Monday, 30 March 2020
IMARC 2019: Dr Graeme Hancock, General Manager – Social Performance, Newcrest Mining
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IMARC 2019: Dr Graeme Hancock, General Manager – Social Performance, Newcrest Mining

Dr Graeme Hancock, General Manager – Social Performance, Newcrest Mining presented at IMARC 2019 last week on “It starts with us: Responsibility, leadership and trust in the digital age”. Graeme provided a context of where historically the industry has left gaps in terms of corporate social responsibility and the benefits for both companies and communities with moving to a shared value model.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The purpose of CSR from the viewpoint of a company is to secure access to land and resources, or some reputational benefit such as social licence to operate. Historically CSR took a unidirectional method of donor-recipient relationship model. This model can be problematic as projects lack reciprocity, other than in terms of securing continuous operations.

The risks associated with poorly designed CSR include communities reducing their view of the miner as merely a donor rather than as a partner or source of opportunity; creating a long-term dependence on the miner and a hand-out mentality within the community. This can potentially become a threat to sustainable social closure outcomes.

Shared Value

The central premise behind shared value is that:

“The competitiveness of a company and the health of the communities around it are mutually dependent. Recognising and capitalising on these connections between societal and economic progress has the power to unleash the next wave of global growth.”

This requires a shared vision between the company and the community. Graeme noted, “It’s not philanthropy; it’s good business”. The primary objective is to build a positive working relationship based on a shared vision. Once companies cease from a donor-recipient relationship model, they open the possibility of creating a symbiotic relationship wherein both parties see increased benefits.

How is Shared Value different from CSR?

Unlike the donor-recipient relationship model of CSR, the shared value model’s main objective is to build positive working relationships based on a shared vision, identifies and supports those community aspirations which align with business objectives and supports independent and resilient communities.

The shared value model recognises that communities need to leverage off operations to create their own future and facilitates the creation of economic ecosystems around operations. This requires commitment and investment from the community, not just the company.

What needs to change?

Corporate consistency in terms of investments and shared value propositions are essential. If a company loses a community’s trust, it takes so much more to regain it. Therefore, companies need to develop institutional arrangements internally that focus on listening rather than doing. “It’s not about doing things to them or doing things for them; it’s about doing things with the community”, said Graeme.

It is essential that businesses take the time to understand what the community needs rather than assume and give up preconceived ideas about what this specific community requires. Companies also need to change their approach and ensure they take the time to engage and develop at a rate consistent with the capacity of the community.

How you do it is just as important, or more important, than the fact you do it.”

In order to achieve these changes in community engagement there needs to be a core corporate foundation established. This foundation should involve creating fit-for-purpose engagement frameworks to develop shared vision projects, community development committees and creating appropriate partnership arrangements for joint project implementation.

Graeme urged attendees to take a unique approach with each community they work alongside and that both parties will benefit from moving to a shared value model that considers the context of the community and how this impacts their core values and needs.

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