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Twilight Seminar - 'Defining the Social Licence to Operate, its Characteristic Regime and its Negative/Positive Variants'

Everybody is welcome to attend (staff, students, visitors). You can attend in person or online via Zoom.


The ‘social licence to operate’ (SLO) has risen over recent decades to be an important part of political discourse and corporate governance, particularly in key industries such as mining and aquaculture. Yet ambiguity surrounds the term, with a wide breadth of different definitions in the academic and grey literature. We argue that many current definitions fail to include critical elements—such as how a licence differs from mere acceptance. In this paper, we provide and defend a specific definition of the SLO, describe ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ variants, and distinguish an ‘SLO’ regime from other types of governance systems.

About the Speaker:

Dr Hugh Breakey is Senior Research Fellow in moral philosophy at Griffith University’s Institute for Ethics, Governance & Law. His research spans political theory, normative ethics, governance studies and applied philosophy, exploring the ethical challenges in such diverse fields as peacekeeping, argument, institutional governance, climate change, sustainable tourism, private property, professional ethics and international law. He is President of the Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics.