marine stewardship council

Plenty more fish in the sea?

Why should environmentalists (in all our various guises) get into stakeholder engagement? Sometimes the problems are just too complex to be solved by one party acting alone.

If you can bring people together in an atmosphere of dialogue (a 'conversation with a center, not sides' as William Isaacs calls it), then the chances of finding that sweet spot where everyone's interests coincide is so much higher.

Now this is a bit like an optical illusion even in principle - the concept slips in and out of focus.  It's even harder in practice.  There are, though, some institutions and processes that get close, and have resulted in some interesting collaborative work.

Take, for example, the Marine Stewardship Council.  It's built on the idea that lots of different people have an interest in the sustainability of fish stocks, even if those interests are driven by different motivations.  It's an example of sustainable development happening because of people working together.

There's more about this in my article for the environmentalist, here (pdf).