Written by Nicolas Sauviat
It’s been six months since I started my journey at Shared Value Initiative Hong Kong. And what an experience it has been! I witnessed the impressive growth of the thriving social innovation start-up – promoting Creating Shared Value (CSV) and guiding our corporate members on their Shared Value journey.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions
During my stay in Hong Kong, I lived through many unprecedented and challenging events. Protests against the extradition bill were followed by the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic and their respective ongoing consequences for business and society. Over the last year, disruption has progressively become a normal part of life in Hong Kong. This stressful climate, however, has generated some important reflections and has triggered an epiphany: business cannot thrive without society.
In this context, SVIHK’s work is more essential now than ever. The protests and the coronavirus epidemic have emphasised the need to rethink the old models, in Hong Kong and worldwide. We are now at a turning point where ‘business as usual’ is no longer viable. New solutions are needed: solutions that build societal resilience and ensure a more sustainable future for every stakeholder.
This is why – even in the middle of the protests – SVIHK held our largest event yet, CREATIVE COLLISION. The highly interactive event convened 130+ participants from business, civil society and the public sector and showcased Shared Value as a roadmap for the transition to inclusive and sustainable growth. The outstanding feedback for the event, which I helped organise, strengthened my perception of a mindset change from businesses. It also confirmed my belief that Shared Value was the way forward by bringing innovative solutions while fostering trust within society.
Forging my own Shared Value journey
As I watched the young organisation grow, I learnt a lot. New member companies kept joining and our team nearly doubled in size. I feel very grateful to have been part of this success story.
Working in a start-up can be challenging but it is rewarding. I handled numerous projects including redesigning the introduction workshop for new members and preparing strategic content to coordinating a flagship event.
Working for SVIHK also gave me the chance to work in a field I am passionate about: social innovation. Having worked in many types of organisations – be it NGOs or businesses – I was looking to find the balance between them. SVIHK, with both its business and societal aspects, was therefore an ideal continuation to my previous experiences.
Furthermore, I was looking for new insights into sustainability. During my SVIHK experience, I had the chance to liaise with leaders in corporate and social affairs and professionals from a wide range of institutional backgrounds -multinationals, consultancies, NGOs, government, startups, universities, etc. – and to represent SVIHK at many social innovation events. All these interactions have refined my understanding on many rising topics that will be critical for my career’s goals, such as design and systems thinking, as well as impact investment and measurement.
As I leave SPVHK, I feel ever more driven towards achieving a better global future. I will continue to forge my career path in sustainability with a strong belief that the private sector can rise to the occasion – bringing much needed scalability to sustainability.
About Nicolas Sauviat
Nicolas is a current MSc in International Business student at the University of Aston. His key areas of interests are sustainability and change management.