SVF opening address: change we must.

At the 2016 Shared Value Forum in Melbourne last month, Rhod Ellis-Jones delivered a brief opening address, setting the tone for a day of learning, un-learning and, most importantly, building the connections that lead to shared value partnerships for change. We share the speech below. Read the highlights from the day here.


Welcome to the 2016 Shared Value Forum – ‘Business: Partnering for Change’.

Change we must.

Even in a society as prosperous as ours, poverty is firmly entrenched.

Despite years of attempts to reverse it, the rate of incommunicable disease such as obesity continues to rise.

Climate change is well underway.

So what is business’ role in change?

It is to bring experience, expertise, assets and capital to these and many other challenges facing Australia and our neighbours.

It is to find new ways to innovate.

And most of all, it is to find and capitalise on opportunity.

It is to do what business does best when it is at its best.

The most effective means to frame and navigate that journey, is shared value.

Importantly, it demands and facilitates a new kind of partnership between companies, social sector organisations and government.

Many of us have negotiated partnerships with trade-offs and shared values – we made our demands.. and we promised to behave. To play nice!

But too often these partnerships were not effective and did not last.

What shared value has taught us, is that purpose is our guiding beacon.

If partners set out to achieve the same purpose, the same measurable outcomes, we have the best chance of success.

This reframing of partnerships is enabling our organisations – not-for-profit, consulting, corporate and government – to see ourselves in anew.

To see the social purpose and commercial promise inherent in us.

Look around the room and note the smart, socially aware, progressive, incredibly attractive people who see the potential and are ready to grasp it.

People just like you.

This is a rare opportunity to make connections that lead to partnerships in change. Make the most of it!

At the Shared Value Project we know the fundamental value of partnerships.

We would not exist without our members, all of whom are deeply involved in the program of research, training, events and outreach we design every year.

And this event exists due to the close partnership we enjoy with NAB, IAG, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and AFR Boss.

We thank them for their instrumental contribution to the shared value movement.

And to start us off, it is now my great pleasure to welcome Peeyush Gupta to say a few words on behalf of our host, NAB.

Talk to us about shared value strategy and implementation.