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“Most people would agree that it is important for organizations – and those who invest in them – to listen to the voices of those affected by their activities. However, not many are doing this consistently or comprehensively enough. Good stakeholder engagement practice remains surprisingly rare. Many investors and organizations believe stakeholder engagement would take too much time and resources to be worthwhile. Some take a narrow view of who their stakeholders are and engage only with intended beneficiaries or end-users, ignoring other affected groups. And there are many who would like to do it, but don’t know where to start. But empirical evidence from the impact investing community shows that there is a strong cost/benefit case for stakeholder engagement. In fact, it is becoming increasingly central to impact and risk management, and an increasingly rich source of innovation. How can we really understand and be accountable for the effects of an investment/organizations’ activities, without understanding the experience of those affected by it? From the many conversations we have had on this subject in 2016 and 2017, it is clear that stakeholders in the impact investing community – and, increasingly, in traditional investment sectors and industries – want and need some guidance on appropriate (practical, credible/robust, low-cost, responsible and ethical) ways to incorporate the voices of affected stakeholders into their impact investments or organizational activities; and, importantly, on how they should respond to these voices. This document is a collaborative effort by several individuals and organizations, who came together to help provide guidance on how and where stakeholder engagement practice should evolve. It suggests some of the many ways in which the voices of all affected stakeholders can be gathered – and then used to draw lessons, inform decisions, and develop strong relationships with those affected. This document references existing tools, resources, and examples of practice as of 2017 about engaging all affected stakeholders, bringing them all together into one document.”

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