Australian first research reveals companies making profit by tackling key social issues

Australia’s first study into creating shared value (CSV) will be released in draft in Melbourne today at the 2nd Creating Shared Value forum.

The study looks at how Australian companies are integrating CSV, which is aimed at generating profit by addressing social or environmental issues, into their corporate strategy.

Conducted by sustainability firm Net Balance, the research is being undertaken with the support of NAB), LionCo, BT Financial, PwC, PwC Indigenous Consulting, Nestle, Toyota and Stockland.

Until now, research on the topic had been driven from overseas, in particular the USA where the term CSV was coined by Professor Michael Porter and Mark Kramer in a publication ‘Creating Shared Value- How to reinvent capitalism’ (Harvard Business Review, January/ February 2011). It was followed up by a paper from their colleague Marc Pfitzer, Innovating for Shared Value (Harvard Business Review, September 2013).

"Net Balance wanted to contribute to the literature on CSV and how it is being applied in the Australian context," said Net Balance Director, Terence Jeyaretnam.

"We will release the initial insights from our research today, with a more detailed paper to be released in early 2014."

Net Balance has found that it is innovative businesses that are able to use CSV to assess social and environmental issues as commercial opportunities. These companies are creating business value by creating societal value.

"In the draft paper we propose that people; their sense of purpose, the opportunity for learning and creativity are the foundations for a culture of innovation that is core to a company’s ability to create shared value," said Mr Jeyaretnam.

"CSV is about weaving social need in to the fabric of business and creating new ways of doing things. Importantly it is evidence-based. It is not about intention, but measureable impact in solving identified problems."

"We also found that the pace at which a company can identify social issues and develop innovative solutions provides the opportunity for true competitive advantage," said Mr Jeyaretnam.

Net Balance is seeking feedback on its research which will help inform the finalisation of a Green Paper – The potential for Creating Shared Value in Australia: How Australian companies co-create long-term commercial and social value – which will be released in early 2014.

The draft paper will be released at the Creating Shared Value conference in Melbourne today. Net Balance, NAB and Three Pillars are hosting the event. Marc Pfitzer will be the keynote speaker. It will also feature expert commentators including Tim Costello, CEO World Vision, Paula Benson, General Manager Corporate Responsibility NAB and Les Hems, Director Net Balance.


For more information:

Net Balance – Kathryn Franklin, 0419 883 928