Message from the Director – Creating shared value through collaboration

The IM4DC Alumni Forum in July and mining conferences in August and September have demonstrated how Australia and its partner countries in energy, minerals and development are collaborating to help create ‘shared value’.

Shared value is a concept introduced by Professor Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer of Harvard University in 2011. It involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs, aspirations and challenges. Creating shared value requires business, government and community to engage closely with each other and for each to contribute. The World Economic Forum has developed its Mineral Value Management tool to enhance understanding of the drivers of value in mining.

Creating value for the community was the dominant theme at the Alumni Forum (see Highlights report here). As ICMM’s Dr Anthony Hodge pointed out, however, mining industry (and government) engagement with the community at grassroots level to create value by reducing poverty is not easy. He said that often the result is that the rich get richer faster than the poor get richer, so that the gap between rich and poor becomes wider as a result. He urged a ‘bottom-up’ approach to community engagement and poverty reduction to achieve effectiveness.

Representatives of community, government, industry and universities at the Alumni Forum discussed approaches to delivering real benefits to communities from mining so as to build support for mining activities in subnational regions and nations. The outcomes of their discussions are summarised in the Alumni Forum 2014 Highlights.

Presentations at both the Africa Down Under conference and the IMARC conference underlined how the Australian mining industry has globalised and become very diverse. Australian mining companies and firms supplying mining equipment, technology and services (METS) are now operating in all parts of the globe. But discussions at these conferences were broader than simply Australia’s investment and trade interests. They want to show how partner countries and firms and institutions from Australia can collaborate to deliver long term benefits for all – or shared value.

Discussion about collaborations went further than narrow economic outcomes. For example, there was deep discussion about how the mining industry can contribute to the control of Ebola Virus Disease and other infectious diseases in Africa; there were presentations on how mining companies are contributing to local economic development outside mining; and the launch of the IM4DC Handbook 50 pieces of advice to an official who is engaged in the negotiation on mining contracts in association with the Government of Cameroon, highlighted how African Governments are increasingly seeking shared value outcomes from mining.

The discussions of recent months have underlined how the Australian Government’s economic diplomacy agenda, and the aid program within that, are aligning Australia’s global interests with the aspirations of developing countries and communities by supporting the creation of broad-based shared value.

IM4DC, as an agent for sustainable mining achieved though good governance, is proud to be leading the way in helping its Alumni and partner institutions lead transformational change to deliver long-term economic and social benefits from mining.