Strategic Planning and Execution

Stakeholder Voice

Regularly invite and equally consider a diversity of stakeholder voices in the development of strategic business priorities and decision-making, prioritizing transparent and ongoing engagement of those most impacted by the decisions being made.


Companies regularly and transparently engage key stakeholder groups from across the value chain, including employees, labor unions, communities, civil society organizations, shareholders and others, with special consideration for those most impacted by business decision-making. These stakeholders are given a voice and a platform to regularly provide feedback and express concerns without fear of retribution. Companies transparently disclose key issues identified by stakeholder groups and how these concerns and impacts are considered in the ultimate determination of material and salient risks and opportunities, business priorities, strategic planning and decision-making.

Getting Started

Unlike the Critical Impact Actions, the actions within Strategic Planning and Execution do not have milestones leading to 2030. Each company already has the ability to begin taking or continue integrating these actions today.  Rather than taking iterative steps over the next 10 years, companies should prioritize strengthening their corporate systems and equipping themselves with the tools to address risk and capitalize on opportunity as soon as possible.

This section of the Ceres Roadmap 2030 identifies a list of resources to help companies further integrate sustainability into strategic planning and execution.

Corporate Purpose - A collection of resources from McKinsey & Company to help companies define their corporate purpose.

UN Guiding Principles: Salient Human Rights Issues - Part of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework that shows companies how to focus their human rights reporting on their salient human rights issues.

The Use of Scenario Analysis in Disclosure of Climate-Related Risks and Opportunities - A guide to assist organizations in using climate-related scenario analysis to support the development of disclosures consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

A4S Essential Guide to CapEx - A guide that shows how businesses can adapt their existing capital investment appraisal processes in a pragmatic and systematic manner to integrate social and environmental issues.

A4S Essential Guide to Finance Culture - This guide provides practical tools that will help finance teams develop a culture that embraces sustainable decision-making and supports the business in creating sustainable value.

Applying Enterprise Risk Management to Environmental, Social, and Governance-related Risks - This guidance is designed to help risk management and sustainability practitioners apply enterprise risk management (ERM) concepts and processes to ESG-related risks.

Companies in Action

Duke Energy works with stakeholders to identify the company's priority issue areas and to set business strategy. Now more than ever, companies across sectors are realizing the role of stakeholder voice can play in driving transformational change and collectively taking action. In 2019, Duke Energy collaborated with stakeholders to define a shift in its business strategy and update its sustainability goals. The company seeks to leverage these relationships to identify priority issues for the company and then use them to inform the company’s business strategy. Duke’s 2018 sustainability report highlights the company’s key stakeholders and the different issues relevant to these constituencies. To underscore the importance of the stakeholder voice and embed key stakeholder priorities into company decision-making, Duke appointed a senior vice president who has accountability for stakeholder strategy and sustainability and is responsible for engaging with business units, developing sustainability goals and integrating sustainability throughout the company. 

Johnson & Johnson used weekly employee sentiment surveys to inform the company's early response to the coronavirus. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson & Johnson surveyed 3,000 employees weekly to gauge the effectiveness of the company's response. Survey feedback was then incorporated into the company's actions, helping Johnson & Johnson improve its communications with employees around changing benefits policies and work from home best practices. Seeking out employee voices is one of the many ways in which Johnson & Johnson has valued employees throughout its pandemic response. Additional employee support practices implemented include the expansion of family caregiver leave to eight weeks, $1,000 bonus pay for eligible essential workers and the expansion of employee mental health services.

Best Buy uses employee feedback to inform store conversions and pay practices during COVID-19. Needing to adapt company operations in light of COVID-19, Best Buy made the decision to shift its in-person stores to curbside pickup. To make this rapid transformation possible, the company relied on the expertise of individual store managers, making it possible for some stores to convert to the new model within 24 hours. In addition to engaging employees on operational decision-making, Best Buy used employee feedback to inform the company’s new pay practices. After initially instituting short-term incentive pay, the company replaced this, based on employee feedback, with a 4% increase in hourly rates to provide more predictability in pay, raising the starting hourly rate at Best Buy to $15 per hour minimum.