Project Overview

Co-produced by Rever, Uniethos and Utopies, Critical Friends International is an online resource center dedicated to mapping and tracking the diversity of corporate stakeholder engagement practices, in all their traditional but also in their most innovative forms.
It builds on “Critical Friends”, a report that Utopies co-produced in 2007 (with AccountAbility) on stakeholder panels. Since then, companies worldwide have continued to use panels and to explore the many possibilities of stakeholder engagement in order to help them understand and respond to emerging social and environmental issues, as well as to increase the credibility and the pace of their sustainability approach. This approach has spread in various countries, including South American ones like Brazil (for which there is a specific focus on this platform, with dedicated case studies and context paper).
In the meantime, certification bodies, in their efforts to standardize corporate responsibility with the launch of ISO 26000 in 2010, have confirmed the importance of stakeholder engagement in defining and implementing a sustainability business strategy. Today, the most advanced companies explicitly try to build a stronger connection between engagement and strategy development, with particular efforts to involve stakeholders in innovation or to bridge the gap between stakeholder engagement and corporate governance.
On this website you may find context papers and background information on stakeholder engagement, international case studies of best practice, downloadable reports and online tools to assess and reinforce your own approach… Please explore the contents and give us your feedback to suggest new case studies, indicate a report that we should mention or help us improve the contents and user-friendliness of the website.

CRITICAL FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL Platform launch event at 2012 ethos conference* 

Opening by Paulo Itacarambi, Ethos Institute's executive director. 
Introduction of the Critical Friends International content by Cyrille Bellier, Rever's executive director. 


Elisabeth Laville, founder and president of Utopies, highlights the importance of stakeholder engagement on the world stage. 


Reginaldo Magalhães, Uniethos' executive manager, gets on stage Elisabeth Laville (Utopies), Denise Nogueira (Itaú), Andreza Araújo (PepsiCo), Luciana Alvarez (AES Brasil) and Wandreza Ferreira (Nextel) to begin the debate. 


Denise Nogueira, sustainability manager from Itaú Unibanco.
Andreza Araújo, sustainability manager from PepsiCo SACCAF.
Luciana Alvarez, sustainability manager from AES Brasil. 


Wandreza Ferreira, social responsability manager from Nextel. 
wandrezanextel2* Images are courtesy of Ethos Institute.