Australia's light blue beach representing an Indigenous-led research report that has proposed a cultural license to operate (CLO) framework to help industries collaborate with First Nations

Indigenous-led report paves the way for marine industry collaboration with First Nations (Video)

An Indigenous-led research report has proposed a cultural license to operate (CLO) framework to help industries collaborate with First Nations, fostering trust and cultural legitimacy in the blue economy operations.

Source: Blue Economy CRC

The study, conducted by Australia’s CSIRO and funded by the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre, delivers a new standard for industry practices under the CLO concept in blue economy sectors such as marine renewable energy, said Blue Economy.

The research report has five key recommendations for the industry, including investment in implementing and testing the CLO framework, bringing diverse sectors together, education to deepen understanding and dispel existing institutional misconceptions, elevating industry standards by mandating leadership performance, and investing in more agile and risk-tolerant approaches to encourage industry to recognize the “competitive advantage” of collaborating with First Nations.

CSIRO Indigenous researcher Cass Hunter, from the Kuku Yalanji and Maluiligal nation, emphasized the need for industries to acquire a CLO by working with First Nations.

“We’re flipping the script for industry to consider the competitive advantage of working directly alongside First Nations through changing the formula of corporate responsibility. This framework provides guiding tracks for shifting away from a transactional way to engage with First Nations through ‘keeping up an appearance’ or ‘at arm’s length’ towards the ultimate transformative goal — real beneficial relationships with First Nations,” said Hunter.

“We hope the framework helps transition Cultural Licence to Operate to an opportunity rather than it being seen as an unnecessary cost associated with operating in an ethical, equitable and culturally responsible way.”

View on Youtube.

CSIRO marine ethnoecologist Mibu Fischer, a Quandamooka woman, emphasized the necessity for the industry to establish trust and earn cultural legitimacy to operate.

“A cultural licence is a really complex thing to develop. It can be anything from a community’s rights to veto a project, to community consent for a business to work in their Sea Country,” said Fischer.

“It could be community’s rights to be engaged or profit from onshore facilities. It can be a whole range of things, but the cultural licence aspect of it is about giving that power and decision-making to communities over our future in the blue space.”

Subscribe and follow

Offshore Energy – Marine Energy LinkedIn