Over the past year the dialogue around shared value and the important role of business in society has noticeably progressed in Hong Kong in particular through the leadership and programs that the Government and their Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) has demonstrated, along with growing interest from local organisations.
Last month the Shared Value Project’s Executive Director Helen Steel and Chair Peter Yates AM travelled to Hong Kong for the first ever Hong Kong International Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Week (IPSE Week), where Chief Secretary Carrie Lam recognised shared value as a means to make Hong Kong a better city and enrich business.
“It is not easy to overcome the inertia of entrenched practices and assumptions to find shared value. I am pleased to note that, however, businesses in Hong Kong are positive to the call to rethink, to experiment and to find ways to work better for our city and for our society.” Chief Secretary Carrie Lam
The IPSE Week 2016 aimed to promote the collaboration between different sectors to advance social objectives and to showcase the ongoing efforts and achievements of Hong Kong in the development of philanthropy and social enterprises. The Week comprised of three distinctive forums and a summit on philanthropy and social enterprise development, including the Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum, the first of its kind in Hong Kong held by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
The Better Cities Forum included a keynote address from Prof Michael Porter, co-author of ‘Creating Shared Value’, who spoke on ‘Shared Value for Better Cities’, and emphasised the need to go beyond the traditional approaches of philanthropy, and engage the private sector and create value instead of just giving money. Shared Value Project Chair Peter Yates AM also spoke on a panel on ‘Public Private Partnerships to Scale Impact’, highlighting shared value as a framework and opportunity to catalyse more effective PPPs; along with Rosemary Addis, Chair of Impact Investing Australia, who spoke on the ‘Role of Philanthropy in Social Investing’.
Panelists included Paul Carttar, Founding Director of the US Social Innovation Fund; Peter Yates AM, Chair of the Shared Value Project; Leong Cheung, Executive Director, Charities and Community of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; with facilitator Kriss Deiglmeier, CEO of the Tides Foundation
The SIE Fund setup under the Commission on Poverty, chaired by the Chief Secretary, serves as a catalyst for social innovation in Hong Kong, and connects the Hong Kong community with different sectors, including businesses, NGOs, academics and philanthropies to create social impact through innovative solutions that address poverty and social exclusion.
One of the major initiatives being pursued by the SIE Fund is to promote ‘creating shared value’ within the Hong Kong business sector. The SIE Fund encourages corporations to create competitive advantage by applying the shared value approach in their business strategies for addressing social needs whilst exploring new business opportunities.
Innovation is central to the shared value approach. To encourage and support businesses to implement innovative ideas, the SIE Fund has embarked on a ‘shared value initiative’ since September 2015. They staged a ‘Shared Value Forum’ on 9 September 2015 followed by a series of workshops and coaching services to a number of interested corporations. With the successful conclusion of the 2015 program, the SIE Fund is continuing to build the momentum through 2016 and beyond.
For shared value activity to succeed at a regional level there requires an in depth understanding of local social issues, business, government and not-for-profits operating environments, and a strong cohort of leaders operating in the region to champion this way of doing business. The Shared Value Project looks forward to supporting the development of this cohort in Hong Kong as the government and organisations in the region continue to drive the movement.