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When to use a grievance mechanism against a business?

If you are considering filing a complaint with a grievance mechanism, as soon as any actual or potential harm by a company has been identified, start investigating whether and when a complaint can be submitted. Some grievance mechanisms have specific time-bound criteria regarding when a complaint can be submitted whereas others do not.

For example, a multilateral development bank’s grievance mechanism will likely require there to be some concrete indication the bank is officially considering financing a project before it will accept a complaint, or they may require your issues are raised with the company first.

When dealing with an issue that occurred in the past, but has not yet been adequately addressed or remediated (such as properly cleaning environmental pollution), you may need to assess if there have been any changes to the mechanism’s procedures and / or the principles and standards that apply. If so, determine if these changes apply to your issue.

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