Stakeholder dialogue is an important mechanism for companies to assess and improve their human rights impact in local communities. To this end, multi-stakeholder panels have become popular in many business sectors. Such panels often provide commentary or advice to which the company has committed to respond. This good practice note is not intended to be comprehensive, but endeavors to touch the surface on some basic good practices with respect to such panels.
This good practice note focuses on panels which provide advice and external perspectives on the businesses’ corporate social responsibility strategy including human rights impacting local communities. Its findings are based on a number of interviews with business representatives from major global companies, panel representatives, and experts on stakeholder dialogue. It aims to identify advantages and pitfalls, and some basic good practices for companies when engaging such a panel. Two types of panels are reviewed here:
- Global panels are panels constituted at the global level, often with international stakeholders (e.g. international experts, trade unions, and NGOs) addressing issues impacting communities.
- Local panels are panels on the local level specifically engaging local stakeholders.
While the distinctions are important and substantial, this note outlines commonalities among currently operating panels aiming to address human rights in local communities.