Dawn Rittenhouse, Director of Sustainability for the DuPont Company, has a wealth of experience working with environmental organizations and other stakeholder groups. She’s been with the company since the 80’s and, in 1997, began helping DuPont businesses to integrate sustainability into their strategies.
Like many corporations, DuPont’s first major foray into formally engaging with NGOs was driven by crisis, one after the another. In the beginning, the company’s aim was to come to terms with the environmental campaigners to resolve the challenge du jour and get out of the headlines. Over time, as they built trusting relationships, DuPont’s leadership came to see these organizations as partners who could help them get ahead of potential issues and even help to grow the business.
For example, Dupont had this idea to create a salmon aquaculture food based on a GMO process that would reduce pressure on wild fish populations. Before investing in the R&D, they ran the idea by several environmental and conservation organizations and scientists. DuPont wanted to understand what steps it needed to take to make the idea environmentally friendly on all fronts. The business sought input from these outside experts throughout the product development process. By the time DuPont commercialized the concept, it had very strong NGO support.
I asked Dawn to share her top tips for companies effectively engaging with stakeholders:
If you want to hear more from Dawn on ways to get the most value out of your stakeholder engagement, join us Aug 7, 12-1 PM for a free webinar.