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Contemporary challenges in environmental governance: technology, governance and the social licence


Cullen-Knox, C and Eccleston, R and Haward, M and Lester, E and Vince, J, Contemporary challenges in environmental governance: technology, governance and the social licence, Environmental Policy and Governance, 27, (1) pp. 3-13. ISSN 1756-932X (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment. This is the peer reviewed version of the cited article, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

DOI: doi:10.1002/eet.1743


The process through which societal actors can exert direct influence on the behaviour of organizations has gained increasing attention over the past two decades and is increasingly referred to as ‘social licence’ or ‘social licence to operate’. This paper documents the rise of social licence and analyses the relationship between information and communication technology (ICT), governance and the social licence. We argue that contemporary social licence and the increasingly prominent role societal actors have in private governance has been facilitated by technological innovation in the fields of media and communications, allowing interest groups to have a far greater reach, and direct interaction and engagement with the public, other interest groups and the industries concerned. Now, a larger population can rapidly contest traditional practices regardless of national borders, the issue concerned or the actors involved. The unpredictable, dynamic and subjective nature of social licence has prompted concerns regarding legitimacy of stakeholders, the information they disseminate and outcomes they promote. Subsequently, in an attempt to maintain political and corporate legitimacy, business interests are demanding more adaptable regulatory regimes. These political dynamics are resulting in the proliferation of network style governance that can adapt and cope with changing information, attitudes, values and beliefs. As a result a new era of experimentation and trialling alternative governance regimes has been born.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:social licence, technology, advocacy, environment
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Environment policy
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Cullen-Knox, C (Ms Coco Cullen-Knox)
UTAS Author:Eccleston, R (Professor Richard Eccleston)
UTAS Author:Haward, M (Professor Marcus Haward)
UTAS Author:Lester, E (Professor Libby Lester)
UTAS Author:Vince, J (Associate Professor Joanna Vince)
ID Code:113269
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2016-12-19
Last Modified:2022-06-16
Downloads:15 View Download Statistics

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