News & Blog

Takeaways from the C&E Breakfast Dialogue, Tuesday 17 April 2018.

In his January 2018 letter to CEOs Larry Fink of Blackrock observes that “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose” and argues that “without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential.

The forthcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) changes in Europe will provide a little relief from all those email lists that one seems to belong to without ever remembering where or when you signed up. As the uproar over Facebook and its dealings with Cambridge Analytica show, the regulations might also begin to address some fundamental questions facing our technological society.

Interest and business engagement in the concept and practice of shared value has been gaining ground since it was boosted in 2011 by Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer of the Harvard Business School. 

With their focus on blending commercial and social value, inclusive businesses have long understood the benefit of partnerships to their business models, and such partnerships often involve other businesses, large corporations, as well as NGOs. But what is happening in the current corporate-NGO partnering landscape and what is the direction of travel?

Interest in the impacts of big business on human rights and demands for greater transparency have grown over recent years. The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) is the first-ever ranking of the world's largest publicly listed companies on their human rights performance. Following a methodology developed over two years and in consultation with over 400 companies, industry associations, investors, governments, civil society representatives, academics and lawyers, the final scores of its first pilot will be available in November 2016.  

Judging from the media scrutiny in some quarters, it must be tough being Mark Zuckerberg. Following the birth of his first child, and with thoughts of the world they would grow-up in, the young wealthy entrepreneur, together with his wife, pledges to give away 99% of his Facebook shares to good causes - and finds his altruistic gesture met with scepticism; his motives and intentions questioned.

Those that embark on the philanthropic journey often do so with passion, enthusiasm and above all ambition: no wonder then that at its best, world-wide philanthropy has now become a frontier and incubator of creativity and innovation; helping to drive systemic change, nurturing economic development and scaling up giving.

Corporate–NGO partnerships have become a cornerstone of interaction between businesses and non-profits. 

And when they’re effective, it’s a win–win situation. Businesses feel the warm glow of ‘doing good’ and fulfilling their responsibility agenda (not to mention the positive brand associations they engender), and the NGO benefits from resources, network and reach beyond their own capabilities.

We know from the annual C&E Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer and from practical experience that partnerships between companies and NGOs continue to evolve apace, and they are becoming increasingly strategic. Cash is no longer king. With fundraising shifting from a central role, partnerships are more often about alignment of values and achievement of mission and core objectives.  And as a result they require deeper levels of engagement of stakeholders on all sides.

C&E and The Next Practice share an operational model in newly released paper.