Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

SUSTAIN | Shared Value, GRI & Sustainability

Yesterday Linda participated in a workshop, hosted by RDA Brisbane, about the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The workshop was pitched at non-profit organisations, and as Deputy Chair of RDA Brisbane Linda has been an internal GRI champion. This is consistent with Harbinger’s social and cultural sustainability agenda and service provision. Our work is focused on sustainability as a transformative driver of social and cultural as well as urban and regional development. According to B. Littig and E. Grießler, social sustainability is predicated on the quality of societies and relates to the:

  • satisfaction of an extended set of human needs. (We work with the Max-Neef System of Human Needs.)
  • way that nature and its reproductive capabilities are preserved over a long period of time and the normative claims of social justice, human dignity and participation are fulfilled.

Social and cultural sustainability is about understanding socio-cultural ecologies, networks or systems with a view to human development and wellbeing – rather than approaching sustainability as an end point or process. The GRI provides a framework for measuring impact in a way that promotes an understanding of the economic, environmental and social dimensions of an organisation’s activity. For organisations, it means creating shared value. This is detailed in a report by FSG and “focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress – has the power to unleash the next wave of global growth”. It is about “investments in long-term business competitiveness that simultaneously address social and environmental objectives”. This requires redefining value chains, reconceiving products and services, and strengthening local clusters. And it means rethinking business, articulating an organisational vision for creating shared value and leveraging organisational assets for social innovation. If organisations and companies looked at thier decisions and opportunities through the lens of shared value, it can lead to new approaches that generate greater innovation and growth for companies and also greater benefits for society.


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