Social engagement - standards
Author: Meghan Cartwright
The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining
Created: March, 2009
There are a number of professional societies that have created standards for community engagement. The AA1000 standards were created and by group called AccountAbility. Their aim is to lay out a means of improving an organizations engagement tactics through principle based strategy. It is this approach that allows AccountAbility to make the claim that AA1000 are applicable to organizations in any sector, of any size in any region.
The AA1000 standard is broken down into three sections: the AccountAbility Principles Standard, the Assurance Standard and the Stakeholder Engagement Standard. The standards are achieved through open consultation with members, practitioners and interested groups. There are over 150 groups that refer to the AA1000 standards in their reporting.
The AA1000 stakeholder engagement standard targets transparency, responsiveness and compliance. Transparency relates to an organization's accountability to stakeholders, responsiveness deals with an organizations ability to address stakeholder concerns and compliance means following legal requirements and adhering to any voluntary commitments. AccountAbility will act as resource for companies in planning engagement strategy, opening channels for dialogue with stakeholders and maintaining solid relationships with stakeholders through their AA1000 framework.
Other standards for engagement can be found by looking for regional organizations. The group Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) North America outlines their Seven Question for Sustainability. The first of the seven questions focuses on engagement as a crucial part of the sustainability process. Regional bodies also hold regulations on engagement. The United Kingdom has engagement standards. The Scottish Community Development Center has created National Standards for Community engagement as an example.