Local Dialogue with Stakeholders
In-depth dialogue: Community advisory panels
Community advisory panels (CAPs) are more than just round tables for discussions. Even before conflicts can arise, the panels bring different stakeholder groups together with representatives of the company. CAPs provide opportunities for dialogue, promote objective discussion, and increase the level of trust between all the various participants.
Our subsidiary Lehigh Hanson has had CAPs at its cement plants in Cupertino, California, and Union Bridge, Maryland, for several years now. Additional panels were set up last year in Glens Falls, New York, and Leeds, Alabama.
In Union Bridge, Plant Director Kent Martin reports that the CAP is playing a key role in the location’s activities. “We call our panel the community advisory council,” he says. “The panel members’ commitment has benefited us in many ways, and our direct interaction with the community enables us to find out what issues our neighbours consider important.” Thanks to the many years of good collaboration, the company can communicate with local residents much more efficiently than would otherwise be the case, and both sides are able to support each other.
In Glens Falls, a CAP was established in response to questions from the community about the company’s use of alternative fuels in 2011. Plant management quickly realised the need to establish open lines of communication with the community and the importance of keeping them informed about the plant operations. The Glens Falls CAP is still in its initial phase, but it’s clear that it is beneficial and important for both parties - the plant as well as its neighbours.