Australian businesses to explore new ways to tackle social issues


New business models that create sustainable profits and tackle social issues at the same time will be explored by some of Australia’s biggest companies at an international forum in Melbourne next week.

National Australia Bank, IAG and AIA Australia are among organisations that will discuss and debate how business and shareholder prosperity can be more closely linked to social and environmental prosperity – a concept known as shared value – at the 2017 Shared Value Forum in Melbourne on Wednesday 26 April (#SV17).

The forum, organised by the Shared Value Project in partnership with NAB, IAG and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will feature a keynote from international water management expert Professor Rebekah Brown from Monash University who will discuss access to basic sanitation. Other speakers include global thought leader Mark Kramer, who devised the concept of shared value, and ABC News’ Del Irani who will emcee a full program of panels, conversations and interactive workshops.

The event will also include Australia’s first Shared Value Innovation Lab, facilitated by the IAG by Design Team, which will encourage participants to use the concept of shared value to consider how organisations could better support the mental health issues within communities affected by natural disasters.

“The power of profit in tackling key issues facing society has become a common discussion point among boards of directors and company executives across the Australian business community,” said Peter Yates AM, Chair of the Shared Value Project. “These leaders increasingly want to uncover how they can integrate shared value into their strategies and business operations.”

Hosting the forum for the third consecutive year is NAB, which has found ways to wrap solving social issues such as financial inclusion and sustainable energy sources in to the bank’s strategy and operations. Its focus on shared value work led to it being the first Australian company to be named by Fortune magazine in its ‘Change the World’ List.

“We know that society’s issues are shareholders issues,” said Cathryn Carver, Acting Chief Customer Officer Corporate & Institutional Banking at NAB, who is taking part in the ‘Changing the World’ panel at the Forum. “We are looking at the problems our customers face and are thinking about new ways to help and to solve them at scale using our banking tools, knowledge and relationships. “We are proud to be a leading proponent of shared value and excited to be hosting the Shared Value Forum.”

The forum will be attended by c-suite executives, board members, strategists and policy makers, and senior government leaders as well as academics and non-profit leaders. For the full program and speaker details visit forum.sharedvalue.org.au