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A Toolkit for Responsible Businesses
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What Can Stakeholders Do?

There are fruitful ways to collaborate and partner with stakeholders on almost every component of a social compliance system. Below are just a few examples:

  • Root causes
  • As noted earlier, tackling the root causes of labor abuse is fundamentally a governmental responsibility.  Working with governments to advocate for more resource allocation to these issues can yield lasting long-term benefits, and is likely to be more effective when several companies join together.

  • Code of conduct development
  • One of the tenets of good code of conduct development is incorporating input from a broad range of stakeholders.  You can seek input at the stage of initial code drafting, or maintain a standing group of contributors who provide ideas and feedback on the code on an ongoing basis.

  • Risk assessment
  • Understanding your risks of child labor, forced labor and other workplace issues is often difficult due to lack of empirical data.  Input from a broad range of knowledgeable people is important to get an accurate idea of risks, as well as recommendations for ways to mitigate them.

  • Training
  • A successful social compliance program must make a significant investment in training and capacity building.  Involvement of stakeholders can have a variety of benefits, for instance, ensuring that training materials are culturally appropriate.

  • Communication
  • Stakeholders can assist in improving communication channels; for example, trade union representatives can receive worker complaints at worksites where a union is present, while street vendors or health care providers who cater to workers at non-unionized facilities can also be a good source of information.

  • Auditing and independent monitoring/verification
  • Some community-based groups are trained to carry out monitoring and independent verification services; others can provide an independent “check” for internal or external monitors.

  • Remediation
  • Stakeholders can provide services for victims of labor rights violations or link companies to local resources to assist and remedy.

  • Public reporting
  • Stakeholders can be instrumental in reviewing or vetting reports and providing feedback.

In Their Own Words

“Stakeholder engagement can take many forms. It can be initiated by an organization or it can begin as a response by an organization to one or more stakeholders. It can take place in either informal or formal meetings and can follow a wide variety of formats such as individual meetings, conferences, workshops, public hearings, round-table discussions, advisory committees, regular and structured information and consultation procedures, collective bargaining and web-based forums. Stakeholder engagement should be interactive and is intended to provide opportunities for stakeholders’ views to be heard. Its essential feature is that it involves two-way communication.”

Source:  International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 26000, Guidance on Social Responsibility, 2010.