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Dialogue is about people: the people you work with, as in employees or suppliers, or communities surrounding business operations or civil society organisations working with communities, or public authorities. Engaging with the stakeholders that are relevant in the specific country you operate in is important for your business. You might know some of them, but in general, I like to start by mapping them, so that you are sure not to leave any stakeholders out of the process, who may make claims or need to be included later on in the process, thus restarting the discussions. This is far from ideal, and again a loss of time. It is better to map all stakeholders your business should be talking to from the start.

So, once you know who they are, you need to convince them to sit at the table with you. You can group them or talk to them individually, but the message has to be consistent, though the language should be tailored to the specific stakeholder you are interacting with. You can mention specific vulnerable groups of stakeholders in your human rights policy too, see my service on Policy Gap Analysis. Stakeholders engagement could also be used to inform research on the country or sector-specific human rights risks for your business. If you want to know how you are welcome to check out my Research service.


Stakeholders engagement is often a part of the human rights impact assessment, as the whole point of the assessment is to have hands-on interaction with the people most affected by the business operations, be it your employees or your contractors’ employees or communities. Monitoring your human rights impact should be an ongoing activity, so it is never too late to start! If you are curious to learn more, please check out my service Human Rights Impact Assessments

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Dialogue: that’s what it is all about. We can see it in any relations, without engaging with others in effective communication, good efforts can turn into misunderstandings and ruin relationships. The same goes for a business that does not properly engage with its surroundings. It is not unusual to see extractive operations blocked by local communities. Significant amounts of money are lost and then the emergency mood is on to try to fix a problem that probably would have not been there had the appropriate, time, resources and communication been put in place from the beginning. When things go wrong, doing things right from the start does not seem like such a loss of time and resources anymore.

As in other aspects of life, if you want to know your risks, you need to talk to people. The same goes if you want to know your human rights risks. People are at the centre of the human rights due diligence process.