By: Mark Kramer | Founder and Managing Director at FSG | September 2nd, 2015

Australia's government invites business to tackle development challenges while delivering commercial returns. (Image via DFAT)

This week, the Australian government announced a new strategy to improve engagement with the private sector on aid and development – the first with shared value at its core. The strategy, titled Engaging the Private Sector: Creating Shared Value through Partnership, clearly identifies the private sector as an essential partner to achieving sustainable outcomes and invites business to work with the government to help solve development challenges in Australia.

“The Strategy recognizes the private sector as a driver of economic growth, incomes, and jobs, and as a partner for government to achieve more effective and sustainable aid outcomes,” commented Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop in a statement yesterday. She went on to explain that the project includes three new supporting initiatives, including a $5 million Business Partnership Platform, a $350,000 partnership with the United Nations Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), and a $1 million partnership with the Global Reporting Initiative.

In the Strategy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade underlines the critical role that business has to play in international aid and development:

 “Our desire to support this growing alignment between business and development is based on the recognition that the private sector will play an essential role in meeting the social and economic development challenges in our region.”

“The concept of shared value forms the foundation of our vision: that business can deliver sustainable social impact in developing countries while achieving commercial returns from conducting their business. Finding new and creative ways to increase collaboration and partnering between government, private sector and NGOs will be critical to realizing this vision.”

With the news of the new initiative, we at the Shared Value Initiative are delighted to see the shared value concept featured so prominently on Australia’s policy agenda and see this move as an encouraging step for business tackling the big social issues we face today.


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