As long-term investors in infrastructure , we reckon that our investments can have a huge impact on the lives and environment of our fellow citizens; accordingly we need to take into account and manage these potential impacts of our assets on different stakeholders (users, local communities, public authorities, industrial partners, etc.). Ensuring stakeholder acceptance is key to align interests, and create sustainable & shared value for all. The Top-down approach doesn’t work any longer in our complex societies, in Infrastructure particularly: infrastructure projects holders have to be more stakeholdercentric, affecting how infrastructure is financed, designed, built and operated.
This is all the more important now that the world has entered a period of high uncertainty and scarce resources, while the need for a fair and speedy transition has never been more acute. We’re all aware of sensible infra projects (transport hubs or renewable energy/wind farms in particular) being blocked or delayed in many jurisdictions, because of local communities opposition . While this may seem to be primarily the public authorities’ (contracting/procuring entities and regulators) responsibility, private investors and asset managers also have a key role to play, engaging throughout the entire lifecycle of the project, from the early investment stage on.
This is where a new report released last month by Vauban Investment partners sheds light, focusing on what infrastructure financiers, investors or banks, can and should do to better sustain their Social license to Invest and Operate.