Global forum on Creating Shared Value highlights ‘Prajāva’
Gathering participants from 25 countries, English Tea Shop which has been in the forefront of the organic tea industry in Sri Lanka in infusing Prajāva (community) through Creating Shared Value CSV, highlighted how sustainable business impact is deeply rooted in social and environmental impact at a global forum on ‘Celebrating Prajāva’ at the Galle Face Hotel recently. The importance of realising the need to create economic value competitively while emphasizing sustainability gained added fillip as nearly all key industry players gathered at a common forum to share ideas, debate and discuss tools for the future of the industry.
President of The Great Game of Business, Rich Armstrong elaborated on the concept of Open Book Management through the Great Game of Business as a fundamental tool for effective CSV. Augmenting ideas and thought lines into the discussion were Managing Director of Best Group New Delhi Nitesh Jain, Founder Partners of Echo Brand Designs UK Nick Dorman and Nigel Ritchie, COO of Spider PR UK Michelle Butler and Member of the Visiting Faculty of INSEAD Business School France & CEO, Global Strategic Corporate Sustainability Dr Ravi Fernando. Senior Lecturer from Harvard Business School and co-author of the renowned seminal article Creating Shared Value Professor Mark Kramer shared insights via a video address.
CEO of English Tea Shop Suranga Herath commented that while businesses know they should be more socially, environmentally and financially sustainable, they often can’t find the motivation to make it a priority. “This got us thinking – how can we encourage businesses to start facilitating growth because of sustainability? Prajāva meaning community, was the answer. Prajāva in a business is about a mindset change where a business goes from thinking of itself as part of the community, to being the center of it. It is by striving to be the heart and soul of a community that we can serve it better, and by doing so, grow sustainably.”
The forum underlined Industry 4.0 – the digital revolution which has brought total disruption to livelihood and businesses everywhere. “Prajāva is in the forefront even with Industry 4.0,” states Herath. “It emphasizes the need for a continuous cycle of improvement, collaboration and networking across the value chain as a lifeline. It also demands greater governance, authenticity and transparency, uses technology as means for greater lifestyles, is very people centric and demands for purposeful businesses and brands.”
The findings of an English Tea Shop case study on CSV were presented by a team from the Post Graduate Institute of Management, while Senior Partner and Head of Advisory, Ernst & Young Arjuna Herath was tasked with launching the English Tea Shop’s Employee Share Ownership Plan, yet another first. The initiative paves the way for a broad based ownership structure as a natural next step towards sustainability and succession, driving performance and business continuity upon a strong foundation of consistent sustainable performance and long term prospects.