Top 10 Stakeholder - Feature

Top 10 Stakeholder Engagement Trends of 2018 – New Report from Future 500

Latest report reveals how global businesses can—and must—take the lead on environmental and social issues because the future of sustainability is now in the hands of worldwide brands, their consumers, and the NGOs holding them accountable.

Global stakeholder engagement nonprofit Future 500 explores the evolving risks + opportunities of corporate stewardship in its latest report, Top 10 Stakeholder Engagement Trends of 2018. The report identifies 10 key drivers shaping modern business—including fleet electrification, marine plastic pollution, environmental justice, and predictions for the looming clash between regulators and Big Tech. Each trend comes with suggested actions for corporations to respond to threats and position themselves as industry leaders.

“At the core of our mission is to cultivate the future leaders of sustainable business,” said Future 500 CEO Bill Shireman. “2018 is particularly interesting for us. It’s a make-or-break year for corporate stewardship. Brands can be assured that their stakeholders will hold them to account on any and all commitments to leadership.”

This is the seventh report in Future 500’s annual Stakeholder Engagement Trends series. Each year, the nonprofit compiles a broad set of industry data along with firsthand feedback from its network of CEOs, activist leaders, investment experts and major funders. With a unique birdseye industry view, the team ties together environmental, economic, and social trends to make keen predictions for the coming year and beyond.

In 2017, Future 500 saw growing global unity around ocean pollution, just transition and freshwater conservation, while greater engagement on the local and state level empowered social justice groups and vocal brand advocacy. Many of these predictions proved accurate as leaders emerged to fill the political stewardship vacuum—held accountable by increasingly sophisticated stakeholder campaigns.

This year’s report continues along this trajectory to its real-world outcomes, exploring advancements in renewable energy, data technology and campaign tactics in an evolving stakeholder landscape.

Shireman expressed optimism for a global community moving forward on COP21 and Sustainable Development Goals. “If we can take something away from our political gridlock, it’s that there is much more to unite us than divide on sustainability issues.”

“The challenge, and the key measure for success in the coming year, is how we convert this knowledge into lasting, real-world impact.”

The report’s top insights include:

• Corporations modernize with all-electric fleets _implications for sustainable business, as well as the impact on utilities + traditional fuel producers

• NGOs and advocacy groups are forming an unlikely alliance with major investors like Blackrock, becoming the new corporate regulators

• Environmental justice goes mainstream, putting stricter micro level demands on corporate sustainability.

• Global standards from COP21 and the UN s Sustainable Development Goals are internalized on state, local and corporate levels now, — these groups must measure real world operations against these goals.

The report is available to download here –


About Future 500
Future 500 is a global nonprofit facilitating cross-sector stakeholder engagement—a collaborative process for corporations, investors and advocates to achieve systemic environmental solutions. Since 1995, Future 500 is dedicated to uniting diverse stakeholders around building a sustainable future. We believe true change is the result of removing institutional barriers, fostering innovative ideas, and establishing common ground between uncommon allies. 

Mary Ann McDonnell, Future 500 –


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