Britcham HK webinar

PRESS RELEASE | 18 June 2020

There’s a new business movement percolating in Hong Kong which is causing companies, large and small, to re-think how and why they will operate in a post-pandemic society.

The concept of embedding purpose, as well as profit, in business strategy has been introduced to members of the British Chamber of Commerce by the Hong Kong chapter of a global initiative which has grown out of Harvard Business School.

Gaëlle Loiseau, the CEO of Shared Value Project Hong Kong (SVPHK), explained to the online audience that: “The pandemic has pushed senior management discussions beyond CSR and the triple bottom line, it is demonstrating to all of us that only those companies which fulfil a community need or address a societal problem are likely to prosper.

‘Business as usual’ is no longer feasible. We are now witnessing the search for more resilient versions of traditional businesses models, a new way of making business relevant to society, the point at which purpose and profit will intersect,” she said.

This new wave of interest in Shared Value is underscored by recent findings such as:

  • 73% of respondents believe that companies can take actions which both increase profit and improve conditions for the communities in which they operate (2020 Edelman Trust Barometer);
  • 90% of global employees in purpose-driven companies are engaged versus 13% of the global workforce who are engaged (2017 Bain & Company finding); and
  • Impact investment in Australia has trebled in the last two years to almost AUD20 billion/HKD107 billion (2020 Deakin University Business School study).

Karen Seymour, advisor to SVPHK and Chief Purpose Officer at human at work, told the Chamber audience that: “COVID has accelerated the need to be more conscious of our inter-connectedness to each other and our environment, and for business to connect to all stakeholders.

There’s now an urgency to develop a strategic means of identifying the economic opportunity in solving societal issues which can also build competitive advantage,” she said.

The Shared Value Initiative, partner of SVPHK, has developed the Purpose Playbook a practical 9-step toolkit to assist companies in identifying individual areas and practices in which they can align profit and purpose.

Current Shared Value case studies include a Hong Kong textile manufacturer, an eyewear maker and  a hazelnut exporter in Bhutan. Shared Value is not CSR or philanthropy, it is a business approach which is unashamedly about making companies profitable – for the good of their communities.

Creating Shared Value, as defined by Prof. Michael Porter and Mark Kramer in their influential 2011 Harvard Business review article, is a business strategy that creates competitive advantage by aligning profit and purpose. Shared Value Project Hong Kong is a non-profit membership organisation funded by leading corporations to act as a catalyst for Shared Value in the Greater Bay Area.

Media Contact: Roanne Lo roanne.lo@sharedvaluehk.org