Increasingly, major national and transnational companies have recognized that the complex challenges they face in understanding and managing their social impacts often requires them to engage with stakeholders formerly deemed external to the needs of corporate governance. One of the ways in which they are doing so is through the appointment of stakeholder panels comprised of experts from civil society, academic and other organizations, including, at times, some of their public critics. Some of these panels are ad hoc, put in place on a temporary basis for a particular issue or process. Others are standing panels mandated to advise the Board or management of the company on social (and often environmental) issues.
In March 2009, two graduating HKS students undertook an assessment for CSRI of the use by companies of ad hoc, issue-specific stakeholder panels, with in-depth case studies of panels used by Newmont Mining and by Cerrejon Coal. The findings were set out in a report to CSRI.
The Mechanics of Accountability: Ad Hoc Time-Specific Stakeholder Panels