Call for papers: ‘Social licence and ethical practice’, AAPAE Annual Conference

Call for papers: ‘Social licence and ethical practice’, AAPAE Annual Conference

Online conference: 11 – 13 August 2021

Abstract submission deadline: 28 July 2021

The 28th Annual Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics (AAPAE) Conference will be hosted by the Law Futures Centre at Griffith University, Australia, 11-13 August 2021.

The idea of the ‘social licence to operate’ (‘SLO’) first arose late last century in application to mining industries. Local communities judged that industries were causing too much environmental harm or social disruption, and they began resisting and disrupting industry activities. The critics claimed that the industries had lost their ‘social licence’ to conduct their operations.

Over the last twenty years, the SLO concept has been applied to many industries (e.g. paper mills, banking, tourism, aquaculture) and even to public works. In some applications, the invocation of the SLO concept seems to have had good results, strengthening industry ethical standards and encouraging genuine engagement with stakeholder communities. In others, the SLO concept has itself become the subject of ethical contestation.

The Conference will explore the many ethical questions raised by the notion of the SLO:

  • What is the relationship between the SLO and other more familiar ethical concepts like corporate social responsibility, triple bottom line and legitimacy?
  • How can the ‘community’ that grants the SLO be determined? Is this a practical or ethical question?
  • Should the SLO be employed more widely, as a way of improving industry standards and community engagement across more domains?
  • Should the SLO be resisted on ethical grounds, perhaps because of its inherent indeterminacy and unpredictability for industry—or because it distracts from more democratic and demanding governance/regulatory arrangements?
  • Is the SLO an entirely new form of governance regime or ethical standing, made possible through new technology and social media?

As always, generalist papers on any issues in professional and applied ethics are welcome at the AAPAE Conference. There will also be two streams on:

  • Professional ethics & professionalism
  • Moral philosophers working outside philosophy departments

‘Social licence and ethical practice’: Call for papers

The AAPAE Conference Committee warmly invites submissions for the 28th Annual AAPAE Conference from individuals (and teams) from all disciplines and professions who are interested in advancing the understanding, teaching, and practice of professional and applied ethics.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 28th July 2021 and participants will be notified by July 31 on whether their applications have been successful. Abstract submissions should be no more than 250 words.

This year’s annual conference will be held online; however, the conference atmosphere will, as always, be one of collegiality and encouragement, and a great space for newbie researchers (as well as seasoned presenters) to showcase their work.

Registration Fees

  • Non-concession $30
  • Students $20
  • AAPAE Members Free

Registration is now open and the registration form can be downloaded here. Please email your completed form to Dr Hugh Breakey at to express your interest to attend and obtain the conference link and password.

Invitations and instructions for the Zoom format will be emailed to participants.

All presenters are encouraged to submit their papers to a Special Issue of the peer reviewed journal, Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, which will feature a selection of papers from the conference.

For further information, contact Dr Hugh Breakey at

Best PhD paper presented at the Conference (submitted papers may be up to but not exceeding 8,000 words)

First prize will be an award for A$250 and second prize A$100 Submission deadline for full papers 28th July 2021

For further information, please email or visit

Image: Kerem Yucel / FreeImages