Day One of the Shared Value Leadership Summit: Investing in Prosperity, New York
May 13, 2014
Shared value presents itself in so many ways to so many people. If I didn’t believe that before, I certainly do now. As Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships at Glacier Media (the parent company for JuneWarren-Nickle’s Energy Group), it is my role to stay current on the opportunities and threats that affect the business world (relative to the key industry sectors to which Glacier speaks).
And when it comes to the extractives sector (oil and gas, energy and mining), opportunities and threats are everywhere.
Shared value, as defined by FSG, the organization founded by business strategist Michael Porter, is “the act of creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges.”
FSG also states that to be truly successful, shared-value activities should follow these guidelines and beliefs:
- Have business lead things: it is business that can fund applications in a more sustainable manner. Businesses will often be far more effective than government and non-profits at marketing that motivates customers to embrace products and services that create societal benefits. For example, consider things like healthier food or environmentally friendly products.
- Have a far deeper appreciation of societal needs: a greater understanding of the true basis of company productivity and the ability to collaborate across profit/non-profit boundaries
- Re-conceive products and markets: redefine productivity in the value chain and enable local cluster development
- Always ask “how else can we look at the well-being of our customers, the depletion of natural resources that are vital to our business, the viability of our key suppliers and the economic distress of the communities in which we produce and sell?”
- Wholeheartedly believe that society’s gains are greater when corporate shared value works well, and promote wherever possible the successes of CSV done well.
The appeal of the leadership summit and “shared-value thinking” is widespread. There were 375 senior-level delegates in attendance at today’s event, representing 50 firms and 37 different countries. Hearing the speakers, it was evident that regardless of geography or industry, we are all faced with similar challenges.
Early in the day, many shared-value enthusiasts on site admitted to feeling frustrated, challenged and lonely when it comes to implementing shared-value activities. As the day went on, we started to see optimism and renewed energy resurfacing.
We heard from many companies about how they each faced the challenges of their sectors—to pull together the key players, to make true, meaningful change. We heard from Nestlé about their shift from being a food/beverage company to being more about health and nutrition, and also from IBM, who isn’t really at all about computers but more about doing whatever is needed to move towards being a “smarter planet.” Unilever demonstrated that they aren’t just about “soap” but more about “the elimination of dirt and disease,” and that each and every thing they do involves a purpose-based versus product-based mindset.
Here are my top 10 tips and takeaways from the day:
1) We need to rewrite the discipline of management
2) We need to “shift” the old perception that you cannot DO GOOD for society and DO GOOD for business at the same time
3) We need to attach a value to and continuously measure the social outcomes that we achieve—and we need to set our goals high
4) We need to have people on the ground locally that can pull in the key local community members (education sector groups, NGOs and government players) and facilitate continuous discussions
5) Business needs to lead the CV movement, because it is business than can fund applications in a more sustainable manner.
6) We need to be picky and scrutinize every move. We need to measure and re-measure.
7) We need to collaborate with others and share technologies for the greater good
8) We need to share measured data and project reviews with all of our stakeholders
9) We need to get department leads working together, e.g., have the procurement team talking to the brand equity group, have finance talking to the corporate affairs teams—all in an effort to draw out shared-value opportunities
10) We need to identify where within a company the CSV passion lies and then empower those individuals to come forward and make change. Often, but not always, it is embodied within the younger generations or those who more generally adopt a more youthful spirit.
Upon further reflection, it became very clear to me that Glacier Media and JuneWarren-Nickle’s Energy Group can play a key role in contributing to the success of shared-value activity in Canada—and, more specifically, acting as “facilitators” and “connectors” drawing businesses together with key community stakeholders.
Wendy Ell, Sr. Manager of Corporate Partnerships, Glacier Media Group
For more information on the Shared Value Leadeship Summit, visit http://www.sharedvalue.org/