Making a Difference Through Shared Value and Citizenship


For the last two years, I have had the pleasure of chairing the judging panel of PublicAffairsAsia’s Gold Standard Awards. Through this process our panel of 60 judges have learned a huge amount about emerging trends in public affairs, stakeholder engagement and corporate citizenship across Asia Pacific.

We have seen first-hand how these award-winning projects are impacting business by opening new markets and, in some cases, creating a new customer class. At the same time, the best of these projects are creating shared value with a range of stakeholders.

Submissions for the Gold Standard Awards provided the team at PublicAffairsAsia a starting point in preparing these case studies. Then, in informal collaboration with Singapore Management University, we chose to focus on 15 or so individual case studies. In addition, PublicAffairsAsia has gone on to conduct research into some entirely new programmes which are featured in this report.

From the outset we were aware that in Asia’s emerging markets many companies, governments and NGOs still lack the essential shared valued templates that can be used to help solve problems and drive future growth. To address this, PublicAffairsAsia, supported by Hewlett-Packard, set out to compile these case studies into a single document.

We now have the pleasure of sharing this report with our stakeholders across the region. We hope this publication, and PublicAffairsAsia’s new platform SharingValue.Asia, will raise awareness of the huge impact that can be achieved when organisations work collaboratively across sectors. The focus of the report is, of course, on programmes involving public-private partnership, corporate citizenship and the emerging process of Creating Shared Value.

Through these three aligned approaches, companies, governments and the not-for-profit sectors in Asia Pacific are developing innovative solutions to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges– while ensuring that their business interests develop simultaneously. Some industry observers call this CSR, others citizenship and, increasingly, it is described as Creating Shared Value. It is effectively summed up in the phrase “profit with a purpose” – which is something that cannot readily be achieved without a culture of partnership.

Varied Programmes

The initiatives profiled are very different in scale and reach. They reflect the different approaches taken by a diverse range of corporations and organisations. We hope that each offers an example to others as they examine how to transplant the best practice identified here into their own programmess.

The cases profiled have been developed by home-grown Asian brands, such as Taiwan’s supermarket chain PX Mart, along with some of the world’s biggest corporations, such as Coca-Cola and my company HP. They range from new forms of philanthropy – based on strategic partnership rather than simply charitable giving – to business-minded long-term CSR initiatives. And they extend beyond this to the adoption of Creating Shared Value as a core business function.

Making a Difference

What each of the case studies contained in the report have in common is that they have made a difference: be that to the marine environment in Malaysia, to young people starting their careers in China, to poorer consumers in Taiwan, or to those seeking access to healthcare in rural India.

That said, the programmes included are not necessarily the most impactful nor the most wide-reaching. However, each illustrates how change can be achieved when different stakeholders rethink their traditional approaches and create a sense of partnership and common purpose. And we hope each case study is scalable and replicable, therefore acting as a source of inspiration across sectors – including government, which is an increasingly important catalyst for change in the region.

Finally, the report also underlines that the ownership of these programmes need not be the sole preserve of large corporations. Industry groups, trade associations, NGOs and government agencies can and should do more to unlock the power of partnership as they strive to create shared value.

As this model gains influence, we hope readers of the report can adapt the case studies to develop their own initiatives and, in turn, achieve sustainable profit with a purpose.

Elizabeth Hernandez, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific and Chairman, The 2014 Gold Standard Awards

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