Impact on the local community

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Does your business take steps to help the quality of life in your local community?

EXCELLENT Answers

No EXCELLENT answers have been published for this question.

GOOD Answers

No GOOD answers have been published for this question.

OKAY Answers

No OKAY answers have been published for this question.

POOR Answers

No POOR answers have been published for this question.

This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018

By their very nature, business operations have some impacts, both positive and negative, on the local community because the economic, social and environmental effects are so closely interconnected. Good community relations can underpin a business’ sense of identity. It is therefore important to a business’ reputation that good community relations are maintained and any community impacts are supported, mitigated or minimised. To neglect this, or allow a company’s reputation to fall into disrepute with its local community, through lack of involvement or consultation, might seriously affect the foundations of the business’ identity and its social licence to operate.

For example, commercial activities may lead to heavy traffic, overburdening local transport infrastructure with associated traffic jams and delays, traffic accidents and reduced productivity for a delayed workforce. The heavy traffic causes noise and air pollution, with detrimental effect on the health of local people , adverse effect upon the performance of children in school and reduced quality of life in surrounding communities. Such places may be under flight paths near an airport or close to a heavy manufacturing plant. Likewise, business decisions about outsourcing services, staff layoffs or closures may be necessary for profitable operations but lead to a decrease in the quality of life in local communities if comparable job opportunities are not available. Such damage may be mitigated or minimized through good planning and community engagement.

Conversely, businesses may be in a position to have positive impact beyond providing secure employment. This might include taking steps to improve the physical environment by tree planting, creating wildlife refuges or supporting community societies and sports, training and investment.

The objective of a strategy to support the quality of life within a local community is to enhance the local profile of the business, which might have the following benefits:

facilitate the recruitment and retention of local staff (improving diversity and inclusion)
help create a healthy corporate culture
reap economic benefits (e.g. increased take-up of commercial service, income generating services such as room hire, commercial services, cpd courses)
Facilitate estate development
The City of Edinburgh having a sense of ownership and pride in the University

Possible ways to improve quality of life and mitigate or even avoid damage to local community include:
● social impact assessments
● communication and effective collaboration with stakeholders
● investment in the community
● operational planning
● Undertaking Community Development partnership (CDP) initiatives

This question, however, also provides an opportunity for a business to describe some of the ways it has supported the local community. These may be substantial investments in economically depressed areas such as specifically locating facilities in such places, investing in local infrastructure, contributing to local civil society such as business groups that promote entrepreneurship, restoring landscapes and wildlife habitats: the list is endless.

This question asks businesses to consider the negative or positive impacts they have had on the community and in what ways they have managed these.

Community

A 'community' in this context refers to a geographically restricted area. There is no defined radius for a community; it could be a town or city, section of a town or city or neighbouring villages and towns. For example, a sparsely populated region may consider a wider geographic area to be a community.

Quality of Life

'Quality of life' is not a tangible concept, unlike the standard of living, and therefore cannot be easily measured. It is the overall sense of well-being felt by an individual or community. It has two aspects: the first includes physical aspects such as health, diet, exercise, social activities and safety. The second includes psychological aspects such as stress, worry, pleasure and other positive or negative emotional states. A supportive community will enhance both the physical and psychological aspects of quality of life for individuals.

Social Impact Assessment

'Social Impact Assessment' (SIA) includes the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment.’

Answering YES

All Businesses MUST

State business sector

Describe the negative impacts they have had on a community

Explain the reasons for these impacts

Describe any precautionary or remedial actions they have taken to mitigate the effects

All Businesses MAY

State any philosophy or key values which govern or influence their approach to diversity in the workforce

Describe any positive contributions made to the local community and the current and potential effects

Assess whether this issue is likely to affect them more or less in the future

Mention any future intentions regarding this issue

Answering NO

All Businesses MUST

State business sector

Confirm that they have no negative impacts on the community

Explain how they promote positive impacts

All Businesses MAY

Assess whether this issue is likely to affect them more or less in the future; and

Mention any future intentions regarding this issue

Answering DON'T KNOW

All Businesses MUST

Confirm that they cannot make an objective assessment as to whether their effect on a locale has been negative or positive

Explain why they are unable to make an assessment

Provide relevant detail regarding their economic and social impact on communities

Describe any future plans

NOT APPLICABLE is not a permissible answer to this question

Version 1

To receive a score of 'Excellent'

Successfully and actively mitigating any adverse impacts on the quality of life in the local community whilst having several positive impacts

Examples of policies and practices which may support an EXCELLENT statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Outlining all negative impacts, scope and detailing why the reasons for these are currently unavoidable (clearly defined by social, environmental etc.)
  2. Noting all steps that are being taken to reduce these negative impacts or alternatives in place to compensate for these
  3. Detailing all positive impacts and having a clear cost-benefit analysis
  4. Having a clear policy and regular evaluation of local impacts
  5. Overall having a visible positive impact on the local community with measured assessments
  6. Showing marked change in company operations that have been of benefit to local communities
  7. Targeting of specific marginalised groups within the community to increase inclusion and company diversity
  8. Integrating community opinions where possible in potential future company operations, consulting locals and ensuring inclusion in decision-making processes
  9. Availability of company information for local community awareness
  10. Having a clear method for documenting local community concerns
  11. Training schemes and apprenticeships being offered to local people
To receive a score of 'Good'

Has taken a number of steps to mitigate the adverse impacts on the quality of life in the local community

Examples of policies and practices which may support a GOOD statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Has a clear assessment of negative impacts in the local community, whilst developing ways to address these
  2. Steps being taken to reduce negative impacts with shown mitigation results
  3. New company policies emerging around local community inclusion
  4. Some cost-benefit analysis and consideration of how to maximise positive impacts on the local community
  5. Attempts to consult the local community in business operations
  6. Some company information available to the local community
To receive a score of 'Okay'

Ad hoc attempts to mitigate the adverse impacts on the quality of life in the local community

Examples of policies and practices which may support an OKAY statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Operations are not based in the local community
  2. Too small to have a marked impact on local community
  3. No formal consideration given due to the small size of the company
To receive a score of 'Poor'

Little or no concern about mitigating the adverse impacts on the quality of life in the local community

Examples of policies and practices which may support a POOR statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Limited knowledge of impacts in the local community
  2. No effort or concern in acknowledging impacts on the quality of life in the local community
  3. No steps being taken to reduce negative impacts on the local community
  4. Little or no communication with the local community