Ensemble is a non-profit service run by TMP, Landesa and Earthworm to help international businesses to assess, manage and remediate human rights and social risks. Specifically, Ensemble helps with:
• Risk assessment and management: Analyzing supply chains or portfolios to identify financial and reputational human rights risks.
• Training: Providing employee training (long and short courses, in-person and remote) on community engagement and human rights.
• Standards and policy development: Working across businesses to design, develop and implement effective standards and policies on human rights.
• Hiring and recruiting social experts: Finding permanent or temporary staff, or identifying consultants and board members on human rights issues.
• Community engagement: Implementing or assessing a process to engage local people as part of a business operation. This includes winning consent, communicating plans, developing good agreements, and monitoring.
We established Ensemble to fill an important gap in the market that was driving both financial losses and negative social outcomes for many investments and projects around the world. First, our work supporting businesses on human rights and community engagement taught us that they do not have much in-house capacity or expertise to identify or respond to these very specific and complex challenges. Second, our work with businesses and NGOs underlined the fact that many of the large consultancies and typical service providers used by businesses also lacked understanding of social risks or the best ways to reduce and avoid them. Moreover, these service providers are often both slow and relatively expensive, which was undermining the business case for working to reduce the risks associated with human rights and community engagement challenges.
Finally, our work across over 50 countries made clear that there are many excellent local organizations who have a strong understanding of social risks and dynamics as well as the trust of many local people and community leaders. These players are well positioned to provide businesses with better services than traditional providers, at a much lower cost and with much more flexibility.
Unfortunately this counted for little because it was very difficult for international businesses to identify, assess and contract these local groups. Ensemble provides this crucial service, and serves as a one-stop-shop for social risk management which combines the benefits of leading global expertise with the advantages of working with smaller local and national groups.
Our international team is made up of three of the leading organizations supporting businesses on social risk, each with complementary skills and experience. At the same time, our team has excellent networks in many emerging economies and can find local groups to implement on-the-ground work quickly, effectively and to a quality standard overseen by the central team.
Businesses can therefore contract with one entity – Ensemble – to get access to several powerful networks without additional overheads or risks. They can also subscribe to Ensemble to get rapid support without the need for a new procurement process for each project. This can help businesses to reduce social risks across their holdings while improving their own capacity to manage these risks moving forward.
Since Ensemble is a non-profit effort, it encourages businesses to develop in-house capability and to form direct relationships with local groups they might work with again, or on an ongoing basis. In other words, Ensemble actively attempts to remove the need for its intermediary role with the aim of reducing costs for businesses and improving outcomes for communities in a sustainable and robust manner.