Summary Report: Forum on Engaging the Community

Summary Report: Forum on Engaging the Community

This report summarizes key lessons from NBS's community engagement forum, which brought together representatives from business, government, and academia.
NBS July 20, 2011
Summary Report
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Effective community engagement results in measurable benefits, including cost savings, enhanced reputation, and innovation.

On February 29, 2008, NBS held a forum to explore the concept and practice community engagement further. The audience represented a diversity of interests: 50 per cent of participants were managers and consultants from various industries; 50 per cent came from academia, government, and non-governmental organizations.

This report provides summary of key learnings from the forum. It builds on the systematic review of research on community engagement commissioned by NBS.

The Future of Community Engagement

Summary, Learnings, and Next Steps

How do you acquire the benefits of social trust and innovation?

Joint solutions create better outcomes. Firms need to start early and give stakeholders ownership over the engagement process. Firms also need to understand the communities with which they engage. 'Mental modelling’ is one way in which EPCOR learns the values of the communities in which they wish to do business.

How do you measure the benefits of social trust and innovation?

There are no easy answers. Community and stakeholder engagement is unique to each company, industry, community, and situation. Processes and best practices can be developed, but these must be flexible enough to deal with the nuances of each engagement process. But we learned today that the universal values of honesty, trust, respect and transparency are critical for healthy engagement leading to positive collaboration and outcomes.

Forum Highlights

Stakeholder Landscape: Context, Trends, and Pressure Points

Dr. Sandra Waddock, Professor, Boston College

Conflicts & Crises: Business Responses to Stakeholder Conflicts

Dr. Charlene Zietsma, Assistant Professor, Ivey Business School

Engaging Stakeholders: Causes of Conflict and Crises

Ms. Denise Carpenter, Senior Vice President, Public and Government Affairs, EPCOR Utilities Inc.

Consultation and Communication

Mr. David Meads, Consultation and Community Affairs Manager, Mackenzie Gas Project

CSR Round Tables: A Pyrrhic Victory

Mr. Pierre Gratton, Vice President, Sustainable Development, Mining Association of Canada

Collaboration – The New Model: Corporate-Cause Collaboration

Ms. Jocelyne Daw, Vice-President, Marketing & Social Engagement, Imagine Canada

Additional Resources

Research Insight

While most organizations approach community engagement in a 'transactional' way, the greatest value and competitive advantage is derived from more relational...

Tom Ewart
Executive Report

A systematic approach to stakeholder engagement, like the one outlined in this guide, can bring genuine business benefits.