This time last year, a few business leaders and I convened a community of Shared Value champions with a vision to promote a new way of doing business in Hong Kong.

The Business Case for Social Innovation

After many years in Hong Kong, it became clear to me that while big business thrives here and takes pride in being a global hub, the private sector rarely looks at issues on its doorstep. We see corporate social responsibility programs, certainly, but more complex questions of inequality, well-being, human rights and more are left to the domain of non-profits and government.

Dare I ask, why is that so? If economies and their communities impact our business, how can companies afford to ignore the social, economic and environmental issues left unsolved? Why do we invest in CSR elsewhere, but less in Hong Kong? Philanthropy is common, but only goes so far. How many companies have truly embedded sustainable development at their core?

Gordon Watson

Shared Value is the leading way to address complex social issues sustainably – by creating value for both business and society, programs become self-sustaining and scalable. The Government of Hong Kong recognises this, and the SIE Fund, led by Patricia Lau, has increasingly been promoting Shared Value adoption in the private sector.

Leading the Way in Hong Kong

A few corporate pioneers are leading the way in Hong Kong. In establishing Shared Value Project Hong Kong, we have convened a community of Shared Value champions, with reach into Asia and beyond. To briefly introduce our Founding Members and executive leads:

  • AIA is renowned for its partnership with Vitality, an example of next-generation insurance that promotes wellness and healthy living. Bonnie Tse, General Manager, Business Strategy & Marketing, joined our community early on.
  • AXA, the leading global insurer, also applies a Shared Value approach in our wellness programs worldwide, with increasing focus on mental well-being. SVPHK thus provides a platform for even competitors to find common ground for collective impact, which is great.
  • Barclays is an early adopter of Shared Value, with global practices already in place. Hong Kong Chief Executive Anthony Daviesis a leading advocate for Shared Value as the firm embeds it further locally and regionally.
  • Fullerton Health, headquartered in Singapore with major operations in Hong Kong, is innovating healthcare delivery models catered to community needs, under the leadership of Co-founder and Group President David Sin.
  • Nestle is widely considered an example of Shared Value best practice, with oft-cited case studies of innovative food and agriculture programs worldwide. We are fortunate to have Grace Ho, General Manager, Hong Kong, in our ranks.
  • Accenture joins us as an enabler of innovation and business transformation, with Ravi Chhabra, Managing Director and Hong Kong Lead for Financial Services, championing Shared Value both for clients and within the firm as a strategic direction.
  • EY is a Founding Member as well, with the torch carried by Peter Picton-Phillipps, Partner, Financial Services, as the firm promotes risk management, performance improvement as well as inclusion.

Gordon Watson

Other critical contributors in our community include Tricor, Outblaze, The Executive Centre, FleishmanHillard, Amazon, Medix and Capital Group. While our corporate membership continues to grow, we are also building valuable partnerships with non-profits, like-minded organisations, universities and influencers in the ecosystem.

A Vision for Collaborative Impact

SVPHK is modelled after the success of Peter Yates’ team at Shared Value Projectin Australia and part of the global network cultivated by Mark Kramer’s U.S.-based Shared Value Initiative. With our momentum in recent months and kick-off of the mental health initiative, I have no doubt that our champions will generate a formidable groundswell and compelling results.

Shared Value Project Hong Kong is more than a passion project; we are advocates and change makers. Going beyond corporate responsibility to redefine business strategy, Shared Value is a matter of competitive advantage and long-term growth. If Hong Kong claims to be world-class, then we must catch up, think bigger and truly transform the way we do business.