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Bringing stakeholder perspectives to the table

Bringing stakeholder perspectives to the table

From the outset, we at BSD have been guided by the belief that, not only should people affected by an organization’s activities have the right to be heard, but that it is indeed in the interest of an organization to understand its stakeholders’ expectations in order to help drive strategy, innovation and accountability.

Our team has acquired in-depth and extensive experience through working side-by-side with a broad range of stakeholders, including community leaders, worker union representatives, rural producers, activists, consumer advocates, journalists, social entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, suppliers (SMEs), regulators, investors, non-governmental organizations and sustainability experts, among others. It is precisely this capacity to understand stakeholder realities and expectations that we have strived to leverage when advising organizations as they design strategies, programs and partnerships, and as they prioritize which material issues to address.

We have created a systematic approach to stakeholder engagement, which invites organizations to strategize around the purpose of engagement and to build on stakeholder knowledge to align their operations with societal expectations. We have seen over the years many cases where the results of ad hoc engagement initiatives fail to be taken into account when key decisions are made, resulting in low levels of responsiveness to stakeholders. The links between effective stakeholder engagement systems, strategy, operational excellence, collective impact, trust and innovation continue to drive our efforts as we move forward in supporting corporations, public agencies and civil society organizations in their sustainability endeavors.

BSD has also played an important role in challenging organizations through our assurance process for sustainability reports, which aligns with the principles laid out in the AA1000AS and APS standards. This process involves evaluating the integration of stakeholder engagement, management systems and the reporting process.

 

“Today’s organizational challenges and the need to achieve sustainable development make it more important to engage both with previously ignored stakeholders, including the voiceless, and with more familiar stakeholders on new topics and in new ways.” 

AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard