Stakeholder Integrity

Stakeholder Integrity
Photo by Blake Verdoorn / Unsplash

In natural capital projects, there are often local landowners, tenants, residents and businesses who are connected to the area. In many cases land is acquired for the purpose of raising funds through natural capital markets, but without the full support of these stakeholders.

Objections to the plans can be for a variety of reasons, including increasing house prices, local employment opportunities, and connection to landscapes. 

This creates some risk for project funders, who may find the projects are likely to receive bad press and opposition.

This risk can be mitigated by embedding stakeholder relationship building into projects, ideally from early development stages. This approach can enhance the reliability of the project to deliver a broader range of environmental, social and economic impacts; improving the longevity and sustainability of the project.

In addition, the exploration of alternative funding models such as working with existing landowners instead of outright acquisition may be more beneficial in some circumstances.

Projects lacking stakeholder integrity may be further stalled by local opposition and conflicts with regional and national policy priorities.

In Scotland, the Scottish Land Commission have provided a helpful set of guidelines on defining and delivering 'Community Benefits' as part of a natural capital project. The NFCA are now involved in delivering a 'Community Benefits Standard' for the UK, developed through working directly with a range of Scottish pilot projects.

Alongside how it interfaces with local stakeholders, the stakeholder integrity of a project also relates to its ability to work effectively, and leverage value from, regional, national and international organisations.

Multi-stakeholder partnerships are collaborations between different groups of stakeholders, such as governments, NGOs, businesses, and communities, to achieve a common goal. In the context of nature restoration projects, multi-stakeholder partnerships can help to bring together diverse perspectives, expertise, and resources to achieve more effective and equitable outcomes.

Addressing Stakeholder Integrity in practical terms is closely linked to the Solution Integrity of the project.

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