Old Mutual Limited has underscored its commitment to Responsible Business at the 2019 Africa Shared Value Summit by calling for the widespread strategic implementation of the Shared Value business model, or profit with a purpose, across the African continent.

As a signatory to the United Nations-backed Global Compact, Old Mutual’s Responsible Business framework specifically advocates for responsible investing, responsible environmental management and responsible behaviour towards customers, employees and communities. The 2019 Africa Shared Value Summit, which takes place from 23-24 May in Nairobi, Kenya, will focus on the importance of Shared Value ecosystems in driving Africa’s business growth.

“Old Mutual’s commitment to creating Shared Value is embodied in our Responsible Business approach which seeks to align our operational business goals with the broader challenge of finding solutions to society’s challenges,” said Dot Field, General Manager for Corporate Affairs at Old Mutual Limited. “It is simply not sustainable for businesses to focus solely on commercial success and profitability. Sustainable business requires the seamless integration of social and environmental objectives into one’s business strategies to ensure long-term sustainability and value creation.”

Shared Value invites businesses to rethink their relationship with society by integrating the concepts of inclusive growth, equality, impactful investing, social justice, care for the environment and sustainable capitalism into the profit-driven model in order to ensure its long-term survival and sustainability. The Shared Value philosophy was first introduced in a 2011 Harvard Business Review article, co-authored by Mark Kramer [who will speak at this year’s Shared Value Summit], which highlighted the interdependence between social progress and business growth. The concept has since grown into a worldwide movement that seeks to propel the socioeconomic role of business to the center of its strategic thinking.

“Business can no longer be a passive observer to the multitude of socioeconomic and environmental challenges that beset the world,” said Field. “Its long-term sustainability and growth depend upon its ability to embrace the concept of profit with a purpose by becoming an active participant in bringing about positive social change.”

During its 174-year history Old Mutual has built a strong reputation for operating as a diligent Responsible Business with bold and mutually beneficial, value-adding strategies. The company’s decision to move its primary listing from London to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in 2018 not only signalled a return to its African roots but was also a major step towards facilitating more inclusive economic growth and sustainability in Africa.

As a responsible custodian of client savings and an advocate for more socially inclusive, low-carbon and resource-efficient economic growth, Old Mutual has the ability to materially impact the African economy through its day-to-day business activities. As part of this drive for more inclusive, sustainable economic growth Old Mutual has already directed more than $8 billion (R120 billion) towards driving shared value on the African continent. This includes:

  • more than $6 billion paid in claims and benefits to it’s clients;
  • $1.35 billion invested in affordable housing and infrastructure projects across the continent;
  • $2.28 billion invested in renewable energy initiatives;
  • $69.7 million invested in sustainable agriculture;
  • $34.85 million invested in small business; and
  • $104.55 million invested in education

“Our role as a responsible custodian of our clients’ savings also enables us to deploy funds into strategic investments that not only deliver returns for our investors but also help fuel the economy by delivering critical infrastructure such as schools, housing and more,” said Field. “Of course that comes with a great responsibility to ensure that our investment decisions also incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it also makes good investment sense, which is precisely what Shared Value is all about.”

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