A joint survey of Irish businesses recently conducted by GOAL, together with the Michael Smurfit School of Business, shows that a majority of respondents welcome the support of the INGO sector in exploring ‘Shared Value’ initiatives, if the sector can “understand the realities of the business world”.
‘Shared Value’ is a business concept which holds that a coincidence can be found between business activity that is profitable and business activity that is socially beneficial.
The report reveals a strong interest on the part of Irish businesses in using ‘Shared Value’ as a means to engage with emerging markets in places like Africa, but that a lack of knowledge of local market dynamics and networks are a key constraint. The access of INGOs like GOAL to a wide array of stakeholders throughout the economy is viewed as key to solving this, according to the report.
The report also shows significant overlap between ‘Shared Value’ and corporate social responsibility (CSR), with just under half the respondents claiming to have engaged in ‘Shared Value’ activities as part of their CSR engagement.
Chief Executive Officer of GOAL, Barry Andrews, who attended the Shared Value Leadership Summit in New York from May 12-13, says the report shows that there is significant interest in further engagement on ‘Shared Value’ issues from Irish businesses, and that this aligns with GOAL's interest in strengthening business ecosystems in developing markets to create opportunities for smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs.
“A concerted effort is required by the business community, NGOs and other stakeholders such as business schools, chambers of commerce and government, to build upon existing interest in Ireland and elsewhere, in ‘Shared Value’ concepts.
“GOAL is willing to take a lead here and engage with the Irish business community in building a ‘Shared Value’ community of practice, dedicated to strengthening businesses' bottom line whilst delivering social benefit in developing markets.”