Social licence under threat


Play recording (57 min 47 sec)


4th June 2019

Time and Venues

Venues Local Time Time Zone
Adelaide Waite Campus – B101-FG-R00-SmallWICWest 12:00 pm ACST
Armidale – B55-FG-R00-Small 12:30 pm AEST
Bribie Island – B01-FG-Small 12:30 pm AEST
Brisbane St Lucia QBP – Room 3.323 12:30 pm AEST
Canberra Black Mountain – Discovery Lecture Theatre 12:30 pm AEST
Irymple (See Natalie Strickland) 12:30 pm AEST
Narrabri Myall Vale – Conference Room 12:30 pm AEST
Perth Floreat B40-F1-R46-Rossiter Room 10:30 am AWST
Sandy Bay (Hobart) – River View Room 12:30 pm AEST
Toowoomba – Meeting Room 12:30 pm AEST
Townsville (see Liz Do) 12:30 pm AEST
Werribee (Melbourne) – Peacock Room 12:30 pm AEST


Dr Justine Lacey


Social licence under threat


Social licence to operate (SLO) is a term that has emerged in Australia and around the world over the last two decades. For the most part, SLO has been popularised within the mining and extractive industries where it has been used to describe the broad approval or acceptance of a resource development activity that is afforded by local communities or other stakeholders, who can affect the profitability of that activity. However, SLO importantly points to the changing nature of societal expectations that have influenced the way in which the development, management and use of natural resources is now being undertaken.

For over a decade, the CSIRO has undertaken applied research to measure and model SLO in the mining and extractive industries, and this work has been extended to a range of other sectors including forestry, agriculture, and environmental conservation. This research has collectively demonstrated how the roles of trust, fairness and governance underpin the development of more sustainable, trust-based relationships between resource developers and society in relation to responsible resource management. This lecture will explore the continued appeal of the term SLO to describe and capture the nature of those social interactions and expectations across a range of resource development and use settings, provide a clear definition of SLO based on over a decade of applied research conducted by the CSIRO, and highlight how this concept might be useful in relation to the management of groundwater resources at local and national scales.


Dr Justine Lacey is a Principal Research Scientist and Research Leader of CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Initiative. The Responsible Innovation Initiative is a $5.75m research program examining the interface between science, technology innovation and the associated ethical, social and legal consequences of new and disruptive science and technologies.

Justine is a philosopher and she holds a PhD in the field of ethics and natural resource management. Her recent research has focused on building our understanding of the ‘social licence to operate’, and since 2011, she has worked with colleagues at the CSIRO on identifying the drivers of societal acceptance of and trust in a range of contested resource development industries and contexts.

This has included examining how social licence, which predominantly emerged in the mining and minerals sector, has subsequently been adopted in a range of other contexts including forestry, agriculture, non-renewable energy production, and now increasingly in conservation and environmental management contexts. She has also researched and published on the role of ethics and trust in science and how and to what ends science is used in society.

Dr Justine Lacey