In my country, Chile, every new project of any significance has to have an environmental impact assessment. This is an important step when submitting any project. In many cases, the communities follow the process with great interest, and the press also contributes to stirr up opinions.
As I understand it, the results of this assessment are vital in the case of a productive enterprise, as it is part of the general quality control procedures, especially in the case of the International ISO laws.
Without a positive result to all these steps, the companies cannot hope to export on the global markets.