Business leaders must change their approach to social and environmental issues in order to attract both investors and talent in the future.
The advice came at the 2018 Shared Value Summit Asia Pacific, hosted by the Shared Value Project, in Sydney on 18 April 2018 as some of Australia’s leading business minds gathered to discuss shared value – the management strategy where companies find business opportunities in solving social issues.
NAB Chairman Dr Ken Henry AC said businesses needed to demonstrate that they were improving the wellbeing of the Australian people if they wanted to be listened to more and trusted more.
“NAB’s purpose is to back the bold who take Australia forward, and that’s what shared value is about. It’s about addressing three dimensions of progress, economic, social and environmental.”
He added that shared value helped to attract and retain talented people. “One of the most important things about shared value initiatives is that it gives people a reason to come to work, it is deeply, deeply motivating,” he said.
Dr Henry discussed the award-winning NAB Assist program where NAB transformed its collections department in 2013 to build a better relationship with customers in hardship and help them to address to root causes of their financial hardship. He added NAB Assist continued to innovate – with the latest development being a new NAB Hardship Bond. This is an agreement between NAB and the customer in hardship designed to build trust and a sense of empowerment for customers in hardship. For every four repayments the customer makes, NAB makes the fifth, or if the customer prefers, NAB credits the same amount to the customer’s account to spend as they see fit.
“The Hardship Bond has proved to be a great success for the bank as well as the customers,” he said.
“NAB Assist has yielded extraordinary results. Within a month 89 per cent of people are back on track with their repayments and within three months that jumps to 97 per cent,” Dr Henry said.
Lateral Economics CEO Nicholas Gruen said the NAB Assist program was making a positive impact on NAB’s bottom line as well as helping customers. “That is shared value, which simply involves looking for the high road. If you can get on the high road everyone is a winner.”
Health and energy issues were also canvassed at the Summit with companies urged to lead the way and innovate to seek mutually beneficial solutions on sustainability challenges such as waste recycling and solar power.
Global thought leader Mark Kramer – the American co-author of ‘Creating Shared Value’, co-founder and Managing Director of FSG, and a director of the Shared Value Project said he was impressed with the level of sophistication of shared value applications in Australia.
“The conversation has shifted from what is it, to how do we do it, and to how do we come together across sectors to support each other to achieve it.
“It’s inspiring to see what business can do when it wants to succeed by doing good,” Mr Kramer said.
The program also included the world’s first Shared Value Simulation, which allowed participants to consider the various layers of developing a shared value strategy through the lens of tackling climate change.
The Summit was hosted by the Shared Value Project with the support of major sponsoring partner IAG, industry partners NAB and AIA Australia, government partner Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and media partners AFR Boss and Pro Bono Australia.
This is the fourth year of the Summit and the first time it has been held in Sydney.