Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) are an emerging form of contractual relations between natural resource development companies (proponents) and the local communities that host them. In some cases, the state also plays a role in the governance architecture of CBAs. As an evolving mechanism for responsible natural resource governance, the further study of CBAs holds high promise for a robust, policy-relevant research agenda. Across academics, practitioners, state agencies, and communities alike, there is a growing desire to understand the effectiveness of CBAs as a governance instrument for building shared value and how their design, negotiation, implementation, and impacts are to be assessed. In a modest effort to contribute to the prevailing research agenda, the primary research question motivating this study is: “What is the state-of-the-art on existing scholarship related to CBAs over the last three decades?”
This report provides an overview of preliminary findings generated from a systematic literature review of scholarly and policy guidance material on the topic. The scope of the study covers a thirty-year period (1990-2020). This research is relevant as there is increasing interest in company-community agreements in an effort to drive sustainability, reduce corporate social risk, and a desire to understand and mitigate issues of fairness in the process of agreement-making. Through a systematic literature review, this paper assesses the state of the research on community benefit agreements, with a specific focus on monitoring & evaluation aspects associated with CBAs. Thematically, the scope of the study is bounded to specific resource-based industries.