INDEPENDENT SOCIAL PERFORMANCETHE CONSULTING COMPANY
Independent Social Performance was founded 3 years ago (2013) by Jordon Kuschminder. Independent SP is a unique cross-sector consultancy working with communities, companies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations in the extractive industries of oil, gas and mining.
Independent SP provides services that can help you with:
- Social Performance and Community Relations technical assistance and training to Oil, Gas and Mining companies (helping companies engage effectively with communities)
- Helping Communities engage effectively with companies
- Training and capacity building for Communities and Civil Society groups
- Support or provide technical capacity and training for International Organisations (IOs/Donors) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Independent SP brings over 15 years of cross-sector experience in over 20 countries to your team. Jordon Kuschminder is project-tested and systems-based. He has developed the Social Performance and Community Relations toolkits for both major Oil, Gas and Mining Companies and for International NGOs who work directly with the most vulnerable host communities around the world.
Oil, gas and mining can and does lead to community development. Community development from extractive projects results from the sharing of benefits. Sharing in the benefits, however, must also mean accepting a share of the impacts and risks. A proper and formal Community Development Agreement, when done right, protects all parties and is the foundation for meaningful development and benefit
Independent SP specializes in projects at the exploration stage and in complex social environments all over the world.
Independent SP’s is impartial and has no allegiance or affiliation to any company, government or institution.
At Independent Social Performance we believe that the field of practice of Community Relations and Social Performance (CR and SP) goes beyond what many practitioners refer to as ‘relationship building.’ CR and SP are now a merged profession in the extractives industry. At Independent SP, we understand that ‘relationships’ and ‘good-will’ only go so far and that a formalized process is what is required for building and maintaining a Social License to Operate that will last for the long term.
In today’s complex reality, it is only shared socio-economic benefit, formalised through a cross-sector, systems-based approach that results in building the real long-term relationships required for maintaining Social License over time. Formal systems are needed to see host communities benefit and develop, and extractive projects maintain their Social License through staff changes, commodity price swings, and the uncertainty coming from all sectors that have become the norm in today’s operational environment.
Inexperience from any party results in an ineffectual participation in the consultative process. Unfortunately, this imbalance of power is often leveraged company-over-community, but also community-over-company, resulting in not only unfair but often unsustainable local level agreements that end up serving neither side well. Failed agreements contribute to instability and increased risk for both companies and communities.
Successful oil, gas and mining projects around the world are demonstrating that moving thoughtfully and systematically through a formalised consultative process is the new fast.
Likewise, communities need to be involved with a project from the earliest possible stage and develop their own skills and governance model for engagement – based on their own inherent capabilities and leadership structures – to engage companies directly and on their own. Independent SP assists both companies and communities in working together to plan out and implement a consultative process that is fair and shares benefits across both parties.
The mission of Independent Social Performance is to support Community Development from Oil, Gas and Mining projects by building the capacity to use the best practice tools, strategies, systems and agreements that formalize short and long-term shared benefit at the community level.
Here is a video back from our first year of operations outlining the various services we continue to offer our clients:
Our 2014/15 Social Initiative Project involved Independent SP partnering with Habitat Health Impact Consulting to examine how the Ebola outbreak in West Africa affected relationships between mining companies and host communities in Sierra Leone.
Mining Companies and Host Communities: Experiences Before, During and After the Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone
Download the report on CommDev.org:
Independent SP collaborates with a broad network of individuals and organisations – including companies, consultancies, universities, and law firms, who support and assist with specific project work on a pro bono basis. Such projects are broadly referred to as Social Initiatives.
Independent SP often instigates our Social Initiative projects (SI Projects) based upon requests from local level communities, institutions, universities and/or NGOs.
Starting as a project concept, Independent SP first determines which concepts will be evaluated further by entering them into Independent SP’s ‘Project Incubator’ funnel. In the funnel, the project goes through a progressive challenge of validation, resourcing, and planning. If a project concept survives the funnel process, this results in the project moving out of the Project Incubation stage and into it becoming a formal Independent SP Social Initiative Project.
Independent SP holds itself, it’s collaborators, and its clients to strict ethical, safety, and where necessary, confidential standards. Independent SP works across sectors and does not pick sides. All clients and collaborators on our SI Projects are required to be committed to multi-stakeholder dialogue and human rights.
Independent SP’s Social Initiative work is often for for the least wealthy communities, who are often the most marginalized, and this work only happens thanks to the various kinds of financial support and pro bono / in-kind project specific contributions received from our Social Initiative Project collaborators.
Since Independent SP was founded in 2013, it’s taken on 1 significant project each year (total project contributions both in-kind and finically exceeding ±$10 000 USD and a time span of greater than 6 months). Smaller projects enter the Project Incubator more frequently. Some of these smaller projects are successful and become completed SI Projects available to the public (such as the EVD Outbreak Portal) and some do not survive past the project incubation stage (such as the Natural Resources and the Community Review Open Access Journal).
Independent SP, although a Social Enterprise, is not a registered charity and does not directly accept donations or donor funds.