CVA Updates

CVA Joins Shared Value Community

Guest blog by the Shared Value Project to explain what it’s all about.

What is shared value?

Shared value is a strategic framework that recognises the inherent connection between corporate success and societal progress. For corporations, it means moving beyond traditional profit-centred models and integrating social and environmental considerations into their core operations. For NGOs like CVA, shared value signifies harnessing the power of collaboration with corporations to drive meaningful change while also addressing organisational goals. It’s a win-win approach that reimagines how businesses and non-profits can operate symbiotically for the betterment of society and the environment.

At CVA, we believe true shared value partnerships are the way forward to tackling the environmental challenges we face.

Shared value is an incredible catalyst for innovation. By actively nurturing a culture that works to solve social challenges, companies build their creative and problem-solving muscle − driving new ideas and new ways of working.

As a not-for-profit trying to tackle one of the world’s most challenging problems – the environmental crisis – we need the intelligence and resources of all to help. We work with partners who have a common vision and purpose; together, we work on a set of goals that cannot be achieved alone.

Towards impact-aligned partnerships

Traditionally, we have considered not-for-profit organisations as the beneficiaries of corporate social responsibility. We expect community organisations to lean on businesses for their resources, expertise, technology, and funding.

But shared value turns the tables on this ‘typical’ power dynamic; instead, it positions the not-for-profit or community organisation as the ‘expert’ and recognises us as a key strategic partner.

Let’s take biodiversity as an example. If, as a business, you’ve identified biodiversity as a material and important issue for your organisation, you need a partner who can work with you to deeply understand the issue, the science, and the leading practices in urban and rural environments − someone who can help your people get closer to nature and learn from nature. Someone who can inspire you to be brave and partner with you for real impact. This is what it means to be in a shared-value partnership.

The Shared Value Project encourages not-for-profit and community organisations to lean into these kinds of impact partnerships. To look for private sector actors who are genuinely aligned with their mission and who understand that creating meaningful change takes time and commitment.

If this sounds too good to be true, it’s not…The founding members of the Shared Value Project include Nestle, IAG, Enel Green Power, AIA Australia, and Optus, all examples of this paradigm shift in action. They all understand that embracing shared value is not only important for addressing pressing global issues but also for building a more inclusive and sustainable form of capitalism.

Case Study: Nestlé

Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value Initiative: Nestlé’s initiative focuses on improving nutrition, water management, and rural development. Through partnerships with local communities and governments, Nestlé not only enhances the livelihoods of farmers but also strengthens its supply chain.

Top Tips for Embarking on Shared Value:

  1. Identify Shared Impact Goals: Who else is or needs to solve the issue you’re invested in? Or who will benefit from your impact? Think across all sectors – Government, Private Sector, Academic and Civil Society
  2. Get closer to the problem: How can you understand the problem or issue better? Who can help you see it more clearly? Have you included those with lived expertise and experience?
  3. Build Genuine Partnerships: Approach partnerships with the belief that you can achieve more together than you can on your own. Consider and confront power dynamics, invest in exploration phases, and create space for trust.
  4. Continuously Innovate: Embrace an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset; you won’t find solutions by applying the same process or ways of thinking.
  5. Be Brave: Ambition is critical; solving societal issues is not easy, and you’ll need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Catherine and Amanda from Coles with their Nature Block.

Catherine and Amanda from Coles with their Nature Block at a planting event this winter

 

Conservation Volunteers Australia has been working hard for over 40 years to protect Australia’s unique ecosystems, which are critical to our shared future. We champion not only the important role of conservation as both an individual and collective imperative but also create opportunities for people to connect with nature and their community and make a tangible difference.

 

Thank you to The Shared Value Project for writing this piece for us as new members of the initiative.