This resource helps companies understand what the Guiding Principles expect when they use the term “meaningful stakeholder engagement" and summarizes particular aspects of stakeholder engagement that are critical for implementing the Guiding Principles.
August 2013 | Shift | Pages: 18
Stakeholder engagement is foundational to effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. Meaningful stakeholder engagement is particularly essential in a business’ efforts to meet its corporate responsibility to respect human rights. An increasing number of companies have sophisticated systems and processes for conducting a wide range of stakeholder engagement activities, and there is a substantial body of guidance around effective stakeholder engagement.
However, in practice, many human rights impacts can be linked back to challenges related to stakeholder engagement. It appears that more effective stakeholder engagement often could have prevented or mitigated them.
The Guiding Principles reference the importance of consulting with affected stakeholders at several key moments:
Affected stakeholders may include:
Companies may also choose to engage at the broader policy level with issue expert stakeholders: individuals whose human rights are not themselves affected by a company’s activities, but who can provide insights into identifying and addressing human rights challenges, and with whom it may be important for companies to communicate about their overall performance on human rights issues. Engaging with issue experts may be helpful to companies, but it is not a replacement for engaging with affected stakeholders.
Key elements for companies to consider when engaging with stakeholders on human rights issues include: