In 1998, IFC published its first Good Practice Manual, Doing Better Business through Effective Consultation and Disclosure. Since then, our continued experiences in working with our clients in emerging markets have significantly advanced our thinking about the centrality of stakeholder engagement to all other aspects of environmental and social performance. We are not alone in this shift. The risks associated with poor stakeholder relations – and the opportunities provided by constructive ones – are now better understood by the private sector and financial investors alike. Companies that have grasped the importance of actively developing and sustaining relationships with affected communities and other stakeholders throughout the life of their project, and not simply during the initial feasibility and assessment phase, are reaping the benefits of improved risk management and better outcomes on the ground. As approaches to consultation and disclosure change from a shortterm means of meeting regulatory and lender requirements, to a longer-term, more strategic channel for relationship-building, risk mitigation, and new business identification, new approaches and forms of engagement are evolving.
As part of IFC’s ongoing commitment to capture and share global knowledge and good practice with our clients and wider audiences, we have prepared this new and updated reference, Stakeholder Engagement: A Good Practice Handbook for Companies Doing Business in Emerging Markets. In doing so, we have drawn on IFC’s own learning and experiences of the past nine years, as well as the current thinking and practices of our client companies and other institutions. This handbook aims to provide the reader with the good practice “essentials” for managing stakeholder relationships in a dynamic context, where unexpected events can and do occur, and facts on the ground change.