Toward a Theory of Local Legitimacy by MNEs in Developing Nations: Newmont Mining and Health Sustainable Development in Peru

Blair Gifford and Andrew Kestler
Journal of International Management Vol. 14, Issue 4, p. 340-352

This paper describes a current initiative by Newmont Mining Corporation (Newmont) to develop sustainable community benefit in communities around its mining operations in Peru in response to heightened criticism of Newmont by non-government organizations and the media. Using anthropologically oriented methods, a community health assessment project in an area of projected mining is described in detail in this paper. This case adds to London and Hart’s social embeddedness strategy for multi-national enterprises (MNEs) working in developing nations by introducing a locally-based community interaction model, which we describe as a local legitimacy strategy, in an effort to bring about sustainable development in the communities that surround a MNE’s production activities. The components of our local legitimacy strategy include co-analysis of community needs by MNEs and community partners, and planning and investment in developments to enhance the social fabric and the physical infrastructure needs of communities. The developing world is getting better at publicizing and monitoring the work of MNEs. We argue that it will be increasingly necessary for MNEs, like Newmont, to add local sustainable benefit into their strategic mix to gain the social license and legitimacy that is needed to operate in poorer communities.