Ten years ago, top executives of three distinct Mitsubishi companies, the targets of a boycott by Rainforest Action Network, sat down with RAN’s leaders and hammered out an agreement that drove more sustainable forestry practices at 400 companies, created a new system for measuring corporate environmental and social impacts, and produced a template for negotiated corporate/NGO settlements, Ethical Corporation reports.
Here are the article’s top ten lessons for people involved in such negotiations today:
#1: It is more effective to focus on the problem, rather than the fairness of the process.
#2: In your first meeting, expect each other to express pent-up frustrations.
#3: Make an inventory of your assets and liabilities.
#4: If direct engagement is not acceptable at first, there are many ways to engage indirectly and informally.
#5: Engagement often veers between extremes of optimism and pessimism, before taking a realistic course.
#6: Do not insist on forcing together incompatible corporate partners.
#7: Once you have demonised the other side, you may have trouble rallying your supporters around an agreement.
#8: Look for, and be aware of, how sustainability initiatives can save money, drive needed change, and give competitive advantage.
#9: Stakeholder agreements are often more effective and adaptive than laws and regulations.
#10: Be sure to embed commitment to agreements as deeply within the company as possible.