Energy cropping and social licence: What's trust got to do with it?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Biomass and Bioenergy, 2018, 108 pp. 25 - 34
Issue Date:
2018-01-01
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Cellulosic energy crops have been promoted in various jurisdictions for their potential to mitigate climate change and enhance energy security while avoiding some of the negative impacts associated with first-generation biofuel crops. However, the successful expansion of cellulosic energy cropping depends on its acceptance by local communities. The social licence to operate (SLO) concept has been applied in mining and other sectors since the late 1990s and offers a framework for analysing the relationships between energy cropping proponents and local communities. This review analyses recent cellulosic energy cropping studies to determine the extent to which they consider the key SLO variables of distributional fairness, procedural fairness, trust and adaptability. The results indicate that, of these four variables, trust has received the least coverage in previous studies focusing on the social dimensions of cellulosic energy cropping. This review also highlights a contrast between energy cropping studies that applied the SLO concept, all of which explicitly considered trust, and those studies that did not apply the SLO concept. This result highlights the potential role that the SLO concept could play in ensuring that the importance of trust is not overlooked by researchers, bioenergy proponents or policy-makers.
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