Stakeholder engagement is a broad, inclusive and continuous process of communication, dialogue, partnership and collaboration between a company and its stakeholders. Stakeholders are the communities, governments, NGOs and other groups whom the company impacts or who can impact the company. Engagement is a process that is fundamental and should be embedded in all of a company’s work across the social and environmental spectrum. Local supplier programs, workforce development, community investments, human rights assessments and all other efforts will have the greatest chance of success if engagement is part of the design and implementation process.
To manage their role, impacts and social risks, companies must sincerely and transparently communicate and engage in dialogue. Identification of stakeholders, issues and interests should begin as early as possible. Some mitigation may be possible by integrating solutions into project design. Companies should formalize stakeholder plans based on robust stakeholder analysis, including opportunities for disclosure and dissemination of information, consultation and participation, grievance mechanisms and ongoing reporting.