Cross-Sector Partnerships – Mining & Desalination

Having started my career with a Fortune 500 commodities company, I find great joy in working with various parts of the supply chain and sharing ideas. A number of my commodity trader friends went from physical product traders to paper traders and now in process to take over their family business, start their own shop or simply looking for ways to make their business more cost effective. For me, the last year was dedicated to understand the supply chain from the community / social business perspective. I wanted to create solutions to end poverty. Rather than focus on fundraising, I realised I was attracted to developing cross-sector partnerships.

The Challenge: Increase social and environmental impact of a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by creating a mutually beneficial Cross-Sector Partnership.

A mining company built a school in a rural village. They realised in year 2 that the school was empty. After talking with the community, they realised the reasons for vacancy was lack of roads, buses, support to family, teachers, and collaterals. The community shared a series of concerns and also asked for help with a basic need: access to clean water. The mining company decided to change their approach and focus on water. In the corporate office, the management team was looking for ways to reduce their operational costs, one of the highest costs being water. *Lightbulb* The mining company needs to reduce cost of water. The community needs access to clean water.

The solution: The mining company can invest in a social business that specialises in water desalination. The new Corporate Social Responsibility directive is WATER.

Benefits: Mining company has a new partnership and controls their water costs. Due to the consistency of funding, the social business can focus on ways to make their science more cost effective and have the ability to scale their business. The community benefits from having access to clean water and job creation (making bottles, labels and selling water). All parties benefit from an effective and mutually beneficial partnership.

I’m sharing my thoughts with the interwebs in hopes to strengthen the idea, identify the holes and evolve the thought process. Do you have additional ideas for sustainable solutions or mutually beneficial partnerships? I’d LOVE to hear from you!



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