New report highlights benefits of NGO partnerships for companies

Source: The Nordic Partnership, 3 February 2004

A new report from the Nordic Partnership takes the temperature of business/NGO partnerships in the Nordic region one year after the 2002 Johannesburg Summit. The report, A New Era of Nordic Partnerships for Sustainability? finds that many Nordic organisations are struggling to find their place in this new era of partnerships, despite the Nordic tradition of stakeholder dialogue.
It seems that, although keen to interact with other stakeholders the true value of partnerships as an engine for sustainable development has yet to be recognised, both within companies and amongst other stakeholders such as NGOs.

Michael Brinch Pedersen, Managing Director of the Nordic Partnership explains, The Johannesburg Summit heralded a new era for business-NGO interaction. The report shows that despite a stated willingness to engage in partnerships, the practice of partnering in the Nordic region is still at a very early stage. We need to use a step-by-step approach to overcome the barriers to partnering; by pooling resources and competence we can tackle the development challenges that we face today.

Sponsored by Novo Nordisk and Volvo Cars Corporation, A New Era of Nordic Partnerships for Sustainability? utilises on the knowledge and experience of leading companies and NGOs to explore the current partnership mindset in the Nordic region. The report finds that Nordic companies and NGOs see partnering as something new and beyond the previous norms of interaction. Despite a proclaimed willingness to engage, some hesitation towards new forms of interaction remains.

Undertaken by Danish media think tank, Monday Morning and Novo Nordisk, the report provides an assessment of the experiences and expectations of nordic partnerships; identifies the likely positive and negative future developments and offers recommendations for all key actors involved to move the partnership agenda ahead.

Paul Steele, Chief Operating Officer, WWF International says, "This paper reflects in a concise way what we have learnt and experienced as an global NGO , convinced of the importance of partnering with business. We have found that a strategic "mutuality" approach yields the most constructive results when partnering, building on mutual trust, but ensuring that each partner retains full integrity. Some may believe that these conditions are mutually exclusive; we believe they can be mutually reinforcing."

Download the full report (pdf)