How to define stakeholder engagement
Stakeholders are individuals or entities that can influence or can be influenced by an organization’s activities, service or products. There are internal stakeholders such as employees, shareholders and investors, or external stakeholders such as contractors, suppliers, NGOs, communities and the natural environment the organization interacts with.
The stakeholder engagement is a formal and systematic process aiming to include an organization’s stakeholders in their sustainability relevant topics identification and management.
How to develop a stakeholder engagement
A core concept behind any effective stakeholder engagement model is inclusion. Stakeholders need to be included in the conversation about material sustainability topics mapping and the related decision making processes. Stakeholders engagement can be challenging as it involves taking into account different and often divergent viewpoints: a sustainability strategy based on the outcomes of a stakeholder engagement is considered a solid and innovative approach by investors, institutions and the general audience.
The most recognized guidelines about designing and performing a stakeholder engagement are included in the AA1000SES developed by the British organization AccountAbility, largely compatible with the GRI Standards.
Important phases of robust stakeholder engagement are:
- Goals and scope identification: they need to be coherent with the company strategies and operations;
- Stakeholder engagement mapping and weighting: identifying stakeholders and understanding the intensity of the relationship with the organization can help weighting the level of their engagement along process;
- Defining engagement methodology, planning and KPIs: once a specific engagement methodology has been chosen, including a set of engagement tools (such as interviews, online surveys, conference, etc), an effective planning is needed to allocate responsibilities, resources and timelines, efficient KPIs are needed to enable monitoring;
- Recording and reporting: stakeholder engagement results need to be recorded and its output will feed an action plan to ensure future improvements, reporting will wrap up the whole process and represent a step further in the organisation commitment towards stakeholders and sustainability
Stakeholder engagement with NUVA
NUVA can support companies along their stakeholder engagement challenges and provides guidance over the planning and implementation phases. Our approach includes the use of an innovative online stakeholder engagement platform in order to gather and compare stakeholder engagement inputs and analyse the outcomes.Stakeholder engagement can be offered as part of a wider non-financial reporting path or as a tool supporting the achievement of a sustainability related certification or even as a good practice to improve ESG performances.