Extractive sector companies recognise that gaining a "social license to operate" requires collaborative and constructive relations with Indigenous peoples to meet compliance criteria.
BioC expertise supports companies develop and implement leading edge indigenous objectives and outcomes. Designing biodiversity policy statements such as, "respecting indigenous rights and interests, cultural resources and values, and participation in innovative approaches to design and implementation of appropriate management solutions to potential impacts on traditional country".
Early understanding of the depth and value of biocultural diversity can assist development with "beyond compliance" collaborative design initiatives. Positively effecting long-term relationships of trust, respect and honesty - with deliberate and negotatiated processes that lead to culturally senstive development stages.
BioC strategies help reduce risk through:
- facilitating improved relations between resouce companies and first peoples
- providing consistent, transparent and equitable processes to facilitate land access for resource exploration and development
- supporting first peoples and resource companies in liaison of compliance, rights and obligations to land access for exploration and development
- define clear and consistent processes to collaboratively negotiate agreed terms for conduct of resource activities and compensation; and
- design of agreed and transparent conflict resolution mechanisms, and shared power and compliance processes
Does the Exploration Company have in-house capacity on Indigenous related social, cultural, environmental and biodiversity issues? This may be a constraint that BioCultural Consulting (BioC) can reduce through initial screening processes to develop an overall appreciation of biodiversity / biocultural diversity interfaces. Understanding cultural heritage at its various cultural landscape scales is crucial to ensuring impacts are minimised at the earliest project development stage. Gaining greater clarity on cultural resources, values and responsibilities data, can generate better decision-making and potential time and cost savings strategies.
Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Studies
Do development companies have a fuller understanding of the importance of biodiversity in minimising impacts on cultural structures, governance and decision-making processes? BioC can establish a biocultural diversity baseline - conducting preliminary assessment on biocultural diversity values by mapping cultural interfaces and finding creative solutions to facilitate working agreements and lessening cultural opposition to projects that impair profitability. Free, prior and informed consent is linked to biodiversity. Having a biocultural diversity baseline assists creation of open processes where the voices of "right people to speak for country" influence relevant cultural landscape scale decisions and consensus. The reality is, these biocultural structures and processes are not factored in when assessing or valuing the risk of a project.
Will construction phases require land clearance and sourcing of construction materials? Direct or indirect construction impacts on biocultural diversity are highly visible to Indigenous peoples, in many cases their spatial intelligence has already placed and determined a level of impact to cultural heritage, cultural resource and values long before core on-ground works have commenced. Our mapping methods gather the depth of biocultural information to empower collaborative design of frameworks to effectively negotiate issues of social, environmental, economical and cultural significance. Innovative design of construction footprints to lessen cultural impact is a leading edge approach taken by BioC.
What whole-of-life management processes intersect development and cultural interfaces? Operational functions of development sites can also be substantially enhanced through a whole-of-life biocultural diversity approach. The mapping of interfaces between biocultural diversity and development activities across various operational stages can greatly assist risk strategies. Design and development of strategies are informed by earlier biocultural diversity screening and scoping exercises. Influencing protection of important traditional or cultural uses and values associated with subsistence, cultural resources and cultural economies - and management of wider cultural relationships both upstream or downstream from development locations.
Do you develop and implement your biodiversity policies and rehabilitation plans well? Closure objectives and targets represents a signifcant opportunity to any development partnership or relationship with Indigenous peoples. Our work on Biocultural Diversity Baselines can provide clarity to rehabilitation plans through understanding valuable cultural landscapes losses and potential cultural offsets. Importance of pre-exisitng ecosystems, species and genetic biodiversity in many instances play important roles in cultural decision-making.