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29 July 2013
The National Environmental Policy set out in Federal Law 6.938/1981 requires that a preliminary environmental permit be obtained before the construction, installation, expansion and operation of any potential polluting activity, or before any kind of use of natural resources that may cause environmental damage commences. Under Resolution 237/97, issued by the National Environmental Council, three consecutive environmental permits must ordinarily be requested:
The average time taken for a facility to obtain environmental permits will depend on the complexity of the venture concerned.
Other authorisations and permits may be required depending on the activity being undertaken, such as authorisation for water use, effluent emissions and chemical product use.
A social licence to operate relates to the transparency and proactivity of a company towards local stakeholders and society in general, with the aim of increasing stakeholder participation in company decisions. Stakeholder participation in the permit process has become common, especially at the time of the public hearing before an environmental permit is granted.
In this context, local stakeholders must be identified and the negative impact that the company's operations may have on the community considered, so that measures aimed at mitigating any negative impact can be promoted and engagement with the community fostered.
An earlier version of this update first appeared in Latin Lawyer.
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Maria Alice Doria