We all value a healthy and productive landscape
The scale of Australia’s agricultural, water, and environmental challenges - like waste, declining biodiversity and drought, demand a multi-stakeholder approach. Challenges like these require system changes, a range of capabilities and re-thinking of our roles to share stewardship.
Industry, the corporate sector, financial institutions, community and Indigenous organisations, researchers, philanthropy and government all bring unique value to solving complex challenges like these. By partnering we can bring more ideas, expertise, innovation and flexibility to the table and better coordinate and align public and private efforts.
All sectors, including us as government, continue to have core roles and responsibilities. Partnering allows us to complement these efforts, to innovate and boost the scale of our collective impact.
What we mean by partnering
When we talk about partnering, we mean collaborative relationships where partners work together to help achieve common objectives. Partnering arrangements should be fit-for-purpose to create additional environmental, social, cultural and economic value. They are about mobilising the unique value and resources that partners bring, whether these be financial or non-financial, to solve problems and achieve outcomes.
© The Partnership Brokers Association
Momentum for partnering is growing
Businesses are recognising the value of nature to their operations and their customers. They are seeing the business opportunities and business solutions in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals – including through responsible business operations, new business models, investment, innovation and technology, and collaboration. Through initiatives like the Natural Capital Protocol, businesses are looking to better understand and value natural capital and build sustainability into their decision-making and business strategies, policies and practices to both manage risks and pursue opportunities.
Governments across Australia are pursuing nationally consistent environmental-economic accounts. This work will improve our understanding of the interactions between the economy and the environment, and enable better informed decisions and delivery of improved environmental, social and economic outcomes.
Through socially responsible investment approaches, investors integrate non-financial factors like environmental, social and governance concerns into the investment process. In this way, they might favour investing in organisations that reduce, or do not contribute to, negative environmental impacts, or exclude those not aligned with a sustainable approach. Investments like these are growing in Australian portfolios as part of a global trend.
In philanthropy, groups are pooling their donations and deciding together how and where to disperse funds, along with providing capacity building expertise to the causes they support. Philanthropic donors might also combine their environmental funding with interests in improving outcomes in areas like health, youth or Indigenous communities to have a positive impact on multiple issues. There is also movement by trusts and foundations to complement their granting activities with impact investments which provides opportunities to maximise outcomes and maintain or grow their endowment for future good work.
Using digital media and both grass roots and national and international networks, civil society organisations are effectively mobilising communities behind positive change. Not-for-profits organisations are important partners in raising awareness and in enabling on-ground action and delivery of projects. The people power of volunteers is significant, with environment and conservation rating as the third highest sector that volunteers would be interested in volunteering for in the future (State of Volunteering in Australia, 2016).
These are just a few examples that show the points of intersection between the objectives, interests and values of a broad range of sectors. There are lots of opportunities to partner on outcomes of mutual interest.
Text version of infographic
Transactional relationships involve service delivery, sub-contracted work, funding relationships and transferred risk. Whereas partnerships involve co-created activities, mutual accountability, complex relationships and shared risk. Brokering partnerships involves helping transactional partnerships become genuine partnerships, where appropriate, and being clear about re-positioning transactional relationships that are described as partnerships.