Last edited 28 Jan 2021

Social risk

Social Impact Assessment: Guidance for assessing and managing the social impacts of projects, published by the International Association for Impact Assessment in April 2015, suggests that social risk: ‘…has different meanings in different discourses. In the SIA (Social impact assessment)/corporate project discourse, ‘social risk’ is a largely similar concept to ‘non-technical risk’ and is the preferred term. The World Bank defines social risk as “the possibility that the intervention would create, reinforce or deepen inequity and/or social conflict, or that the attitudes and actions of key stakeholders may subvert the achievement of the development objective, or that the development objective, or means to achieve it, lack ownership among key stakeholders”. For the Bank, social risk is considered to be both risk (threats) to the success of the project, but also risk (social issues) created by the project, which in turn become threats to the project. In a corporate setting, social risk can be regarded as the business risks (e.g. extra costs) to the company that arise from any social impacts or social issues created by the project, such as through unforeseen costs of mitigation, future litigation and/or compensation payouts, worker strikes, retaliatory acts of sabotage, and reputational harm. For more information, refer to: Kytle, B. & Ruggie, J. 2005 Corporate Social Responsibility as Risk Management: A Model for Multinationals.’

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