Our first GivingForum North was held at Yorkshire Building Society on the 10th September in Leeds. We were fortunate enough to be joined by many senior CSR professionals from all over the North of England, ranging from Scotland, Leeds, Newcastle and more. They were all very much excited to be at the launch of GivingForum North, as well to be part of an event that would be discussing a very current topic of a Shared Value Approach and its impact on CSR.

The event began with welcoming remarks from Ejaz, CEO and Founder of GivingForce, followed by a warm welcome from Tanya Jackson from YBS. Following this, there was an informative presentation from Leigh Thompson & Crystal Hicks: Beyond CSR: Moving to a mutually beneficial Shared Value Approach. Their presentation included a clear definition of what a Shared Value approach is and how it differs from conventional CSR. Leigh put across a compelling argument on why businesses should be considering this approach and gave recommendations on how they could start to implement this within their own businesses. Further discussions covered why a Shared Value Approach needs to be integrated into current business strategy, as well as what benefits can come from this approach.

Crystal Hicks complemented Leigh’s presentation with real-life examples of how and why they had implemented a Shared Value Approach at Oasis Social Housing, along with its impact on the business and its stakeholders. Tanya presented how YBS have reevaluated their strategy internally and have implemented a Shared Value Approach that was designed around purpose, creating a business strategy unique to the company.

Post presentation, interactive discussions were held for attendees to discuss what a Shared Value Approach could mean within their own businesses. An interesting conclusion made was the level of fluidity and complexity in the term. Every business is uniquely placed to tackle societal issues, varying across cultures and regions, and thus their approaches and methods to implementing Shared Value Approach would differ greatly. There is no ‘one size fits all approach’ when implementing a Shared Value Approach.

Debates were also made around the potential challenges that could arise when implementing a Shared Value Approach. Recognizing a cultural shift, for example, was a key point shared by many in the room, with particular emphasis on how this can be managed. Several attendees also considered how the purpose of business may differ regionally, and consequently whether it can be possible to have a unitary Shared Value Approach that is relevant to all aspects of the organization.

The event concluded with an informal networking session – including drinks and canapés provided by YBS. Guests and speakers were invited to continue the conversation and make connections with others within the CSR sector.

Interesting in coming to our next GivingForum?

Register your interest below.