Welcome to the Stakeholder Engagement Report produced by the Business in the Community Ireland Working Group.
This report describes common and evolving practices in stakeholder engagement among a group of development companies and other stakeholders in Ireland. It is aimed at companies and other organisations involved in engagement as part of proposed development, to encourage them to observe certain approaches in communications with stakeholders generally, including communities. It documents key considerations and practices for developing constructive engagements with stakeholders and a set of commitments for how engagement should be conducted—all of which we hope will prompt further discussion and lead other companies to similar and continually evolving approaches.
In this document, what we refer to as ‘stakeholder engagement’ is more proactive and extensive than what is required under planning legislation as ‘stakeholder consultation.’ This genuine dialogue between companies, communities and other stakeholders offers the opportunity to influence projects.
This Working Group was convened by Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), Ireland’s only network for responsible and sustainable business. Its vision is to assist businesses in Ireland become the most responsible and sustainable in the world. As well as providing one-to-one advice to companies, the organisation also provides them with networking opportunities to share or establish best practice.
Business in the Community Ireland’s interest in this topic arises because good stakeholder engagement is central to corporate responsibility and sustainability. According to the AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard, stakeholder engagement “is the process used by an organisation to engage relevant stakeholders for a clear purpose to achieve accepted outcomes” (2008, 6). As such, stakeholder engagement is the key mechanism by which an organisation (frequently a business) engages with its stakeholders and adjusts its operations and outputs for mutual sustainability.
The Working Group included Business in the Community members with an interest in and a demonstrable stake in the topic of stakeholder engagement particularly as it relates to development projects. The group comprised representatives from Bord Gáis Networks, Bord na Móna, Chambers Ireland, the County and City Managers Association, EirGrid, ESB Networks, the Irish Planning Institute and Shell E&P Ireland Ltd. It was chaired on behalf of BITCI by former KPMG Managing Partner, Terence O’Rourke.
You can download a copy of the report here.