How Australian Companies Co-Create Shared Value
Globally, both business and philanthropic organizations alike have embraced the idea of creating shared value. This is the idea that businesses can increase their competitive advantage and long-term viability by addressing the greater needs of society. Organizations from Nestlé to the Rockefeller Foundation have found that shared value strategies do indeed create both commercial and social value.
In Australia, shared value has created much discussion and debate amongst sustainability and business practitioners and leaders from the non-for-profit sector. To contribute to the literature on creating shared value, Net Balance is studying eight Australian companies to identify common elements and insights into how companies are creating commercial and social value in practice in a mature market.
The participating companies represent different types of shared value and industries, including financial services, food and beverages, property development, professional services and manufacturing. Participating companies include: Lion, BT Financial, PwC, PwC Indigenous Consulting, Nestle Australia, Toyota Australia, Stockland and National Australia Bank.
We propose that at the core of a company’s ability to create shared value are its people; their sense of purpose, learning and creativity are the foundations for a culture of innovation. The pace at which a company can identify social issues and produce innovative solutions will provide true competitive advantage.
Through our research we have observed companies thinking about shared value creation in this way. Hence we believe there are six key mutually reinforcing foundations which underpin an organisation’s ability to create innovative solutions that address both business and social needs and create value for the long term:
We are seeking feedback on our research and these initial insights. This feedback will help us finalise a Green Paper – The potential for Creating Shared Value in Australia: How Australian companies co-create long-term commercial and social value – which will be released in early 2014.
Melinda Leth is a senior associate at Net Balance, a member of the Shared Value Initiative consulting affiliate network.