Modern organisations will be aware that corporate affairs management involves more than just the business issues that directly affect the general public.
Businesses throughout the country are in a position to influence social issues as well, with shared value initiatives being the key to making these changes. For the first time, a survey has been released that analyses the effect these initiatives have on organisations and the wider community in Australia.
Produced by the Shared Value Project and Social Ventures Australia, the research sought to create a resource to discover which companies around Australia are investing in shared value projects and how they're going about this.
Economic meets social
The key to these strategies, according to the Shared Value Initiative, is to merge economic and social goals, so business aims are integrated with community concerns and have the potential to better the wider community.
One of the points raised by The Shared Value Project in its report is that businesses aren't always aware this is an option for corporate affairs management, with the survey finding that organisations have put these initiatives in place without realising they are contributing to shared value schemes.
In these regards, corporate social responsibility initiatives cross over with shared value strategies, with many employers unaware of the differences between the two.
Because of this, The Shared Value Project wants there to be a "clear baseline" for shared value initiatives. This means organisations can ensure they are getting the most out of these strategies and implementing them effectively.
What makes a good shared value initiative?
According to the survey, there are a few questions businesses need to ask themselves when setting up a shared value initiative. They are:
- What issues do you care about? Align your business with concerns affecting the industry you operate in.
- How will affect these? Discover the most practical and effective way to have an impact on these issues.
- What are the benefits and the challenges? Plan the positives for your company and the wider community and what you will need to overcome to succeed.
The good news for Australian organisations is that the overwhelming majority already have a social focus in their corporate affairs strategies. In the survey, 89 per cent of respondents indicated this was the case.
A recent blog post from the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility further investigated these programs, finding there are some misconceptions about how shared value initiatives operate. According to the organisation, while sustainability is often a key focus for shared value, it's not the same thing.
Ultimately, Australian organisations have a good baseline to work from when implementing shared value strategies in the future.