Sustainable development remains a challenge across the Arctic and an important aspect of Arctic governance research. Clear regulatory frameworks which allow for economic development while respecting the decisions, needs and interests of local communities are essential, especially in areas which are characterized by a vulnerable natural environment.
One aspect which is particularly relevant for our research is the concept of the ‘Social License to Operate’ (SLO). Although the SLO is a well established concept, having emerged in the late 1990s as the mining industry’s response to its severely deteriorated reputation globally, there is still no consensus on an actual definition of SLO. There is, however, more general agreement that SLO is an intangible, unwritten social contract between a company and community that exists when a mine or project has the ongoing approval of the local community and other stakeholders. It is dynamic, non-permanent and must be earned on a daily basis. Although the term emerged within the mining industry and is used most commonly in association with mining, it is also now being applied to different kinds of projects including energy, infrastructure, housing, etc. The projects on this website, however, all are focused on the mining industry.