Pamela Lesser & Katri-Maaria Kyllönen – MIREU Social Licence to Operate Toolbox

1University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland Email:

2University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

Fig 1. MIREU SLO Toolbox: 5 relationship-building activities and corresponding tools

One of the main deliverables of the Horizon 2020 MIREU (Mining and Metallurgy Regions EU project) is a Social Licence to Operate Toolbox for Europe.

The SLO Toolbox highlights the five main activities that occur when starting and maintaining relationships:

  • Familiarise
  • Introduce
  • Reach-out
  • Establish
  • Strengthen

Each tool corresponds with a certain Activity. You choose the tools depending on your relationship with a particular individual or group. All five steps are essential to observe and ideally all steps should be developed one by one, however, the Toolbox can be used at any moment of the lifecycle in order to improve the relationship-building process or to catch things that have gone wrong. For example, you may be part of a small exploration team of geologists and want to start meeting with people who live in the area. In this case tools related to the Familiarise and Introduce Activities would be most helpful. Or, there could be the case where you work for a mining company and have already established relationships with members of a community so concentrating on the Strengthen Activity would be more beneficial. The tools can be selected, mixed and matched depending on the need and capacity of the user and adapted to the regional or local (cultural) context. Most of the tools have been developed specifically for Europe; although, several have been adopted from Canada and tailored to the European context.

In the presentation, a brief overview of the tools will be presented and two in particular – Tool 1.3: Stakeholder Mapping and Stakeholder Frames as well as Tool 4.4: SLO Indicators – will be presented in more depth.

[1] MIREU SLO Toolbox diagram p 10.


Pamela Lesser is a researcher within the Arctic Governance Research Group at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, where she focuses on sustainable mining practices in the north, and in particular, the social licence to operate (SLO) concept. As part of a Horizon 2020 project on EU mining regions, she is currently leading the effort that will result in European Union SLO Guidelines and an accompanying SLO Toolbox.

Pamela’s background is in land use and urban planning as well as in environmental impact assessment. Prior to her work at the Arctic Centre, Ms. Lesser was a Fellow of Ecologic Institute – U.S., a Berlin-based think-tank, with projects related to smart cities and spatial planning. Ms. Lesser has extensive experience in the public sector, working for consultancies as well as with NGOs. As the National Policy Analyst at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA, she served as a policy advisor to the Executive Director. Pamela Lesser was educated at Georgetown University, the University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., Political Science, M.A., Urban Planning), and conducted post-graduate studies in environmental policy at the RAND Corporation and in environmental science and policy at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.