More than 100 corporate community investment professionals gathered in Melbourne on Tuesday for the LBG Annual Conference hosted by Australia Post. With a range of national and international speakers, the event provided an opportunity to reflect on the impact of corporate investment in the community over the past 12 months and explore the continued evolution of LBG.
Read our wrap up of the sessions below and watch out for a special update with details of the five special Social Impact Stories shared on the day by ANZ, Yarra Trams, Geelong Football Club, Australia Post and Linklaters coming soon!
Australia Post delivers local approach to global goals
Nicole Sheffield, the newly appointed Executive General Manager, Community and Consumer at Australia Post outlined the organisation’s approach to tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Speaking about the $3.2 billion direct economic contribution the organisation made in 2017, Nicole said the LBG framework helped Australia Post calculate a total community benefit of $12.8 million in cash investments, employee volunteer hours and in-kind donations.
Wide range of sectors now represented in LBG
The Chair of LBG in the UK, Matt Sparkes, joined the conference from London and spoke about the simultaneous growth and evolution of LBG. He said the work included the development of deeper partnerships, new collaborations and stronger technologies to deliver maximum value for LBG members in Australasia and around the world. He also outlined plans for the future, which are being developed in close consultation with the Australian and UK Steering Groups.
He finished with a call to members to consider their purchasing through an LBG lens: “If you’re not doing something through an LBG member, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”
Team shares insights from LBG data and State of CCI Survey
Members of the Corporate Citizenship team, who manage LBG, provided insights into the State of CCI exploring changes to the LBG framework, highlights from the LBG benchmarking results as well as emerging trends.
Australia and New Zealand LBG members contribute an extra $54 million to community programs. Corporate Citizenship’s,Jennifer Saunders, shared insights from the Annual Benchmark Review which saw members contribute more than $279 million to community impact programs. Jennifer also outlined highlights from the State of CCI Survey. While the overall contribution was up by $54.5 million, the investment in Indigenous programs decreased by $2 million.
Australian companies focus on partnerships for global goals. Corporate Citizenship’s Celia Fowler provided attendees with an overview of how Australian companies are embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Drawing on data from the State of CCI Survey, she revealed that nearly half of respondents found their CCI activities didn’t align with SDGs. While there is significant room for improvement across the goals, Celia revealed that Goal #17 focused on partnerships has become a common focus for companies and highlights the collaborative effort among companies focused on CCI.
Evolving LBG framework to allow companies to measure two new routes to impact. Simon Robinson, Director of Corporate Citizenship, launched a new report into the fourth generation of the LBG framework and outlined two new routes to impact, Business Innovation for Social Impact and Procurement for Social Impact.
Exchange of ideas during networking sessions
A key highlight of the annual LBG conference is the connecting, learning and sharing that occurs when members meet and share insights and ideas from their programs. The 2018 Conference provided a number of opportunities for members to connect and learn from each other including the popular Social Impact Stories.
Connecting customers with social impact data
Co-founder of the Social Footprint Index, Adam Barsky explained how their new app is giving consumers the information they want and need to know about a company’s social impact in order to make informed purchase decisions. He added that in order to rebuild trust between consumers and companies there needed to be greater transparency in data sharing as well as independent research. Plans for the Social Footprint Index could see it reach 2.2 million new customers and 80,000 institutions in coming years.
Courage critical to changing the world
Dina Pozzo from Leading with Courage explored the courage required to tackle significant social issues in conversation with Sara Parrott from Suncorp, Katherine Ellis from Inclusive Australia and Jenni Mulligan co-founder of iSystain. Among a range of topics, the group explored how to encourage your senior leaders to act more courageously and the importance of timing when considering major innovations and changes. The panel of senior CCI also revealed the importance of ‘nano acts’ and how gaining feedback from the community is essential.
Australian and UK Chairs stand side by side on growth of LBG
The conference provided an opportunity to hear from both LBG Steering Group Chairs: Susan Mizrahi, Chair of the LBG Steering Group in Australia and Head of Corporate Responsibility at Australia Post and Matt Sparkes, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Linklaters and Chair, LBG UK. Both explored the growth of LBG around the world and how both groups are working closely together to advance the movement.
Making your company a better investment
Jill Riseley, International Associate with Corporate Citizenship led a panel with Ed John from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, Bryce Doherty from UBS Asset Management, Australia and New Zealand and Ingrid Player from Healthscope. The senior leaders in the investment community highlighted the immense changes to ethical investment in the business world. They also agreed that investments with strong ESG credentials provide better long-term investment outcomes. While the group agreed more ESG research is needed to provide investment companies with relevant data, they highlighted how new sources of information such as GlassDoor are providing deeper insights into company behaviour and informing investment decisions.
Workshops put learnings into action
Attendees participated in three different workshops during the afternoon exploring programs for purpose, emerging trends in CCI and the development of online tools to support collection of impact data. The sessions provided an opportunity for CCI professionals to learn from each other and explore key lessons from the panels and keynotes.