Drawing on BSR’s 25 years of experience working with companies and their stakeholders from corporate headquarters to remote operations and sourcing locations, this report presents BSR’s view of the future of stakeholder engagement. We argue that stakeholder engagement must evolve from a process too often undertaken merely for the sake of doing it into a strategic priority that integrates stakeholder feedback deeply into all aspects of a company’s operations through more collaborative, inclusive, and strategic engagements.

Done well, stakeholder engagement can make corporate decision-making more effective by using diverse external opinions to inform the creation and implementation of corporate strategy. Companies that take this leap may discover that stakeholder engagement provides significant value beyond risk avoidance: It can help companies build their future and create a more inclusive, sustainable economy in the process.

This report includes input from discussions that took place among the eight companies that participated in BSR’s Future of Stakeholder Engagement Collaborative Initiative from June 2015 to June 2016. 

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