Tips for implementing an effective grievance mechanism

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Any project, big or small, has the potential to create disruptions or discomforts to people living in its vicinity. If this cannot be avoided, communication channels should be opened in order to hear and consider what people are saying and concerned about1.  Unanswered issues and complaints can degenerate and escalate into grievances, strikes, and protests that can disrupt project activities. An effective grievance system can help avoid, or at least minimize, such disruptions and contribute to good neighbourly relations.


This paper examines some guiding principles taken from the International Finance Corporation’s Good Practice Notes document entitled “Addressing Grievances from Project Affected Communities” and other sources to define what a good grievance system is. It also draws upon the experience of our Borealis specialists to illustrate certain points, as they are constantly crisscrossing the world helping clients to successfully implement CSR solutions through the use of our Information Management Systems (IMS).

Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. John F. Kennedy School of Government. Harvard University (2008). «Rights-compatible grievance mechanisms: A guidance tool for companies and their stakeholders.»

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