Guidance on Engaging All Affected Stakeholders

By a World Economic Forum working group

How can we understand and be accountable for the effects of an investment or enterprise’s activities, without understanding the experience of those affected by it?

Most people would agree that it is important for enterprises – and those who invest in them – to listen to the voices of those affected by their activities. However, not many are doing this consistently or comprehensively enough. Many investors and enterprises believe stakeholder engagement would take too much time and resources to be worthwhile. Some take a narrow view of who their stakeholders are and engage only with intended beneficiaries or end-users, ignoring other affected groups. And there are many who would like to do it, but don’t know where to start.

From the many conversations we have had on this subject in 2016 and 2017, it is clear that guidance is needed on appropriate (practical, credible, low-cost, responsible and ethical) ways to incorporate the voices of affected stakeholders into investment and organizational processes; and, importantly, on how we should respond to these voices and make decisions.

The report available to download above provides guidance on how to implement stakeholder engagement practice, alongside suggestions for how this practice should evolve. This report was a collaborative effort by a number of organisations and experts who were convened as part of the World Economic Forum working group on impact measurement and management.

Through Phase 2, the Impact Management Project will seek to build on this work to encourage widespread practical convergence by enterprises and investors around the collection and use of direct feedback data. This work will be led by experts from Acumen’s Lean Data team and Keystone Accountability who will pilot test survey questions on a number of enterprises to see if we can discover a set of questions that are most likely to gather high quality feedback about each dimension of impact.

Read more on ‘Phase 2’ here.