How Many P's in a PPP?

Guest post by Justin Perrettson, Senior Advisor, Corporate Sustainability and Public Affairs, Novozymes

After recent international agreements on Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Financing For Development, “Public-Private-Partnerships” are now seen as a way to combine economic, environmental and social criteria that result in multiple and mutually reinforcing benefits for a number of stakeholders.  

However, a “PPP” is more than just “Public”, “Private” or a “Partnership”. It is a series of underlying behaviors:

Patience – as a virtue and a value: If “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and a “Week is a long time in politics”, in an era of intense pressure to deliver results fast, seamless real time reporting of current events and seemingly even faster analysis, the time required to build and execute complex multi stakeholder partnerships might seem glacial.  And although taking too simplistic a view would miss the point, these types of partnerships need to be able address potential perception issues. Whatever the external pressures or environment, how such a partnership attracts, obtains and maintains support from key stakeholders is critical to its overall success.

Perseverance – with a side order of passion:  Even the most well aligned, thoroughly researched and supported partnership is going to have a bad day – or week – at the office. Given the complexities often involved this is almost inevitable. But when a team needs to dig deep, the upfront investment in aligning interests, agreeing on approaches and building a strong team on all sides can be the difference between giving up and keeping going.   

Potential – with an eye on the future: Innovative approaches towards Sustainable Development and Multi Stakeholder Partnering are being pioneered by a number of Corporations such as Novozymes, Multilateral Financing Institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Academic Institutions such as McGill University.  Why? Because over the longer term, many stakeholders –including a growing number of investors – believe that stakeholder support for their activities are likely to help yield better short term results across a number of inter-connected social, environmental and economic ecosystems.  

When it comes to the “How”, and especially in terms of further expanding the sustainable development modus operandi, for many stakeholders, PPPs are very much a “learning by doing” exercise, albeit building on some of the best expertise available.

So to help encourage even more free-flowing thinking – and doing – around partnerships for Development, supported by some of the most out of the box thinkers on the planet at Google, The IDB and McGill have invited a host of stakeholders, including Novozymes, to spend some time together this summer. 

The aim is that by bringing some great minds to share learnings and ideas, ways in which the PPP model for Sustainable Development can be taken to the next level will emerge- enhancing another PPP: People, Progress, and Planet.