Howard W. Buffett On Social Value Investing: The Success Of Cross-Sector Partnerships

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Columbia University professors Howard W. Buffett and William B. Eimicke recently published the book Social Value Investing: A Management Framework for Effective Partnerships, which presents a new way to approach some of society’s most difficult and intractable challenges through new partnerships bringing together leaders from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. The Earth Institute’s Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management invites you to explore this exciting, new, emerging area of public policy with a panel discussion of several compelling stories of cross-sector partnerships from around the world, several of which were presented in the book.

Opening remarks by Steven A. Cohen and Howard W. Buffett

Panel moderated by William B. Eimicke


  • Matthew Bishop, Managing Director, the Rockefeller Foundation
  • Regina Esteves, Director President, Comunitas
  • Ester R. Fuchs, Professor of International and Public Affairs & Political Science, Columbia University
  • Josette Sheeran, President and CEO, the Asia Society

Social Value Investing: The Success Of Cross-Sector Partnerships – September 17, 2018


Thank you for joining us here tonight. My name is Steve Cohen director of the earth institute’s research program on sustainability policy management and a professor of practice at the School of International Public Affairs. All here at Columbia University. I also founded and direct Columbia’s mph environmental science and policy and ourM.S. and sustainability management two masters programs that are designed to produce the sustainability professionals we so desperately need. I’m really pleased to welcome you to our event tonight. Social Value Investing the success of cross-sector partnerships. Our cohost for tonight’s events are my friends and colleagues HowardW. Buffett and William Remick. They recently embarked on an exciting new emerging area of public policy. And so let’s all congratulate them right now on their new book Social Value Investing a management framework for effective partnerships. Had told the authors have given out copies to everybody in the room. So there’ll be a quiz at the end of the day. The book’s major contribution to the literature of public administration is its effort to analyze and understand the dynamics of cross-sector collaboration and partnerships. The book is really wonderful I reviewed it for the public administration review recently as wonderful case studies and insightful analyses some of what you’ll be hearing about tonight from the panel. The authors work to develop a really very granular field level understanding of the elements that leads successful multi sectoral partnerships and we’re in a world that really needs partnerships and collaboration as opposed to walls.

Despite the current political orthodoxy that sees government and the private sector as if they were alternate universes America’s agricultural energy transportation and industrial systems were all built on partnerships and most of the political controversy surrounding these partnerships stem from a fear that the public sector’s handing over public assets to the private sector to enable private gain. But there’s ways to avoid that kind of fate. I study into organizational partnerships and my own research and with my colleagues in the research program on sustainability policy and management. Most of our work is focused on incorporating the physical dimensions of environmental sustainability into routine organizational management and hastening the adoption of supportive policy and public private partnerships are key to sustainability and for the creation of a circular economy. I’m really fortunate that I have both Howard and Bill on the advisory board for research program and of course would welcome the help of anybody here in the audience that wants to help us to build a more sustainable world. Howard and Bill’s book has provided us with a realistic facts fact based and will organize Guide to Understanding partnerships across sectors social value investment makes an important contribution to what I hope and trust will be a growing literature on intra organizational relations across the public and private sectors. And I’m really looking forward to discussion of the book so I want to introduce to you my friend and colleague HowardW. Buffett. He works along side me and the faculty at the School of International Public Affairs. He also chairs the advisory board for the research program that has organized this event tonight. He’s an accomplished public servant public intellectual and thought leader and someone who will be hearing from for many many years and will.

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