24 April 2013

The Business of Creating Social Dividends

I don’t know anything about the science of ecology, but that doesn’t mean I can’t apply my own brand of expertise to making a significant difference to the environment.

As Business Development Manager of Greening Australia, it may seem strange that my background is actually in the seemingly unrelated fields of oil and finance. However, it’s because of this background that I’m now able to offer an insight not typically available in NGOs. For instance, I’m good at understanding the financial implications of the work we do and talking to business about that in terms of return on investment. I’m also good at managing the interactions with key stakeholders while recognising the complex interaction between food, water and energy. These things are key to ensuring positive outcomes.

So why the major career deviation? Simply because applying my corporate skills to creating a meaningful social dividend is something that, today, I place a huge importance on. This need to do good is something that often materialises following the completion of academic qualifications. Some people experience that calling early in their careers. Others like myself experience it later. Whatever the timing, creating this dividend represents a great opportunity.

Importantly, many of those with finely-tuned corporate or professional skill sets have a lot to offer. Maybe it’s their ability to innovate or overcome difficult obstacles, or provide access to networks and the opportunities those networks can engender. It’s all about asking the question: how do I assist in creating a social dividend through the work I do? How do I align my skills to provide that capacity within organisations or industry?

It’s a question I love inspiring others to consider. Indeed, what particularly appeals to me is the chance to provide that insight to students as they’re going through their university studies, to get them to think about it as part of their natural career progression. My on-going involvement with The University of Sydney, including my central role with the Business School’s Capstone project on the business of doing good, is one such opportunity.

Author: Chris Andrew – Business Development Manager - Greening Australia

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