Shared value delivers social and economic benefits for Australia: new survey of ASX 100 reveals
A growing number of Australian companies pursuing shared value strategies, or strategies with similar principles, are seeing both social and economic benefits as well as positive brand associations, according to findings from the 2015 ‘State of Shared Value in Australia’ survey released today.
The survey, which provides a new set of local data on shared value activity across ASX 100 companies, also found that many Australian companies are already pursuing initiatives that deliver economic, social and environmental outcomes, but failing to label them as ‘shared value’, due to internal perception issues and the difficulty of measuring impact.
The Shared Value Project, which conducted the survey in partnership with Social Ventures Australia, will draw on the findings as a roadmap to encourage more ASX 100 companies to adopt shared value as a business strategy.
Peter Yates AM, Chair of the Shared Value Project, said the survey highlights that Australian companies are embracing the shared value approach and recognising that achieving both social impact and business returns are not mutually exclusive.
“Shared value is reshaping the traditional corporate response to societal issues, by connecting business risks and challenges, social needs and resource pressures, and corporate assets and expertise to deliver an improved profit formula as well as measurable social value,” he said.
“Australia’s economy is in a state of significant change. How business can assist in solving our society’s problems is also undergoing change. The shared value approach is one that offers strategic benefits including, in some cases we have observed, specific competitive advantages. This survey explores how local Australian businesses are positioning themselves to leverage these opportunities,” said Mr Yates.
The survey also highlighted that it’s not just corporations who have a role to play in creating shared value. Government and not-for-profits also need to consider what they can do to advance shared value strategies to address social disadvantage, an important conversation in advancing the movement.
With shared value still in its infancy in Australia, it’s critical that all players continue to share their experiences and communicate with each other in order to embed the approach in more companies and optimise the potential impact.
Mark Kramer, co-author of the original ‘Creating Shared Value’ article (Harvard Business Review, 2011), highlighted the importance of investigating how this global movement is progressing locally in Australia.
“Through this first-ever survey, the Shared Value Project has done a terrific service in setting the baseline for shared value activities among leading companies in Australia. As companies around the world increasingly embrace shared value, it is essential to document the social and business benefits that accrue through studies like this in order to demonstrate the value and difference of this approach from conventional CSR and philanthropy,” he said.
“We are deeply impressed by the enthusiasm for shared value in Australia and, although this report attests to its developing status, we look forward to the continued expansion of this concept through the pioneering efforts of the Shared Value Project staff and members,” said Mr Kramer.
Rob Koczkar, CEO of Social Ventures Australia, said the survey provides new guidance for consulting firms and advisory groups on how to further engage corporate companies with social issues.
“Shared value is a new frontier for corporate engagement in social issues. We look forward to working with more Australian based companies, and partners across the sectors, to explore new opportunities for shared value creation,” said Mr Koczkar.
The 2015 ‘State of Shared Value in Australia’ survey report was publically released on Friday 14 August with a panel discussion in Sydney hosted by NAB with media partner AFR BOSS.