Companies could go it alone on sustainable goals if charities fail to work effectively with them, report warns

A failure to establish successful partnerships between charities and private companies could result in corporates deciding to go it alone to meet sustainable development goals, a new report warns.

The paper, which has been published by the leadership advisory and search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, says meeting the aims of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals by 2030 will require greater co-operation and collaboration between the commercial and social impact sectors.

“Without effective partnerships between the social and private sectors, the SDGs will not be met,” says the report, which is based on interviews with 14 leaders including chief executives of global NGOs, public sector officials and partnerships professionals.

“Failure to establish successful partnerships may result in commercial organisations determining that they can meet their SDG obligations alone.

“This misses an opportunity to address these challenges comprehensively.”

The report says: “To fully realise the benefits of such partnerships, organisations and leaders from both sides must go beyond the traditional philanthropic model to leverage the unique culture and capabilities that each side brings to the effort to create a shared value model.

The report makes recommendations including that charities try to develop a “pro-partnerships culture”, which recognises the mutual benefits of partnership and helps foster trust with commercial partners.

It also says they should be clear and specific about any value propositions, which helps to ensure that decisions are focused on maximum impact rather than individual organisational need.

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