Step Four: Ensure the company engages with stakeholders to inform its approach to addressing human rights risks

Advice and Guidance

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As part of its human rights due diligence, the company should talk to a wide range of stakeholders to help it to:

  • accurately identify human rights risks and impacts, and take effective action to address them
  • understand how stakeholders perceive the actions the company takes to manage and mitigate risks and track their effectiveness, and
  • integrate these insights into company decision making and practices.

Different types of stakeholders offer different perceptions of company activities and impacts. They include:

  • people directly affected by a company’s activities, such as staff, workers in the supply chain and their union representatives, local communities and their leaders
  • experts who understand the perspectives and concerns of local groups, such as local non-governmental organisations and researchers, and
  • experts who understand human rights issues in a particular industry or in high-risk geographical regions, such as national and international non-governmental organisations and trade unions, and socially responsible investors, lawyers and consultants.

The board should ensure that the company’s engagement strategy:

  • encourages openness to engaging with all stakeholder groups, including critics
  • creates channels for communication with groups that lack influence but may be more vulnerable to impacts
  • builds constructive relationships for dialogue rather than engaging only when it serves the company
  • is delivered by staff with the right skills to communicate effectively
  • supports the integration of stakeholder feedback into company decision making, and
  • involves stakeholders affected by human rights risks in the design and promotion of the company’s arrangements for dealing with complaints and grievances.

Last updated: 23 Aug 2019