This report presents a new model of community relations: collaborative community development. It draws on two Chilean case studies: Calama Plus and Creo Antofagasta. Each case is a long-term effort currently unfolding, and already offering important lessons for community relations professionals, public affairs managers, and CEOs.
For additional details, including full case studies, see the full report.
Collaborative community development has three main characteristics:
- collaborative governance, which engages diverse stakeholders in project definition, development, and management;
- many companies, including competitors, working together; and
- a long-term focus on a territory, rather than short-term focus on individual stakeholders.
This approach allows companies to build long term relationships with the community by creating shared value and sustainable development in a territory. The approach results in a favourable atmosphere for business, because a more sustainable and developed area attracts investment and human capital. Companies become better positioned by being more tightly linked to the area’s future. The collaborative effort results in shared responsibility for achieving the desired outcome and provides synergies.
Who Should Use this Approach
Collaborative community development is particularly appropriate for companies that:
- have high social and environmental impacts
- operate in communities with significant development needs, whether urban or rural
- share the territory with other companies, especially if they also have social and environmental impacts, causing cumulative impacts
Understanding Collaborative Community Development
In collaborative community development, companies work with government and citizens to define, develop, and jointly implement long-term benefits for a territory as a whole.
Central to this approach are:
- high-level governance that establishes how decisions will be taken and by whom. The governing body acts as a board. It is usually composed of representatives from government, the private sector, and the community.
- a collaborative intermediary organization (CIO). The CIO is a team that provides dayto-day management of the collaborative initiative and project portfolio. The CIO executes governance directives, coordinates across different actors, leads initiative design, manages projects, and supports citizen participation.
Figure 1. The Collaborative Intermediary Organization's Coordination Role
Collaborative community development differs from other forms of corporate community relations along key dimensions; Table 1 describes these differences.
Table 1. Collaborative Community Development vs. Traditional Community Relations
Implementing Collaborative Community Development
Collaborative community development isn’t easy. A company enters a long, complex process in which it develops agreements with the government, citizens, and other companies in order to create projects with a large scope. Here are eight core steps for implementing this approach.
About this Research
This research was inspired by the Leadership Council of the Network for Business Sustainability Chile (CBS). NBS Chile is Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) hub for Latin America. The report is an extension of larger empirical research authored by Dr. Verónica Devenin, at the University Adolfo Ibañez (Chile), with guidance from members of the CBS Leadership Council. For additional details, please see the full report.
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© 2017, Network for Business Sustainability Chile
This work is protected under international copyright law. It may not be reproduced or distributed for commercial purposes without the expressed, written consent of the Network for Business Sustainability. When using this work in any way, you must always recognise the Network for Business Sustainability Chile using the following citation: Devenin, V. 2017. How Companies Can Support Their Regions through Collaborative Community Development: Primer. Network for Business Sustainability Chile. Retrieved from: http://www.nbs.net.