Social Impact Assessments (EVIS)

Social Impact Assessments (EVIS)

By: Soel M. Rondón Cabrera

It is known that the development of large investment projects can create opportunities and benefits for the local population but, at the same time, it can bring about detrimental effects which could lead to social conflict that harm the business climate and damage the company’s reputation. This makes it necessary to carry out a good social impact project management which avoids or mitigates the negative effects and maximizes the social benefits under a sustainable approach, while also guaranteeing the project’s operations long term continuity .

In this context, the Social Impact Assessment (EVIS) is presented as a tool that can greatly contribute to preventing damage and expanding social benefits for surrounding communities at a commercially reasonable cost. The EVIS is a process which seeks to identify and evaluate the possible a project’s social impact and provide the appropriate measures to manage it. In order for it to be effective, it must be strategically planned and executed from the early stages, if possible from the very conception of the project, so that its results can be considered in the design phase and implemented during its development.

This instrument, together with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), is widely used around the world. In Mexico, it is only required by Law within the energy sector (electricity and hydrocarbons), although it is advisable that it be applied to all sectors, given the low response of local governments to meet the needs of communities and residents, as well as the high rates of violence and social conflict that prevail in our country.

Taking these elements into consideration, at B + F we formulate and carry out EVIS in accordance with the highest international standards, such as the Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability put forth by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as well as the Equator Principles, in addition to other best that apply. Our EVIS are based on respect for human rights as well as consultation and social license, an approach which reduces the probability of social conflict, legal disputes and delays in obtaining permits.

Additionally, our EVIS provide for a Social Management Plan (PGS) which includes measures aimed at reducing capital costs by promoting employment and local procurement, and with a focus on the sustainable development of the communities located in the project’s area of influence, all of which results in both a better business climate and a stronger reputation for the company.

At B + F we are convinced that, through EVIS, shared values are created with the communities, by aligning the business objectives and competencies with their development priorities.

In your case, this will help you preserve your social operation license, reduce risk, increase productivity, comply with both government requirements and global standards, as well as to remain competitive for future business endeavors.

This Firm’s leadership on the social impact assessment and the integration of its results into the decision-making process on development projects, constitutes a standard for impact assessment and social management of projects in Mexico. It represents a commitment to the community, the law and the environment.

1 It is also required, at the local level, for the development of large constructions in Mexico City.
2 Such as the 2015 World Bank Group Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines; the 2015 Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Projects’ Social Impact by the International Association for Impact Evaluation, among others.