This week I tackle the important question of stakeholder management. Having worked in resource management in the past, I know the challenges that are met when dealing with conflicting stakeholder views. An important thing I took out of these readings was the challenge of weighing out stakeholder issues, priorities, and assess different ways to reach consensus.
What I find hard about this weeks ‘problem’ is how much weight do we give to each stakeholder in the process of decision making. Generally speaking, technical problems such as resource management are complicated and extremely scientific. In a case where NGOs are fighting the public who are fighting the government who is fighting multinational companies, each have their point of view, but only a small number have the expertise to actually contribute positively to the decision making strategy. Furthermore, we are hit with the issue of Sustainable Development, where the triple bottom line is given equal weight; environment encompasses society and economy.
On the other hand, stakeholder involvement is important. If governments and companies were able to do what they wished, we would be living in a different environmental landscape. Consensus is another issue that bothers me about this weeks discussion: I do not believe consensus is the right answer in most cases.
In my view, I think companies, governments, and scientists need to do a bigger part in education the public on the technical aspects of the decision making process. It is essential for the public to understand the risks associated with any given project, environmentally and socially speaking. Scientists need to have a bigger say in the EIA project, paving the way for better monitoring and regulating. Tradeoffs need to be better understood so that companies are not just compromising a problem with a less effective solution.