The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that business as usual is not an option in times of crisis. How do businesses react to this crisis? In the past issues of CLUED-iN we looked at this topic from different perspectives that tackled aspects like leadership, skills, financing and resilience. These previous articles also exposed the vivacity and limitations of local and global value chains. All these aspects have one thing in common: the perspective! We always looked at it from the individual company, single business or distinct government perspective. The fact that we are all connected nowadays and that we have to cooperate in one way or the other is very often part of the story. However, we never explicitly examined the potential of collaboration. That is why you will find in this issue a set of remarkable contributions from companies and networks that highlight the potential of collaboration. Some of the featured partnerships are new, some of them have existed for several decades, some focus on peer collaboration, and some reach across sectors.
In the interview with Filippo Veglio from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), you hear from one of the pioneers of inclusive business the need for systems transformation and how 40 CEOs of multinational companies committed themselves to reinventing capitalism in their new Vision 2050 agenda. For some it is hard to believe that such big companies sincerely would change the way they do business, as their model allowed them to become successful. Are things really changing or is it just window dressing? Luciana Aguiar from Business Call to Action is convinced that value creation and sustainability have become more than just a ‘nice to have’ for companies. In her interview you can also read about how MasterCard tied executive pay to ESG indicators.
Luciana also drives home the point of cross-pollination across platforms and comes to a similar conclusion as Royston Braganza, the CEO of Grameen Capital India, who talks about the need for collaboration of coalitions and the importance of not reinventing the wheel. We just don’t have the time for it. He also shares in this interview the exciting story of how Grameen Capital was actually able to set up the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Impact Bonds while collaborating with other social investors.
Karoline Heitmann and Nicolas Malmendier from EVPA illustrate and highlight the potential of collaboration between companies and corporate social investors through examples from Schneider Electric, Rabo Foundation and Renault Mobilize.
Charlene Collison, from Forum for the Future brings to you examples from the cotton industry that show the benefit of collaborative initiatives for companies. She also stresses the need to develop new business models and the potential peers could have when they “re-think” together.
Another sector that is featured in this issue is the cocoa sector, as Andrew Brooks from OLAM Cocoa discusses the “living income reference value” for cocoa farmers. The development of such benchmarks was only possible through a coalition of peers.
All of the contributions in this issue point at the potential of collaboration and the impact that could be achieved. The question remains: Why are we not collaborating more often? The same dilemma can be observed in the field of development cooperation. Looking back at 25 years working in and with developing countries, I know for sure that the projects that have been most successful are those that have been planned in a participatory manner and they were most impactful when implemented with various partners, each bringing their own strength to the table.
Time and speed are of the essence when we have to go up against new challenges. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed that our systems are not prepared to deal with such shocks. At the same time, we can also experience what can be achieved if we work together. Nobody would have thought that the development of a new vaccine could be achieved within a few months.
Covid-19 has disrupted the way we live and the way the economy functions. This disruption also requires new disruptive collaborations. In the past we often collaborated because we wanted to. In the future, if we want to live within the boundaries of our Earth and abolish inequalities we should collaborate because we have to!
Enjoy this issue!