“We are living and working in a time where new approaches are being explored to achieve change in society for equality and the environment – we need another way for society to recognise value.”
Social Value International’s annual conference this year has been dubbed: Critical Mass. The energetic discussion and advances in the global Social Value movement has reached a tipping point. The public, private and civil society sectors are poised for a major breakthrough in recognising ways we can achieve greater social value. In a room packed with investors, bankers, entrepreneurs, NFP, Government and media from more than 34 countries worldwide – we heard a resounding agreeing “hmm” sound to the sentiment, “we cannot keep doing what we have done so far, we have to change. We need another way for society to recognise value.”
Throughout the day challenges were shared openly and recognised as an important chance to advance the movement and actionate the glittering rhetoric surrounding Social Value the world over. Achieving this change, which includes a bottom up approach and the 50 million shades of grey in trying to find a definition of value – or at least get an idea of what that looks like collectively – is heavily reliant on open communications, honesty, strong relationships and acknowledging the challenges if we want to progress this conversation to business as usual.
Key note speaker Antony Bugg-Levine opened with: “fans of British rugby can appreciate you can’t win all the time” to a resounding sore “oooh” sound.
He warned of the four dangers the movement faces:
Futility – giving up when the world finally shows up
Expediency – mission overriding business plan
Timidity – don’t take for granted, be bold
Comfort – the temptations of slightly higher salary
Adding his own 5th danger: Self-righteousness – fight obsolete dogmas and outdated ideologies.
Entrepreneur Diane Verde Nieto from Positive Luxury said: the meaning of value is different to different people, a company doesn’t need to be perfect – it needs to be honest. People are looking for brands that reflect their values.
Rodney Irwin from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development urged: “Don’t leave it to those who ‘have a conscience’ the shift needs to be in education. The next generation needs to be taught sustainable business. Business as usual is not sustainable.
Jan Owen spoke of the greatest opportunity for impact investing as: the sharing economy, we are in a transition globally – so what are the things that bind our thinking together.
A call for Clarity was a heated conversation around transparency between funders and fundees and how to talk to each other in a way that encourages partnerships. Holger Westphrey remarked: We need to look at, what are the characteristics of social investment? We are currently still running on a lot of old systems that weren’t designed for that sort of information.
Rob Schwartz gave us the ‘in a nutshell’ when he said: find an organisation you share values with, a good relationship is fundamental to your success.
Top tweets of the day!
Interesting from Jan Owen ‘we need to be more sophisticated – not necessarily the same as more business like’ #criticalmass15
Our critical Mass journal will be reporting some highlights from the annual Social Value International Conference. Stay tuned for more in-depth articles covering each area and interviews with some key Social Value masterminds! And follow us on Twitter for live updates during the day…