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Shared Value Project to lead development of shared value in Australia

May 26, 2014

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Today, the Shared Value Project was officially established as the peak practice body for the shared value discipline in Australia. At a dinner in Sydney, Shared Value Project Chair, Peter Yates AM, and Mark Kramer, co-founder of the global Shared Value Initiative, celebrated the signing of a memorandum of understanding that sees both groups work collaboratively to raise awareness and build a global community of practice.

Mr Yates said demand had rapidly increased for knowledge sharing and practice development in the area of shared value.

“Shared value represents the evolution of corporate social responsibility. It’s about achieving social impact and business returns, an important shift in thinking if we are to start solving the intractable social problems of our times,” he said.

The Shared Value Project facilitated Mr Kramer’s keynote address at the AICD Company Directors Conference on 23 May, entitled From CSR to CSV – Bringing Business and Society Back Together. Mr Kramer said the Shared Value Project’s success in Australia made it the right regional partner for the Shared Value Initiative.

The Shared Value Initiative is operated by FSG, a non-profit consultancy founded by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer.  The Initiative was launched in 2012 to promote the understanding and practice of shared value around the world with support from more than 30 leading companies and foundations such as Nestle, Verizon, NAB, Rio Tinto, and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Shared Value Project in Australia is the first regional affiliate of the Initiative.

“Over the past two years the Shared Value Initiative has enjoyed a strong and mutually supportive relationship with the Shared Value Project as we have strived to raise awareness for the potential of shared value as a business strategy,” Mr. Kramer said.

Professor Porter commented: “I am very pleased to see the rapid adoption of the Shared Value concept in Australia.  Helping companies, government and charities understand and use this concept can significantly accelerate both social and economic progress in Australia.”

The Shared Value Project was established in November 2011 by Melbourne social impact consultant, Rhod Ellis-Jones, to explore the concept, first published by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer in the January 2011 edition of the Harvard Business Review. After experiencing escalating demand, it was incorporated in February this year with experienced member organisation leader, Ms Helen Steel, appointed as Executive Director.

“The Shared Value Project was initiated to put ‘meat on the bones’ of the shared value concept and understand the concerns or perceived barriers to adoption in Australia. That meant getting CSR, sustainability and innovation experts to consider practice models, and executives and board members of Australian corporations and not-for-profit organisations to debate its promise,” said Mr Ellis-Jones, Founder & Deputy Chair, Shared Value Project.

“There is no doubt this is a fast forming discipline and an ascendant idea at a time we need focus and consolidation in the business led social impact space.”

Shared value is being embraced by more and more businesses. At the dinner, global insurer, AIA group, founding member of the Shared Value Project, provided insight into how it has structured its flagship shared value program, AIA Vitality.