This month we are pleased to announce Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) as the newest member of the Shared Value Project. ABV builds and delivers development projects which can deliver shared value for donors and communities, with implementation by experienced business-skilled volunteers. Their focus is on strengthening the private sector, with a vision of alleviating poverty through inclusive economic growth.
Many of the projects ABV designs have a focus on delivering shared value – for example with a mine in a developing country that draws supplies from the local community is going to be both more efficient and more beneficial to the local community through this way of thinking and ‘local cluster development’- recognising strong local small businesses bring more inclusive growth to the community, and the mine will be supplied more cost-effectively – doing so will also build acceptance and trust with the community. ABV’s volunteers are business professionals and so ABV has the expertise to work with both the company and local suppliers to develop the market and the business acumen of local suppliers to be able to meet company requirements.
One of ABV’s well known initiatives is the Corporate Service Corps with IBM. IBM launched the CSC program in 2008 as ‘a corporate version of the Peace Corps’. This is the flagship international corporate volunteering/pro bono program in the world seeing 500 IBM employees placed on pro-bono projects in emerging markets each year. Participants spend four weeks in groups of 12 helping solve economic and social problems in their selected community. To ensure their projects achieve community impact IBM works with international development partners. ABV is one of four global partners and has delivered the CSC program since its inception. IBM sees the CSC program as having a ‘triple benefit’. Communities have their problems solved, with measurable impact on core economic concerns; whilst IBMers receive training and development to become 21st Century leaders with the skills and talent to provide IBM with a competitive edge in the marketplace and develop new market segments.
We look forward to working with Australian Business Volunteers as part of our member network, continuing to build shared value opportunities in this area, and encouraging further engagement by Australasian organisations in international markets.