SummaryTrustWorks Global (TrustWorks) prevents, manages and resolves company-community-government conflicts in complex environments. We focus on conflicts around land and natural resources such water, oil, gas and minerals, and use our expertise to address natural resource conflicts that intersect with and exacerbate pre-existing socio-political tensions. We work impartially with governments, businesses and communities to ensure that natural resources promote cooperation not conflict, and that investments rather than fostering inequality – real or perceived – contribute to broad-based, inclusive development of benefit to governments, communities and businesses alike.
Working in medium and high-risk markets, we work most closely with companies that understand that their commercial interests are best fulfilled by aligning with, and supporting the interests of the communities and countries in which they operate. We support senior executives to align their policies and practices with internationally-accepted norms; we also work with managers and front-line staff to infuse conflict-sensitivity across operations and programming, enabling all staff – irrespective of their job titles – to become experts in social performance and non-technical risk. In this manner, minimizing risks to the company on the one hand, and protecting communities and the environment on the other become not just interdependent, but inseparable.
By building relationships based on trust, within and between businesses, governments and communities we create multi-stakeholder collaborations able to withstand the volatility of complex contexts and, where possible, actively shape them in a constructive manner. TrustWorks offers a wide range of tailored, pragmatic analysis, training and mediation services to help companies meet the demands of stakeholders and shareholders alike, in a fair and equitable manner.
About TrustWorksWorking impartially at the intersection between public, private and civil society actors, our approach is designed to bring value to stakeholders and shareholders alike. TrustWorks provides companies, communities and governments with the knowledge, tools and skills to prevent and resolve conflict - and foster positive change and collaboration - in some of the most challenging and complex environments in the world.
We build the capacities of communities, businesses and governments to manage the socio-political, economic and environmental dynamics in conflict-affected and high-risk markets, in a fair and equitable manner.
By enabling companies to sustain their license to operate, build their bottom-line and leave a positive legacy in the region, we simultaneously help societies to benefit from economic prosperity - an essential foundation for any country emerging from instability and/or conflict.
Core activitiesFocusing on operations involving natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals, timber, water and land, TrustWorks' activities fall into five major categories:
We enable companies to deepen their understanding of the interplay between operations and the social context in which they take place. We identify where and how to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive dynamics; we often work "behind the scenes" on company policies, processes, skills and behaviours, thereby building staff capacities to infuse conflict-sensitivity into core and non-core operations.
Serving as facilitators within a group or entity, or as intermediaries between two or more entities (e.g. between companies and communities), we design and implement mediation strategies which build consensus, prevent violence, and find long-term solutions to destructive conflicts.
We work with communities and civil society actors to understand their values, aspirations and interests, building on their strengths and addressing their weaknesses to ensure they can engage constructively with companies on issues that affect their lives and livelihoods. Working with communities as non-homogenous entities, we also help build consensus around priorities, strategies and approaches to communities, both internally and between them when necessary.
We undertake independent assessments of the regulatory, policy and legal environment in order to understand the impact of ongoing or planned investments and operations; we identify gaps and opportunities, and potential impacts on tensions/conflict dynamics at national and local levels.
Leveraging our neutrality, we convene and facilitate dialogue between companies, governments and international aid actors to identify shared interests, and how best to tackle common challenges that may prevent those interests from being met.
Where do we work and whyTrustWorks is able to engage in any context, but our first-class team of leading experts has particular expertise working in some of the most complex and challenging environments in the world. We understand the dynamics of instability and conflict, and the particular pressures of working in contexts that are politically, socially and economically volatile.
We focus our efforts on medium- and high-risk contexts because the risks of engagement are much higher for companies and host countries alike, but the opportunities to foster positive dynamics are much greater. Common risks facing companies working in complex environments can be summarised as the following:
- When operating in environments where institutions are weak and/or lacking, the likelihood of becoming entangled in corrupt processes poses important reputational risks for companies.
- The unpredictable and volatile nature of complex environments can paralyse operational managers who have not planned for -or are not resourced for- fast changing political and socio-economic dynamics.
- When non-technical risk strategies are badly implemented, or only confined to one part of the company, operations can easily exacerbate or ignite conflict and small grievances can quickly escalate into full-scale crises, affecting productivity or, worse, causing loss of life and livelihoods.
- In medium- to high-risk countries, mismanaged environmental impact is likely to affect the country's most vulnerable populations - those who depend on the land for their survival, and who have no safety nets to rely upon. Such impact can trigger conflict, and carry significant opportunity costs for future operations.
- Company engagements in complex environments, especially those involving natural resources such as oil, gas, minerals and timber, often take place in remote communities where expectations are likely to be high, but skills to translate those expectations into tangible benefits are often low. This can create pressures on companies that are difficult to surmount.
- Formal and informal rules in such contexts are often ambiguous and/or difficult to understand, and failure to understand cultural norms can have a significant impact on vulnerable and indigenous populations. Such ambiguity is likely to have significant medium- and long-term implications for both the company and communities if not effectively managed.
- In more extreme cases, companies operating in complex environments risk having to confront armed groups; even face accusation of human rights violations - both of which pose existential risks for a company.
- Lastly, complex environments are those where collaboration between a diversity of actors - including companies, government entities, international organisations, bi-lateral actors and NGOs - is needed most, but is often most difficult to achieve.