Core Principles that Should Govern Stakeholder Engagement

Focused: Engagement goals should be focused and relevant in order to ensure alignment. Expectations should be clear and realistic.

Timely: Engagement should be conducted in a timely manner to ensure that the perspectives of stakeholders can inform the outcome of business decisions that might affect them.  

Representative: The engagement should be structured in a way that enables the perspectives of diverse stakeholders to be considered. For example, engagement could include contact with representatives of broader social identity groups or the use of social media platforms.

Inclusive: Companies should ensure that engagement reaches particularly at-risk stakeholders such as human rights defenders and political dissidents, women, young people, minorities and indigenous communities.  

Respectful: In the context of stakeholder engagement, respecting means both listening and sharing, as well as using engagement approaches that are culturally sensitive and accessible to all participants. This means considering context, location, format and language.

Candid: The process of selecting participants should be transparent, and engagement notes, actions and outcomes should be shared with participants. If full disclosure to the wider public is impossible—given potential risks to participants and to the confidentiality of business decisions—summary outcomes should be disclosed.

Source: Five-Step Approach to Stakeholder Engagement (BSR 2019)