As Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “We missed the issue of obesity and the value of healthy and nutritional food. We were behind, while Nestlé was riding that wave. Not being in tune with society, with the benefit of hindsight, can cost you dearly.” As a result, organizations are looking for new effective ways to engage with their prime stakeholders.
Since the introduction of the materiality assessment as part of the GRI G4 reporting guidelines, there is a growing consensus that the social and environmental context should be structurally monitored. Trend research and industry standards based on big data are interesting sources that provide a usable set of materialities. However frontrunner companies are increasingly looking for specific insights from their most valued stakeholders. From the perspective that “not all stakeholders are created equal”, zooming in on specific issues with key stakeholders helps to gain knowledge on which topics to focus, and how to address them.
The increasing acknowledgement of the limitations of a global materiality assessment has many companies searching for the regional specificity of issues within their overall framework. Reporting standards such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index recognize this challenge and assess how companies strike a balance between the top-down corporate stakeholder engagement policy and how it is implemented at a local level.
In collaboration with customer insights agency H3roes,Finch & Beak offers a unique 24-hour concept to get an in-depth understanding of your key stakeholders “needs and fears”.
A brief outline of the program:
- Day 1: The pressure cooker starts at lunch with an internal workshop analyzing data at hand and preparing the most relevant topics for the stakeholder interview.
- At night, two stakeholder sessions take place behind a mirror located at the company, witnessed by the internal team and followed by a short internal debrief on the most striking outcomes.
- Day 2: The next morning, all outcomes are being analyzed and clustered based on the nature and relevance of the topics in an internal workshop. Based on the analysis, the team shapes an activity plan including a detailed 100-days action plan.
- Simultaneously, the recordings of the sessions are processed into an engaging two minutes video clip highlighting the most remarkable quotes and insights that can be used to involve key players within the company.
- The pressure cooker concludes before lunch time.
For companies that embark for the first time on a materiality assessment journey, the 24-hour approach combined with the “big data analysis” is an effective way to bring the concept of materialies alive. The 24-hour stakeholder pressure cooker approach embodies a restrained method of tailoring a global materiality framework to local conditions. It empowers operating companies to engage with their key stakeholders, building on the global framework and at delivering a concrete activity plan the same time.
To learn more about how the 24-hour stakeholder pressure cooker could work for your company, please contact Josée van der Hoek, founding partner, at +31 6 28 02 18 80 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: LEF Session by Finch & Beak