License to Operate

Guest: Amb. Andrew McAlister

Building positive relationships between investors, governments and communities is a fundamental aspect of natural resource management. As a concept, the Social License to Operate (SLO) is concerned with having the activities of a company accepted by the community in which the operations are to take place. Over the last two decades, SLO has become a key issue for companies, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders in the extractive sector.

In this episode of In Focus, we interview the former Canadian Ambassador to Tanzania and President of McAlister Consulting Corporation, Amb. Andrew McAlister, to get his take on the SLO and broader relationship between mining companies and local communities.

Amb. Andrew McAlister

President, McAlister Consulting Corporation

Amb. Andrew McAlister was a career diplomat in the Canadian Foreign Service from 1976 to 2007. In addition to assignments at Foreign Affairs headquarters and with the Canadian International Development Agency in Ottawa, he served abroad in Tanzania, Thailand, and the Philippines and as Deputy Permanent Representative at the Canadian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. From 1994 to 1998 he was Canada’s Deputy Head of Delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights and responsible as well for coordinating Canada’s relations with the International Labour Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights and humanitarian organizations in Geneva. Most recently, he was the Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Laos and Burma in 2001-04 and the Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania and the Seychelles and Ambassador to Madagascar and the Comoros in 2004-2007. His last assignment before leaving the Canadian public service in January 2008 was in the Privy Council Office in Ottawa.

Amb. McAlister has been a private consultant since February 2008, focusing on advising companies pursuing natural resource projects in a wide range of jurisdictions. His particular focus is government relations, stakeholder and community engagement, transparency and corporate social responsibility strategies. He has worked with leading companies in the natural resources sector and has extensive experience on the ground assisting companies with the management of a wide range of issues in complex and challenging jurisdictions. He is familiar with regulatory frameworks in the mining sector in a range of countries in the developing world and effective strategies for concluding mutually beneficial agreements between companies and host governments.

Amb. McAlister holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics.