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Highlights from the 2017 Shared Value Leadership Summit in New York

May 18, 2017

The Shared Value Project team led a delegation from Australia and Hong Kong to attend the 2017 Shared Value Leadership Summit in New York last week. The Summit is the major annual shared value event globally held by the Shared Value Initiative. Read our highlights from the week.

Shared Value Initiative Partner Knowledge Exchange

The Summit week kicked off with the Shared Value Initiative Partner Knowledge Exchange, a private a session attended by the Shared Value Project team and our members with other partners and supporters of the Shared Value Initiative to explore advanced thinking around shared value and the latest developments from those leading the way around the world.

  • Justin Bakule, Executive Director of the Shared Value Initiative opened the session and shared one of his highlights from the past year – his visit to Australia to work with NAB and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and participating in the Shared Value Government Forum, recognising how advanced Australia is around government engagement and the leadership role that DFAT and The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs is taking to which a video message from the Foreign Minister was shared with participants.

  • The group engaged in a Socratic-style learning session on ‘The Investor’s Role in Advancing (Or Impeding?) Shared Value’ with George Serafeim, Jakursi Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Prof Serafeim highlighted the staggering statistic that 1% of publicly listed companies hold 50% of the worlds stock market capitalisation – recognising that we can create huge impact if strategic coalitions are formed by these top companies.
  • Prof Serafeim also highlighted the importance of aligning time horizons with your stakeholders, particularly investors – companies get the investors they deserve, if you have long term corporate mindset then you will acquire a long term investor base.
  • Nicole Trimble who is leading the Impact Hiring Initiative for FSG presented on ‘Impact Hiring’, and how the initiative is bringing together HR representatives from leading companies such as Walmart, McDonald’s, Nordstrom, and T-Mobile to innovate around best practices in hiring, retention, and advancement of Opportunity Youth and other populations facing barriers to employment is a shared value opportunity. This theme around the workforce and employment was a continuous thread throughout the week of the Summit, particularly around issues such as racial diversity and health.


Summit Day 1 – Tuesday 9 May

  • Shared value champion Alan Murray, Chief Content Officer of Time Inc and Editor in Chief of Fortune,led the first session of the day interviewing Prof Michael Porter, who discussed the changing nature of business and corporations in the digital world. Prof Porter said that in the past 100 year we have been making people better machines, but now as machines take on more of the work, we can go back to making people better people.
  • “Social problems are internalities on business not externalities” – Prof Michael Porter
  • Prof Porter talked with Paul Bulcke, Chairman of Nestlé, a long-time leader in shared value who drew on the central idea that there is no trade off between social and economic performance, and that companies leading in this space often have a collective shared purpose in their organisation’s DNA.

  • We witnessed the beauty of technology with a live stream interview with Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel in Italy who talked with Mark Kramer on ‘The Future of Energy’, and how Enel has been successfully evolving the business to a new approach into the entire value chain with Enel Green Power, renewable energy at scale. Francesco said that “sustainability is what drives innovation” at Enel, and that one of the ways they foster this is with an online portal where the public and staff can submit ideas to the company for review in 30 days or less.

  • “Every year we are trashing 58 billion paper cups” – During the first Storyteller session Dagny Tucker, Co-Founder and CEO of Vessel, made us reconsider our disposable cup consumption and presented how Vessel are redefining the status quo of ‘to go’ with the ‘CitiBike’ of reusable mugs. Vessel saw a market opportunity to create a new ecosystem around cities to reduce consumption and the negative environmental impact around disposable cups – not to mention keeping brands out of the trash.
  • “You’re always going to need people” – Mark Kramer moderated a dynamic panel session on Social Impact Hiring with Melody Barnes – former Assistant to President Obama and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and leaders from Walmart and The Gap. The panel discussed the importance of investing in your workforce particularly with young employees in order to attract and retain a productive workforce. Walmart and The Gap emphasised the power of their workforces given the scale and reach of their companies and the connection to their employees and customers’ communities – Walmart for example has 1.5 million employees + 600,000 people working internationally, and 90 percent of the U.S population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, therefore if any event or activity that happens in a community affects the business. 

  • Joanne Craigie, Assistant Director of the Private Sector Development Section at DFAT and a member of our Australian delegation, presented at the session on ‘Raising the Stakes for Public Sector Investment in Shared Value’, sharing DFAT’s work around shared value and the Business Partnerships Platform, joined by representatives from the International Finance Corporation, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. 
  • Alan Murray from Time Inc and Rebecca Blumenstein, Deputy Managing Editor of The New York Times, partook in an engaging timely discussion on ‘The Intersection of Media, Business and Politics’, recognising the need to put pressure on forums like Facebook to filter real and fake news, and that the public are realising that you do need to pay for quality news – following the election both The New York Times and Washington Post have hit their subscription targets well in advance. Alan and Rebecca also recognised business coverage as a very central focus of the media at present given we have a businessman in the White House, both Alan and Rebecca are seeing increased clicks in content on shared value and responsible business.


Summit Day 2 – Wednesday 10 May

  • “It’s not just about a diverse workforce, it’s about diverse products and services” – Mark Kramer led a panel discussion on ‘The Business Case for Racial Equity’ with leaders from PayPal, PolicyLink, and Prudential who talked about moving beyond diversity in HR to diversity in business solutions, as Mark Kramer highlighted – “Look in places you haven’t looked before – there will be a new opportunity for shared value”.

  • Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International, made the case for ‘Why Shared Value Matters to a Company’s DNA’, recognising the importance of supporting whole ecosystems depending on human wellbeing not just biodiversity, and that the environmental and development movements have been far too separate. Peter identified the huge role that corporate companies can and should play, citing Conservation International’s work with Walmart which not only changed the environmental standards throughout the the company but the standards of their suppliers and external stakeholders.

  • “A focus on hope is not a business case” – A leader in the business of public health Derek Yach, Chief Health Officer of the Vitality Group, presented ‘The Business Case for Investing in Prevention’, recognising that there is a need for shared value in all areas of health not just healthcare, and that prevention is central to creating shared value in health. Derek also highlighted the power of workplace health programs, not only for employees but that there is evidence of increased profits and stock performance over time.
  • Shared Value Project Chair Peter Yates AM also raised the idea with Derek for a series of ‘Vitality’ approved restaurants to help combat the culture of supersizing of food. Maybe we’ll see this on the menu in 2018!

  • Did you know that aviation is the only industry that has its own collective agreement to reduce climate change? On the panel discussion on ‘The Business Case for Climate Change’ with leaders from Jet Blue and United Technologies we learnt how these companies are embracing shared value in aviation. The panel claimed that in a global economy we can’t cut out aviation, therefore we have to innovate, and by having the given burden of environmental impact, the aviation industry is becoming a pioneer. Both companies talked about creating positive and innovative technologies based on customer demand, not regulation – for example the Pratt and Whitney PurePower engine which reduces environmental impact and increases efficiency.

  • ‘Co-Creating Shared Value in the Insurance Field’ David Harrington, Group Executive – Office of the CEO at IAG, and Director of the Shared Value Project, participated on a panel with other insurance leaders from Discovery Health, Skandia, and FSG to discuss how insurers need to activate a whole ecosystem of complementary stakeholders, for example creating more resilient and insurable cities or preventing ill-health in target population groups. This discussion was part of the lead up to a new set of research on shared value strategies in insurance ‘Insuring Shared Value’, stay tuned for the release later this year.


Watch videos of the sessions from the 2017 Shared Value Leadership Summit

Read more about our 2017 member Learning Tour in New York

For more highlights from the summit follow #SVLeaders on Twitter