June 1, 2013
by Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief, firstname.lastname@example.org
As economic and production challenges were top of mind for producers during recent years, many spent less time than normal focused on community relations. While nearly 70 percent of producers tell us community relations is not a problem for their operations, it is important to remember that the next permit expansion or greenfield site does require community support. The importance of a social license to operate cannot be underestimated and is rarely taken for granted.
In our last reader interest survey, aggregates managers shared with us information about the numerous types of community relations activities in which they are they engaged. The results can be seen in Figure 1.
More than two in three respondents say they are involved in local community programs such as their chambers of commerce. It’s a great way to reach out to other local business owners. While generating community relations benefits, it also introduces the business to potential customers. For example, Cemex’s Center Hill Mine invites the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Group to its site twice a year to tour the operation and ask questions.
The second most popular engagement activity is providing sponsorships of scouting groups and sports teams. Rogers Group’s Lacey Quarry takes that role to an extreme. When its local community didn’t have the funds necessary to maintain the grounds at its youth sports complex, the operation stepped in to donate stone for the parking lot and even cover the grounds maintenance costs.
One in two operators has a school partnership, and nowhere is this more likely to be the case than at Vulcan Materials Co. operations. Although schools have cut back on field trips as they experience shrinking budgets, Vulcan’s East Region interacts with nearly 12,000 students each year through its Adopt-a-School programs.
But it’s not just the big companies that are out there doing good work. Representatives from Martin Stone Quarries have visited four schools and talked to 280 students so far this spring. And Spencer, Mass.-based Bond Construction Corp. hosted two tours of high school students from the local technical high school earlier this year (see the story on page 33).
Whether it’s as simple as hosting a pack of Boy Scouts to fish at your site or as involved as organizing a 5K run at your site to benefit a local charity, consider how your operation can reach out and demonstrate its value to the community. The goodwill generated by such positive interactions is always worth the effort.