One of the key objectives of the UNGPs is to serve as a framework for the stakeholders on whether business enterprises respect human rights.

Stakeholder engagement refers to the process of interaction and dialogue between the business enterprise and the stakeholders (right-holders or affected stakeholders) who have been affected by the business enterprise’s activities. The process provides the business enterprise with the opportunity to listen, understand, and respond to the stakeholders’ interests and concerns by relying on collaboration and clear communication.

Business enterprises interact with different stakeholder groups that can be exposed to risk in different ways or can experience risk differently (See Table 1).  Stakeholder engagement comprises of:

  1. When identifying and assessing a real or potential risk of human rights violations.
  2. When monitoring and communicating all activities that the enterprise is undertaking to mitigate and manage the adverse impact.
  3. In the grievance process and remediation.
Екип от специалисти, които са мотивирани да развиват темата за бизнеса и правата на човека в България

The UNGPs set out the requirement for companies to conduct a risk assessment of the salient human rights risks and to assess the impact on internal and external stakeholders having in mind the vulnerable groups. Vulnerable groups are representatives from disadvantaged groups and people excluded from society, this group is represented by women, children, indigenous peoples, people from minorities or ethnic groups, and people with disabilities. 

The requirements for business enterprises to engage with stakeholders:

  • Engaging with local community representatives and civil society experts who can directly link the company with community needs. 
  • Policy engagement and employee involvement, as well as consultation with relevant stakeholders in the process of writing policies and how they can impact them.
  • Requirement for conducting due diligence and for meaningful engagement with stakeholders.
  • Grievance mechanisms
  • Monitoring of the measures that the business enterprise has taken to address the risks of human rights violations.
  • Communication and transparency

Table 1

Examples of stakeholders Examples of rights holders
A Stakeholder is every individual who can affect or can be affected by the activities of the organisation. An affected stakeholder refers to an individual whose human rights have been affected by the company’s activities, products or services, and is also known as a right-holder. Also referred to as affected stakeholder refers who are individuals whose human rights have been affected by the business enterprise’s activities.
Internal: Employees of the business enterprise, employees in other business enterprises part of the value chain, customers/consumers of services, products, people involved in product testing, owners, suppliers and their employees. External: The community, the state and local government, non-governmental organizations, the environment, industries and multi-stakeholder initiatives. Rights holders: They represent a group of people who are closer to the enterprise’s activities, and they can also be representatives of vulnerable groups or those who are at risk of exclusion and marginalization. Examples: women, children, elderly people, people with disabilities, people from minority or ethnic groups, immigrants, and indigenous peoples.
Examples: A school located near a gas station; vaccine testing; transportation of goods and working conditions. Examples: Job interview in a factory and the possibility of joining a trade union; mining development and rights of the people on land and clean environment.
Meaningful engagement with stakeholders includes consultation and participation with stakeholders, including rights-holders as well as dialogue, communication and transparency between all parties involved.