Impact Summit Calls For Cross Sectoral Collaboration
3 October 2013 at 12:37 pm
Representatives of business, government and the Not for Profit sector highlighted the role of cross-sectoral and transnational collaboration in advancing community development to open the 2013 Asia Pacific Corporate Community Impact Summit in Sydney.
The invitation-only summit brings together over a hundred corporate leaders from Australia and abroad to address their roles as regional corporate citizens.
The keynote speaker was academic Michael Wesley, National Security Professor from the Australian National University, who spoke about Australia-Asia relations and the links between economic prosperity and social stability and advancement.
He spotlighted education as an important social issue to address in Asia-Pacific nations.
“The societies of our region are very diverse but united by one important value, and that is value on education.
“These values have made them invest heavily, which is a good thing, but does come with a sting in the tail, because educated people need opportunities.
“If you have a mismatch between education and opportunity, you get a great deal of dissatisfaction,” Wesley said.
Corporates, he said, will need to consider extending the scope of their community impact programs.
"It will take a great deal of thinking beyond traditional models of corporate social responsibility,” he said.
A Not for Profit perspective was provided by Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide.
Responding to the earlier speakers, Gallagher touched on the importance of transnationality and said the economic transformation happening today was both regional and global.
He said the major challenge for a Not for Profit like United Way working for social impact was organisational – assessing what could be managed through broader networks and what needed to stay locally focused for maximum benefit.
Gallagher said the healthiest communities, whether local, national, regional or worldwide always had three things in common.
Echoing Michael Wesley, the first was jobs that allow people to live and make enough money to sustain themselves. The second was effective government at all scales, and the third, community interaction.
Again mirroring Wesley, he emphasised the ongoing universal importance of early childhood development and education as issues to address, spotlighting the fact they did not require ideological or political argument, or science to prove their worth.
Earlier, the Government was represented by Gary Powell, Assistant Director General of the Civil Society and Business Branch at AusAID.
He spoke of the department’s partnership with cruise company Carnival Australia, represented at the summit by Peter Taylor, Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
The summit is hosted by the Australian chapter of United Way, a global Not for Profit working to boost community development.
In Australia, 3000 United Way volunteers support 300 community organisations, focused on three key areas: Education, Health and Income.
United Way is the world’s largest privately funded Not for Profit, operating in 41 countries worldwide.
Further topics to be covered at the summit include best practice for corporate impact and corporate engagement, UN Global Compact principles and their implication for Australian corporations, and the challenges of working in the Asia-Pacific region.