Creating Shared Value - an ethos not just a project

From the Commissioner
SV Summit APAC conference speakers

It was a privilege to attend the 2018 Shared Value Summit Asia Pacific (SV Summit APAC) in Sydney last week with 180 corporate, government and community leaders from Australia and abroad. SV Summit APAC speakers and panellists included IAG managing director and CEO Peter Harmer, DFAT Assistant Secretary, Development Economics, Private Sector and Agriculture Branch, Beth Delaney, FSG Chairman Mark Kramer and IAG chairman Elizabeth Bryan. I was there to accelerate my learning around shared value as a business strategy for helping to solve social and environmental challenges which are often considered the exclusive domain of government and NFPs to address. 

Shared Value is an enabling framework pioneered by Mark Kramer, Michael Porter and colleagues at Harvard Business School. Shared Value speaks the language of business and has the potential to enable the private sector to deliver better outcomes for the community and environment, at scale, in a way governments and NFPs arguably can’t.

Shared Value is much more than a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. It is a business strategy, perhaps even a movement, finding its way into the boardrooms of companies that are seeking to integrate a CSR ethos into the fabric of their organisations – end to end – from strategy and culture to products and services. 

This enabling framework essentially moves the dial from companies investing in CSR at a program level, treated as a cost item on the P&L, to adopting Shared Value as a business strategy – delivering against the purpose, solving social and environmental challenges as core business and contributing to the bottom line. For example, we heard from IAG that investment in the emergency management sector and mitigation strategies is a priority shared value area.

During the conference, I had the opportunity to introduce many business leaders to Shared Value opportunities in Victoria such as Biodiversity 2037. Shared Value is a real opportunity to leverage non-government investment to implement this groundbreaking 20-year plan. It also ties in with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 17, that highlights the importance of partnerships in reaching these goals. 

When asked about the potential for Shared Value to be exploited as a PR exercise Elizabeth Bryan’s response was decisive:

Shared Value needs to carry genuineness, authenticity, passion and commitment – any cynical attempt to implement would be a disaster.

Elizabeth Bryan, Chairman, IAG

Guided by the enlightened leadership of the Shared Value Project Chairman Peter Yates, very talented CEO of the Shared Value Project Helen Steel, dedicated Board and Advisory Board members with the critical support of key sponsors, this year’s summit was a fantastic learning experience. Thank you and well done to all involved.

Read more about the summit from the Pro Bono Australia report here.