Collectively addressing societal challenges
An international scientist says New Zealand can solve many of its social problems by encouraging cooperation between government, local charities, and the private sector, and is well positioned to provide a greater role in emergency response and specific health challenges in the Pacific region.
Dr Lisa Bonadonna was in New Zealand to brief CEOs and Government Ministers on the benefits of collaboration in solving a range of health, education and social issues.
Bonadonna says there is a body of evidence globally which suggests one sector on its own cannot effectively address these societal challenges, something reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals call for cross sector partnerships. She says New Zealand corporations can adopt a ‘shared value’ strategy by recognising business opportunities in addressing social problems.
“While traditional philanthropy and corporate social responsibility efforts emphasise ‘giving back’, the shared value approach focuses business leaders on the competitive and sustainable value of solving social issues. “In collaboration with governments and NGOs, companies can use their particular expertise and scale to implement real change in society,” she says in a statement.
The economic benefits for the corporate sector include talent recruitment and retention, opening of new markets, access to new customers, more relevant innovation, as well as brand recognition for their efforts.
Dr Bonadonna, is employed by GSK and leads the global partnership with Save the Children with the objective of helping to save the lives of one million children with activities in 41 countries – including some in the Pacific Islands.
She delivered a briefing outlining a structure under which cooperation can be effectively facilitated across key sectors in an economy including ways in which corporations can help in the social sector and how globally, businesses are using their resources to help achieve social outcomes.
During any natural disaster, conflict or emergency setting it is the children who suffer most. “One way we help Save the Children is to provide the resource they need to be able to deploy within the first 72 hours – the critical time phase if lives are to be saved.
“By pre-approving emergency response funds in advance, and supporting the establishment of Emergency Health Units, those on the front line are better prepared and have more immediate access to the resources they need to do their job,” she says.
Bonadonna says alongside disaster relief, health and nutrition, training, and education are all key areas where it makes sense for Governments, NGOs and private companies to come together and collectively solve problems in a more sustainable way.
Dr Lisa Bonadonna