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Governance via persuasion: environmental NGOs and the social licence to operate


Murphy-Gregory, H, Governance via persuasion: environmental NGOs and the social licence to operate, Environmental Politics, 27, (2) pp. 320-340. ISSN 0964-4016 (2018) [Refereed Article]

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© 2017 Informa UK Limited

DOI: doi:10.1080/09644016.2017.1373429


The ‘social licence to operate’ (SLO) concept is increasingly associated with environmental activism in nations with prominent resource extractive industries. Environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) deploy it as a campaigning strategy to contest corporate activity, in particular, the environmental sustainability of existing or planned commercial projects. Drawing on two prominent Australian ENGO campaigns – against Seafish Tasmania’s Abel Tasman vessel and Tassal’s proposed fish farm operations on Tasmania’s east coast – the SLO strategy is assessed in the context of the governance literature, arguing that it constitutes ‘governance via persuasion’, a mode that incorporates appeals to normative values. Australian SLO campaigns are primarily directed at the state, promoting opportunities for ENGOs to shape reviews and revisions to environmental regulation alongside governmental and corporate actors. SLO campaigns are therefore a contemporary expression of environmental strategies seeking regulatory change in contrast to ENGO-led private governance initiatives that often bypass the state.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Environmental politics, Australian politics, governance, NGOs, Tasmanian politics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Environmental politics
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Civics and citizenship
UTAS Author:Murphy-Gregory, H (Dr Hannah Murphy-Gregory)
ID Code:121374
Year Published:2018 (online first 2017)
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2017-09-26
Last Modified:2018-07-12

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