Reflecting on the last few months of industry events, partner conversations and Member meetings, here are my observations on some major barriers to social innovation in Hong Kong. Some of my views may be unpopular, but then again we’re not here to be mainstream. Alongside each is an example of what we’ve tried in overcoming that barrier, in case it’s useful to others.
As a sustainability professional, I often heard versions of the same message: “sustainability is for rich companies that have money to spare”. Over the years, this outlook has changed in part due to greater exposure to climate risks. Before we truly understood the magnitude of the Covid pandemic, the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report’s top risks in terms of likelihood and impact heavily featured environmental issues. The market is acknowledging the fact that companies do not operate in a vacuum and therefore, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors should be considered alongside financial metrics in assessing a company’s performance.
In 2012/13, I was tasked to help establish a whole new government funding scheme, namely the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (SIE) Fund, with an aim to provide impetus to propel the development of social entrepreneurs and build the local social innovation ecosystem. At the time, the government had been providing resources to fund and support the development of the social enterprise sector for almost a decade. The staunch support from the government had already enabled the social enterprise sector to flourish and gain recognition generally in Hong Kong.
Over 90 percent of consumers say it is important for companies to show they are committed to doing the right thing, according to a recent seven-market study by FleishmanHillard’s TRUE Global Intelligence practice. The report, COVID-19 Mindset: The Collision of Issues, analyses the inflection points taking place around the world as consumers’ thoughts and approaches to their health and finances shift, and expectations of their government, community, employers and each other change.
During the early months of the global pandemic, we frequently heard and used the expression “in a post-COVID-19 world” when thinking about the future. Now, after four months of sheltering in place and no clear path to a new “normal,” we’re beginning to hear the phrase “life in a COVID-19 world.”
As the world has learned to cope with the pandemic and started to look ahead to long-term recovery, we all keep hearing about the need to “build back better”, increase resilience and not go back to the way things were. Easy to say, but what exactly does that look like? How do we truly transition to rebuilding a “new economy” that is more inclusive and sustainable, using what we have learned in the past few months?
Covid-19's relentless exposure of inequality provides us with a unique and unprecedented opportunity. The pandemic is driving awareness around the broader issues faced by women in society. Companies need to understand women are a key nexus in how value is shared and created between a company and the local community. Basic steps they can take is by demonstrating Creating Shared Value (CSV) and highlight inclusivity in how we measure, support and produce social value to ensure gender parity in pay or increase the number of women in leadership.
As Hong Kong battles to prevent a next wave of COVID-19, some companies continue to focus on near-term survival while others begin to shift from crisis recovery to building resiliency to adapt to the new normal. SVPHK advisor Philo Alto discusses how building resiliency via Shared Value approaches can align companies’ activities with, rather than extract from, the natural world and tackle the climate crisis.
The Covid-19 outbreak has triggered inspiring reactions from the private sector to support communities with philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. The question is how do we maintain this momentum on the medium and long term with Shared Value?
It’s been six months since I started my journey at Shared Value Project Hong Kong. And what an experience it has been! I witnessed the impressive growth of the thriving social innovation start-up - promoting Creating Shared Value (CSV) and guiding our corporate members on their Shared Value journey.