International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

7.7 - Lessons Learned

The need for GEF projects to offer “business relevant” benefits and outcomes was a consistent theme of GETF’s discussions with private sector companies.  GEF PMs also called for the identification of case studies and lessons to assist GEF projects in consistent private sector engagement.

The following are key lessons learned from this outreach that GEF PMs might utilize in developing public-private partnerships:

  • Private sector involvement in regions and watersheds where companies have operations can add value to the GEF’s actions and at the same time reduce the real risk local communities and businesses face if water resources are not protected.  The value proposition is to reduce the costs associated with risk exposure and engage communities regarding how they will benefit from improved water stewardship.
  • Companies and the GEF need internal champions to get buy-in and begin a dialogue.
  • There is a need to further advance partner integration beyond sponsorships or simply writing checks to support “public” programs.  True long-term partnerships and commitments are needed.  The strengths and ingenuity of the private sector should be harnessed to increase the value of the partnership beyond simply sponsorship.
  • Public-private partnerships are well positioned to add value by helping companies achieve corporate environmental performance targets.
  • Leveraging and influencing the supply chain can broaden impact and engagement.
  • Partnerships must maximize the political and economic situation in each region.
  • A project can attract the private sector through researching company interests, CSR, corporate goals and objectives.
  • The notion of “shared problem solving” ensures buy-in and cooperative partnerships.

The following examples illustrate best practices and lessons learned from the IWC CSR roundtable participants:

  • The GloBallast Partnerships developed a flexible industry fund (Global Industry Alliance Fund) to promote improved environmental and sustainable performance by funding training, technical assistance, technology development and technology standards.   The fund is an annual subscription model.  IMO acts as the fiduciary only and GloBallast Partnerships support the execution of activities decided by the GIA Task Force.  Industry, through the GIA task Force, is responsible for making the annual decisions regarding how to spend the money.  Companies can enter and exit the partnership and contribute to the fund as they please on an annual basis.  The aim is to build a partnership for shared problem solving, rather than just mobilizing resources.
  • The Yellow Sea LME project spent a lot of time in engaging NGOs/the private sector to organize coalitions.  The YSLME developed a small grant program (15 to 16 small grants) of $10,000 USD each to assess mariculture techniques and help companies apply to be a sea grass protected area.  The grants provided seed funding.  They identified key experts and prepared documents with support from the project.
  • The collaboration fostered by the Sponsor Sustainability Initiative (‘SSI’) of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games included the establishment of a network of like-minded organizations (corporate sponsors and government partners of the Games and various social and environmental NGOs).  They shared experiences on best practices and lessons learned on how to both individually and collectively effectively improve the sustainability performance of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (‘OCOG’), as well as leave lasting sustainability legacies in the host community of the Games.