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( Article Type: Explanation )

The term ‘stakeholder’ describes any person or organisation that may affect, or be affected by, a company or industrial process. They are also sometimes called ‘Interested and Affected Parties’. Modern companies are trying to identify all the stakeholders affected by their operations so that they can communicate with them and best meet their needs and concerns. Different stakeholders would have different concerns. For example, the main concern of a company shareholder would be to see the company making a profit for him whereas the neighbours to the factory are more concerned about the noise, pollution or aesthetics of the factory. It is important for companies to satisfy their stakeholders’ concerns as far as possible and to communicate regularly with them. Current environmental legislation in South Africa requires companies to communicate with stakeholders if they are going to develop or change their activities.