UTS Library

The critical path to saving our environment

Client: 

Condamine Alliance

PR Company: 

Phillips Group

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2006 C16 - 6

Year: 

2006

Executive Summary: 

In an Australian first, Phillips Group developed and implemented an investor program designed to prepare natural resource management (NRM) organisation, Condamine Alliance for securing corporate investment for its environmental programs, through financial support, expertise or in-kind assistance, while positioning the organisation as a visionary leader.

Condamine Alliance’s initiative aimed to embrace opportunities offered by the increasing value of corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the Australian business environment.

The innovative investor program focused on upskilling and educating internal stakeholders to develop new skills and attitudes, preparing the Alliance for corporate approaches, actively engaging industry and government and sharing best practice initiatives with other NRM organisations.

This was supported by organisational change initiatives to ensure the Alliance and its employees were prepared for, not only driving the CSR program and attracting investors, but also maximising the value of the investment to deliver long-term economic benefit.

The investor program has equipped Condamine Alliance for additional corporate investment, after securing multi-national energy company, InterGen as its premier investor, and has successfully positioned them to government, peers and potential investors as a leader in their field.

Situation Analysis: 

Established in 2002, Condamine Alliance is an initiative of the Federal Government’s National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the Natural Heritage Trust.

In this role, Condamine Alliance has lead responsibility for sustainable NRM in the Condamine River catchment, located at the head of Australia’s largest river system, the Murray-Darling Basin.

As one of 21 priority regions across Australia, the Condamine catchment faces many environmental challenges in rural areas, as well as in the catchment’s major urban centres of Toowoomba, Warwick, Dalby and Chinchilla and steadily growing peri-urban communities.

With no State or Federal Government funding secured long-term, Condamine Alliance quickly became aware new initiatives must be embraced, not only for the achievement of its crucial outcomes, but for industry and local communities.

In an Australian first, Condamine Alliance set out to secure corporate investment to guarantee the long-term viability of their programs and to, in turn, provide business with a clear path for demonstrating CSR.

Corporate investment would not only allow Condamine Alliance to ensure the future of environmental programs but would provide the opportunity to inform business, and their customers, of the importance of preserving and repairing the natural environment.

However, securing investment is highly competitive. It was recognised that, in order for the Alliance to succeed, it would need to compete against organisations with well-established skills and tools.

The Alliance, by comparison, was focused on program delivery, with the majority of employees technical experts, and a Board comprising representatives from environmental partnership groups.

The Condamine Alliance Investor Program was therefore established to ensure the Alliance had the knowledge, skills and resources to confidently seek and secure corporate investment as one of Australia’s NRM leaders.

Research: 

Research was a fundamental aspect of planning and implementation. Research of stakeholder groups enabled key directions to be determined. Research included:

» Desktop Research – Potential investors were researched based on previous investment in the environment, involvement in target industries, interest in relationship-building with Alliance partners, demonstrated interest in first-time initiatives

» Client briefings / workshops – Meetings and workshops with Condamine Alliance employees to glean their ideas for potential investors and programs suitable for investment

» Corporate focus groups – Two rounds of focus groups, firstly to identify the needs of corporate investors when demonstrating CSR and secondly to refine the environmental indicia

» Partnership focus groups – Focus groups to engage partners in the investor program and to gain indicia feedback from small to medium regional businesses.

Target Policies: 

Investors

Condamine Alliance and Phillips Group identified potential investor targets across a number of industries including:

» Mining

» Energy

» Manufacturing

» Banking and Finance

» Agricultural / horticultural.

Condamine Alliance needed to engage with investors in two-way communication to understand their needs and promote the Alliance’s CSR benefits.

Internal

The support and engagement of employees and Board was essential to the success of the investor program.

» Employees

» Board.

Government

Condamine Alliance’s positioning to government focused on their innovative and pioneering approach to NRM.

» Local Government

- Councils within the Condamine catchment

- Local Government Association of Queensland

» Queensland State Government

- Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries

- Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Water

- State members within Condamine catchment

» Federal Government

- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

- Department of Environment and Heritage.

Peers

As leaders in NRM, Condamine Alliance was keen to transfer knowledge and ideas about corporate investment to other environmental organisations.

» Other NRM organisations

» Partners including Landcare, Queensland Murray Darling Committee.

Communication Strategy: 

An innovative, proactive communication strategy to position Condamine Alliance and its investor program was critical in securing support from the business community and building recognition of the program as an attractive CSR opportunity.

At the heart of the program was the need to recognise and appreciate potential investors’ deliverables and to link the program directly to business strategy. Underpinning the process was also the need to gain the support and understanding of internal stakeholders including employees, Board and Alliance partners.

The strategic approach aimed to position Condamine Alliance as a leader in the industry through knowledge sharing with other NRM organisations and key government bodies.

The overall strategic approach, as illustrated in the diagram on page six, was to:

» Position Condamine Alliance as a leader in NRM development through influence and change, and as the catalyst in investment for partners and investing organisations

» Set a precedent from which NRM companies and other regional bodies could benefit

» Prepare Condamine Alliance employees for the effective implementation of the program through interactive workshops and other knowledge transfer activities

» Develop a planned, staged approach from concept development through to securing and maintaining relationships with long-term investors

» Ensure investor activities align with the organisation’s wider communication goals and business objectives

» Develop and sustain a positive corporate reputation and elevate Condamine Alliance’s position on a local, state and wider corporate level

» Build coalitions of support for the program with government and industry, as an example of industry best practice – build confidence in the investment model and encourage peers to take ownership of outcomes

» Facilitate opportunities and conducive settings for Condamine Alliance to build networks and raise its profile among potential investors

» Harness the power of industry influencers in gaining support for the investment program, encouraging other NRM organisations to adopt similar programs.

To ensure a consistent strategic direction, an implementation roadmap was developed to allow for planned activities and measurable outcomes in the lead up to the program’s launch.

The roadmap included profiling Condamine Alliance prior to approaching organisations in particular sectors. By ‘warming up’ the market Condamine Alliance was able to attract the interest of potential investors, secure their attention and, ultimately, to grow partnerships to achieve their business goals.

Phase

Step
Outcome
Timeline
One Step 1
»Review outcomes of InterGen approach
» Identify required alterations to approach method Eg. Month One
Step 2
»Amend approach
method
»Finalise collateral
material
»Create and practice
approach method – Presentation training
(if required)
»Final test with target
company to be undertaken (this will include all branded material)
»Approach technique
finalised
Month One
Step 3
» Identify prospect
investors and create
tailored investment
proposal/s and  presentation/s
» Liaise appropriate
company/s representatives for meeting
»Tailored proposal
sent to organisation/s
»Meeting/s arranged
Month Two/Three
Two Step 4
»Investor approaches
»Follow up as required
»Coordinate meetings
between prospective
investors and suitable partners.
»Media
»Networking
»Market education and awareness raising
»Development of successful, mutually
beneficial relationships
Month Four/Five
Step 5
»Secure investors
»Finalise investor plan
»Media
» Networking
»Market education and awareness raising
»Major investors are
secured
Three Step 6
»Prepare for investor
program launch to wider community and interested
parties
»Tailor investor plan
for public use
»Liaise Government,
industry bodies, key
organisations
»Key industry
members are invited to launch
»Public version of plan is complete
Month Six
Step 8
»Launch
»Investor program training offered to other NRM
organisations
»Industry recognition
»Increased interest in investment
»Training program finalised
Month Seven
Four Step 9
»Ongoing Investor relations
»Communication program
ONGOING

Implementation: 

The implementation methodology prepared Condamine Alliance, and to a lesser degree the industry as a whole, for corporate approaches. The following activity table illustrates tactics used to implement the overall Communication Strategy.

Activities/tactics

Outcomes
Objective: To upskill and educate all employees, partners and Board about the potential for and benefits of corporate investment
» Conducted two-day workshop with Business Development Manager
» Conducted meetings / client briefings
» Presented to Board to gain feedback and create understanding
» Encouraged employee participation in program launch through interactive displays and networking
» Ran presentation training for employees to
prepare for investor approaches
» Established employee support
» Secured Board approval, leveraged Board corporate networks
» Built employee and Board networks with potential investors
» Established two-way knowledge transfer between technical experts and business development employees
» Created understanding by employees and Board of Condamine Alliance’s value proposition
» Increased Condamine Alliance employees skill base
Objective: To ensure Condamine Alliance has the skills and tools to make targeted corporate approaches in a way that maximises the probability of securing investment
» Researched potential investors
» Created comprehensive list of potential investors
» Obtained input from environmental partners
» Developed relationship with key organisations
» Developed environmental indicia
» Prepared emotive theme for materials – ‘The Critical Path’
» Produced ‘Critical Path’ folder
» Produced ‘Critical Path’ prospectus
» Produced PowerPoint presentation
» Focus group tested marketing materials
» Created thorough understanding of corporate investment potential
» Gained approval for all branded materials by Board
» Established confidence within key Condamine Alliance employees to make corporate approaches
» Created a tangible way for program investors to signify CSR
» Positioned Condamine Alliance as an innovative and professional organisation
Objective: To share knowledge and vision for corporate investment with other NRM organisations
» Prepared and ran workshop for NRM
organisations and government representatives
» Organised corporate guest speakers at NRM workshop
» Prepared NRM investment manual
» Included NRM organisations in the launch
» Ensured NRM organisations understand corporate investment potential
» Established open two-way communication
» Positioned Condamine Alliance as leader in their field
Objective: To position Condamine Alliance with Federal, State and Local Government as an innovative and visionary organisation
» Engaged directly at a senior level with federal, state and local government
» Included government representatives in NRM workshop
» Included local government in program delivery partnerships
» Invited Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Water, Hon. Henry Palaszczuk to speak at program launch
» Invited Crows Nest Shire Council CEO, David McEvoy to speak at program launch
» Invited other government representatives to attend launch
» Corresponded with government representatives unable to attend launch
» Achieved a thorough understanding in all levels of government of the goals and achievements of the investor program
» Provided an opportunity for government to express their support of Condamine Alliance
» Established open two-way communication
» Positioned Condamine Alliance as leader in their field

Results: 

The activity table above provides a summary of scope and impact of communication activities, while the Evaluation section highlights key achievements according to program objectives. Key program results include:

» Securing corporate investment – In January 2006 the premier corporate investor was secured. Energy multi-national InterGen, through their Millmerran Power Plant, entered into a cash and in-kind agreement to eradicate toxic weed, Mother of Millions

» Making skilled corporate approaches – With the assistance of Phillips Group key Condamine Alliance employees made, and received positive feedback from, corporate approaches. Many of these approaches successfully opened dialogue, with arrangements for partnerships in progress

» Establishing employee confidence – As a result of the education and knowledge transfer strategy, Condamine Alliance employees are now supportive of corporate investment and readily use their program knowledge and partnerships to identify corporate investment opportunities

» Establishing Board confidence – The Board clearly understands the CSR benefits Condamine Alliance can offer investors and supports Alliance initiatives to maximise this

» Transferring knowledge to industry – As a result of a full-day workshop, attended by NRM representatives, and the development of a corporate investment manual for their use, Condamine Alliance has successfully educated their industry about the possibility and benefits of seeking corporate investment

» Positioning with government – Through engagement at the NRM workshop, involvement in the launch event and ongoing communication, local state and government stakeholders are aware and supportive of the initiatives of Condamine Alliance.

Evaluation: 

Evaluation of the program through a review of investor, government and internal feedback demonstrated program goals were achieved, ensuring Condamine Alliance was well-positioned for future corporate investment.

OBJ1 — To upskill and educate all employees, partners and Board members about the potential for, and benefits of, corporate investment – ACHIEVED

» Through approval processes Condamine Alliance’s Board demonstrated understanding of and support for approaches to secure corporate investment

» Increased involvement from all Condamine Alliance employees in the investor program.

OBJ2 — To ensure Condamine Alliance has the skill and tools to make targeted corporate approaches in a way that maximises the probability of securing investment – ACHIEVED

» Premier corporate investor, energy multi-national, InterGen, secured with cash and in-kind contribution

» Environmental indicia successfully launched with support of potential corporate investors

» Potential investor feedback indicates Condamine Alliance is a viable competitor in the market for corporate investment.

OBJ3 — To share knowledge and vision for corporate investment with other NRM organisations – ACHIEVED

» Well-attended NRM investment workshop received positive feedback from participants

» Investor approaches to regional businesses made other NRM organisations.

OBJ4 — To position Condamine Alliance with Federal, State and Local Government as an innovative and visionary organisation – ACHIEVED

» Written and verbal correspondence from all levels of government confirms Condamine Alliance is viewed and appreciated as an innovative leader in natural resource management.