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In conversation with . . . James McHugh, Apricot Consulting Head of Corporate Social Impact

July 21, 2021

As one of the Shared Value Project’s newest members, we sat down with James of Apricot Consulting to learn more about their organisation and how shared value is influencing their work.

Tell us about your organisation . . .

Apricot is a global consulting firm that builds the health of leaders, teams, organisations and the broader community.

We’re Apricot Consulting, Australia’s leading organisational health consulting firm. We have a grand purpose, and it is to make the world a better place.

We were established in 2003, when our founder identified the need for organisations to focus more intentionally on the human side of business. This belief has been reaffirmed by our years of experience in leadership training, executive coaching, culture change, change management, corporate social responsibility programs, and digital transformation.

Our unique methodology and data-driven toolkits – based on seven key areas of health – underpin and integrate all our services to ensure that businesses achieve an improvement in social and commercial outcomes.

Describe how you first came across shared value?

Shared value as a concept first came to our attention at a time when we as an organisation were engaged in a joint venture that included a social enterprise, two corporate clients and a university based in Melbourne. We were engaged to help set up and manage an innovative partnership that could generate social value whilst returning a commercial ROI for all members in the joint venture. Shared value became a lens through which we saw the possibility of developing this program into something that had longevity in terms of sustainable and scalable social impact.

During the course of this two-year program, we developed an end-to-end delivery model using shared value that has been further refined through different applications in different industry spaces.

How is your company engaging with or practising shared value, and how this has impacted your business?

We have taken the above model – which we call our ‘Corporate Social Impact Compass’ – and used it to help develop the social procurement strategies of major construction infrastructure companies as well as using the model to deliver better social procurement outcomes through specific construction projects.

The application of shared value in social procurement has boundless potential as corporates, the social enterprise sector and government bodies look for innovative strategies to create meaningful social value.

For shared value to move to the next level, we believe this will require the engagement of multiple stakeholders across multiple sectors. As a consulting firm, we like to think we play an important role in helping corporates to see the business case, create the strategy, manage the stakeholders and measure the social and commercial value that’s generated throughout the lifecycle of a shared value social procurement project.

You can read more about our shared value programs here.

In a sentence, why do you believe shared value is important today?

Today, more so than ever, there is greater appreciation that we need to collaborate in order to solve society’s biggest challenges. Creating shared value provides a model for business, government and community to do so in a meaningful and sustainable way.