Shared value and the power of partnerships

Shared value and the power of partnerships

In our hyperconnected world, global challenges have become a shared experience. None of us escaped the shocks of the pandemic, and the impact of geopolitical tensions is spreading across the globe, straining supply chains and driving up inflation.

While these mega shocks dominate the headlines, millions of people around the world are silently struggling to access education, healthcare and the economic benefits of an emerging digital economy.

Having come together in Davos for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, it was clear that finding solutions to the planet’s toughest challenges is also a shared experience. The theme of Davos 2023 was Cooperation in a Fragmented World – a philosophy that sits at the heart of our purpose.

As an organisation in the business of making global connections, we engaged with senior leaders from governments, industry and civil society to drive forward our commitment to shared-value partnerships. These conversations brought together talent, ideas and resources, with the aim of creating value that benefits wider society.

We must ensure that nobody is left behind.

Taking value creation beyond the balance sheet

The concept of shared value is engrained in our sustainability strategy, Our World, Our Future. As leaders of industry, we have taken the responsibility of shaping the future of our business to ensure we prioritise sustainability. We are transforming trade so that our operations deliver benefits for the planet, its people and the communities we operate in – enhancing employment, elevating local-level infrastructure and positively contributing to GDP.

At Davos 2023, we celebrated our shared value partnership with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. The partnership was formed in Davos three years ago, informed by our role in the World Economic Forum’s supply chain community.

The early days of our partnership with UNICEF were defined by an emergency response to the pandemic. It faced a huge challenge in getting medical supplies and vaccines to vulnerable communities. Our supply chain expertise and logistics reach helped UNICEF deliver the aid required in just 48 hours – including shipping millions of face shields and surgical masks to Delhi, India.

As the impact of the pandemic recedes, our partnership is taking on a broader scope. We are now working together to expand access to quality education and to close the digital divides that exclude so many in low- and middle-income countries from the benefits of the 21st Century economy.

-We’re also working with partners in the shipping industry, taking part in research and developing technology to decarbonise the maritime industry. Our work with the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping engages the entire maritime industry ecosystem to find greener ways to move cargo around the world. On land, we are working with industry partners to develop greener operations at our ports. Using electric vehicles to shuttle containers around terminals is reducing the use of fossil fuels.

We’re also building infrastructure. We started the year with the first stone being laid at the port of Ndayane, Senegal, representing the beginning of our $1 billion investment – the largest single private investment in the history of Senegal. Our existing best-in-class infrastructure in Senegal has already been credited with stimulating a 10% uplift in the country’s GDP growth, and we hope this further investment will reinforce the country’s position as a trade hub in West Africa and further the nation’s development.

The centre of cross-sector collaboration

The World Economic Forum warned that the world is navigating an era of unending crises. To reduce the effects of these, cross-sector collaboration is vital.

In the near future, businesses must shift to creating benefits for wider society and look at how they can build long-term resilience and independence in communities. Shared value principles must become the priority for corporations and governments alike. Our discussions at Davos 2023 – from UNICEF to UN Women and more – can be the catalyst that sparks a new era of cross-sector collaboration.

Our core theme of Transforming Trade Together connects, on many levels, with the Davos 2023 theme of Cooperation in Fragmented World. Global trade will be a vital enabler as we seek to ensure everyone shares in the opportunities of the digital economy, which will underpin the sustainable future we are building.

Business is shifting from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism. The leaders who assembled at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 are at the forefront of forming those vital links between enterprise, opportunity and value for wider society.

By transforming global trade together, we can begin to reconnect our fragmented world.