- Jun 12, 2014
When Hewlett Packard (HP) Canada and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada partnered to create the WWF Living Planet @Work Championed by HP program, they were able to accomplish more than either could alone.
In fact, the program, which encourages organizations to adopt sustainable business practices and employee giving to conservation projects, engaged hundreds of companies and raised more than $500,000 for WWF-Canada’s conservation efforts within a few years.
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It’s an example of the success that can come from collaborative partnerships between businesses and not-for-profit organizations, which was the focus of an Ivey Idea Forum in Toronto on June 4 called Partnering for Sustainability: The Secret to Extraordinary Impact.
Frances Edmonds, Director of Environmental Programs at HP Canada, and Adrienne Lo, Manager of Employee Engagement for WWF Canada, discussed the highlights and challenges of their partnership. Additionally, Barbara Gray, a researcher with the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), and Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei shared best practices for creating collaborative partnerships and the benefits of partnerships.
“Partnerships are really an important tool for creating the future we really want. They help us to step into other disciplines and occupations and provide us with multiple ideas on how to solve today’s problems,” said Branzei. “Partnerships have a leverage effect. They allow us to tap into this collective strength and achieve the impossible.”
Gray made four recommendations for creating collaborative partnerships:
- Choose your partners wisely – Your partner should have your interests as well as its own interests at heart
- Design an effective process – Plan in advance how you’ll face each other when you don’t agree
- Search for joint gains – Find a solution that allows both partners to walk away with success
- Do better than compromise – Each partner should respect and try to meet the other’s goals so you find fair solutions that meet the goals of both partners
“Look very carefully at who the other partner is and what they bring to the table. If you don’t have something different, there’s nothing to trade,” she said.
The event was based on the NBS Executive Report, Sustainability through Partnerships, which provides guidance on how to select the right partner and manage the partnership process.