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Shared Value Champion: Ann Sherry, Carnival Australia

September 3, 2018

What does shared value mean to you?

Shared value in a business context is really the creation of value for stakeholders on both sides of the equation. In the context of cruising, we see shared value as central to having the opportunity to continue to grow our business, confident in the knowledge that the communities that we come in contact with experience so much created value that they want us to keep coming. This applies whether it is island communities that our ships visit, or regional ports that share the economic benefits of cruising or the suppliers of fresh produce in our supply chain network. It is really about creating value for these stakeholders, for our business and for our guests, who are able to explore fascinating places, engage with people and diverse cultures, and do things that they would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience. Put simply, shared value grows the business and grows mutually beneficial relationships.

What led you individually to the shared value concept? How did you come across it?

We have been doing this for 10 years at Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia which we operate. Shared value is the core of our business strategy; it’s not just a concept that sits alongside the business separate from our aim to achieve sustainable growth. It is about encouraging communities in creating jobs and local enterprises at the places our ships visit. It is also about creating experiences for the people we take there and to do this we need to have a supply of destinations at which cruise ships are welcomed as value-adding visitors.

What does shared value success look like at Carnival Australia and where are you at on the journey?

Shared value is shared success. We know we are on the right track when our business is growing and our stakeholders are making the most of cruise-generated opportunities. Shared value has been central to our business strategy for more than 10 years so we are well down the path on our journey with stakeholder relationships that have grown and matured during this period. There is also structure with, for example, the P&O Pacific Partnership in conjunction with Save the Children Australia supporting community projects in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. On a wider front, we have opened up more than 50 ports and have seen island communities create businesses. We have also seen local infrastructure grow; we have seen adults returning to communities who previously felt they had no choice other than to leave in order to find work. We have directly supported the creation of jobs with many Ni Vanuatu crew working on ships in the P&O Cruises fleet. The shared value journey is fundamentally our business journey – they are integrally connected.

What is your role individually within Carnival Australia to support the company along its shared value journey?

It takes leadership to integrate shared value with business strategy and, having led Carnival Australia for the last 10-plus years, I have had the opportunity to ensure that shared value is central to our business. The task is to ensure everyone in the organisation is on the journey and that the business understands the power of shared value to both grow the business and create the opportunities for stakeholders. There are lots of people in the organisation who touch this and everyone understands that it is the way we do business.

How has practicing shared value helped you individually in your role or career more generally?

It is not actually so much about individuals as it is about organisations understanding the power of shared value and how it can contribute to commercial success. Throughout my career in the financial sector, government and now in cruise tourism, I have seen shared value as the pathway to creating value for the businesses in which I have worked or led.

What do you think are some pertinent issues in Australia that could be solved through creating shared value?

There are issues in rural and remote communities for both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians that would benefit from shared value thinking to achieve solutions. In this context, shared value has been at the forefront of our approach to regional port development to create jobs, markets and opportunities particularly in the supply chain realm. Instead of an adversarial approach, many other businesses could view the world more broadly through a shared value lens to contemplate how they can share value with the communities that are the touch points of their businesses. That isn’t happening to the extent that it could in rural and regional Australia.

Ann Sherry is Executive Chairman, Carnival Australia