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Choosing to act, not react

March 3, 2020

Imagine a world where social, environmental and economic success could be achieved collectively. Where efforts in one area meant increased resilience and prosperity in another. Where social issues were perceived as business opportunities which could open up new markets, products and a stronger workforce.

We, in the shared value community, know this is possible. That in supportive regulatory conditions, and with expert insight into the issues that intersect with its core strategy, business has the capacity to transport our world from fragility to security – leveraging its immense resources, influence and innovative capabilities to solve social issues profitably.

The new decade has brought some unprecedented challenges. Climate change has transitioned from a ‘distant threat’ to a daily reality; amplifying socio-economic problems around housing, financial exclusion and mental ill-health.

The coronavirus, now affecting 60 countries and almost 90,000 people, has underlined our economic reliance on China; with the nation’s operational lockdown and travel bans expected to cost the economy billions. Last week, BlackRock founder Larry Fink predicted its impacts would prompt a review of supply chains at every company across the globe.

The world is watching to see how we might turn these regional shocks into an opportunity for co-ordinated leadership and action. How we might front-foot social progress, to adopt a mindset of resilience over repair.

Connecting imagination to action

Harnessing our imaginations is an important first step. If we believe we can achieve the change needed, this fuels expectation, which fuels innovation and accountability. Goal-setting is fundamentally important for the same reasons.

Then US President, John F Kennedy’s inspirational speech about launching man to the moon in 1961 – something many thought we may never achieve – is a good example of this in action. Economist Marianna Mazucat has since suggested that we apply this ‘moonshot approach’ to our most audacious goal today – combatting climate change.

In her words: Imagine if the world were to bring the same ambition to the climate crisis as we did to the moon landing. “Imagine having leaders who would proudly declare: ‘We choose [to fight climate change] in this decade; not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win’.”

An opportunity to lead

The region’s pre-eminent 2020 Shared Value Summit Asia Pacific will encourage attendees to exercise the same imagination and commitment to action, as we navigate our way towards a more sustainable future. It will convene more than 200 international business leaders, innovators, visionaries and entrepreneurs around the theme The Climate for Change, to explore how we take the solutions we have to scale.

The topics covered will include business resilience, the circular economy, modern leadership, the evolving workforce and how business can use technological advancements constructively.

We hope you will join us in prioritising this important conversation on June 10-11 at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne. Early-bird tickets can be purchased here.