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Conducting meaningful dialogue


Stakeholder engagement is essential to a business’s efforts to respect human rights – and it needs to be meaningful if it’s going to fulfill that role. While there is substantial guidance about how to conduct stakeholder engagement more effectively, many companies still face significant challenges in getting engagement “right.” Poor engagement can increase the risks of negative human rights impacts on stakeholders; failing to address stakeholder concerns early and effectively can mean that they escalate into more serious impacts. On the other hand, meaningful stakeholder engagement can bring benefits to company and stakeholders alike because it can lead to more informed actions and decisions that help prevent human rights impacts from occurring or find more creative ways to try to address them. 

Learn more: see all our resource library listings below, as well as specific sections from these comprehensive resources:

Listening to Affected Stakeholders to Improve Business Human Rights Performance

September 2019 | Jana Mudronova

Shift Advisor Jana Mudronova discusses how meaningful stakeholder engagement can lead to more reliable, trusted and meaningful data, and play a key role in informing evaluation

Costs of Company-Community Conflict in the Extractive Sector

May 2014 | Rachel Davis and Daniel Franks; Shift and Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School

This groundbreaking research quantifies the costs of getting stakeholder engagement wrong in the extractives sector – namely, the costs of conflict between extractive companies and local communities.

Bringing a Human Rights Lens to Stakeholder Engagement

August 2013 | Shift

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.

Company-Community Conflicts: Challenges and Opportunities for Mediators in the African Context

August 2013 | Brian Ganson

Skilled mediators can help resolve complex company-community conflicts.

Supporting the OECD on Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Sector

July 2013 | Partners: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Shift authored a discussion paper for the OECD on stakeholder engagement in the extractive industry, setting out options and recommendations for a proposed "user guide" to address this issue.

Consulting With Stakeholders in Myanmar

May 2013 | Anna Triponel

As Myanmar opens for business, how can companies ensure they hear from potentially affected people?

Dispute or Dialogue? Community Perspectives on Company-Led Grievance Mechanisms

May 2013 | Emma Wilson and Emma Blackmore; International Institute for Environment and Development

This book explores the use and impact of company-community grievance mechanisms in the oil and gas, forestry, and mining sectors through a series of practical case studies.

Conducting Meaningful Stakeholder Consultation in Myanmar

April 2013 | Shift

This resource, based on extensive on-the-ground stakeholder consultations, is designed to help companies in or planning to enter the Myanmar market to develop and implement a stakeholder engagement strategy, aligned to the Guiding Principles.

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