Stakeholder relations, engagement and analysis, review and management
In the absence of global governance, companies have developed their own sustainability strategies and policies. At the same time, they are approaching sustainability issues more formally with their stakeholders. Smart companies have come to understand that they need to engage with internal or external stakeholders, debate issues of sustainability and even have contractual arrangements with stakeholders.
We understand that no company can operate in isolation. It is affected and impacted by stakeholders. Conversely, it affects, impacts and influences stakeholders.
Stakeholder management has changed dramatically over the past few years. It has moved from pure information dissemination and communication with stakeholders to a deep and intimate understanding of the expectations of various stakeholder groups.
Stakeholder engagement can lead to open, trusting, respectful relationships built on dialogue. It can also create more legitimacy for your company in the eyes of stakeholders, and the information gained can be used in decision making. Stakeholder engagement can draw on local knowledge to help create a mutually sustainable scenario for the future. This is why it is also important to understand stakeholder concerns and manage expectations.
The importance of stakeholder management
Sustainable development requires companies to accept a variety of responsibilities that are not necessarily directly related to sheer economic performance. As part of this it is critical to openly communicate with all stakeholders, no matter what their association with the organisation.
This not only helps an organisation to make continuous sustainability progress; it also provides valuable additional input. Sustainability issues and expectations are complex, and understanding and addressing them requires that a company not work in isolation. Rather, it should solicit responses from all stakeholders.
So the first step towards a sustainable development strategy is to gain a thorough understanding of the organisations own important issues, and to consider them in context of stakeholder needs and considerations.
Depending on the issues and objectives, this often requires dialogue facilitation structures at both local and regional levels. And the impact of this dialogue needs to be measured.
Our stakeholder management experience and services include:
- Identifying stakeholders, analysing and prioritising them, and mapping them to specific sustainability issues.
- Proactively engaging with stakeholders through a variety of tools and methodologies, including household surveys, focus groups, stakeholder panels, telephone or personal interviews, etc.
- Analysing stakeholder feedback and integrating it into material risk and impact matrixes, and sustainability and integrated reports
Stakeholder material issues cover:
- specific sustainability aspects and topics such as economic, environmental or social aspects
- subject-specific issues such as health, water, energy or human rights
- specific perceptions such as customer satisfaction, requirements or expectations