We are proud to be recognised for the 2nd straight year in the 2021 Real Leaders Impact Awards

October 2018

Insights News Value Creation

What purpose do we serve and what legacy do we leave?

Benn Lim

Meet Ceilidh O’Sullivan. A young woman, whose curiosity of how homes were built and her determination to pursue a career in building and construction led her to Everthought Education, Arowana’s building and construction college. Proudly, she now has her carpentry license and is certified to be a site supervisor. But Ceilidh’s aspirations are higher. She wants to be a Building Designer and is continuing her studies while working part-time.

As a “Lady Tradie”, the fact that the industry is male dominated was just part of her challenge. The biggest challenge for Ceilidh was that she is deaf. This would pose several challenges on the learning front but with the help of Everthought, Ceilidh could pursue her goal. With the flexibility of an on-line course and support from Everthought’s trainers, Ceilidh was given guidance and feedback about her career choices which she is now achieving. We applaud her for her tenacity, her desire and her ability to drive herself towards the fulfilment of her life’s goals.

It is stories like these that helps the Arowana Team realise that what we do really matters and has an impact on others. From the outset, Arowana has been in the business of operating and scaling up small-to-medium sized businesses(SMEs) which are the backbone of any economy. Our aim is to find businesses that serve a real purpose within their industries and in society who need our support to manoeuvre into sustained growth. Arowana’s other operating companies are focused on solar energy and thermal safety inspections.

Arowana founded VivoPower in 2014, a global solar development group that has since successfully developed and operated utility scale solar farms in the United States generating 91MW of power that is delivered to over 21,000 homes and off-setting approximately 59,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. In addition, rather than sending slightly damaged but operational solar panels to landfill, VivoPower created an initiative for a low-income community solar farm, comprising of 2MW of solar power. The electricity revenues from this initiative will be used to make the project self-sustaining on an on-going basis and to offset 100% of the electricity needs for 100 very low-income homeowners.

When Arowana acquired Thermoscan a 30-year old safety and electrical failure prevention business from its terminally ill founder, his wish was to see his legacy grow. Arowana transformed Thermoscan from a paper-based business into an interactive database-driven system, digitising paper-based working processes.  This enabled technicians to operate more effectively, increasing the number of sites inspected and reducing the number of potential catastrophic events occurring.

Building Purpose and Value

At Arowana we believe, that if we grow our people, we will grow our companies and we will grow value for all our stakeholders. Internally, we have set up the Arowana University that provides training and development to our team. We recently appointed Dr Tara Swart as Arowana’s Chief Neuroscience Officer to help us be more mindful in our daily lives and to help us perform more sustainably.

To solidify our purpose in society, Arowana became a certified B Corp in May 2018. B Corps are for-profit companies that have met B-Lab’s rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. There was no doubt the assessment was comprehensive. Importantly, a useful guide to evaluate our total societal impact (TSI) today which offers us the opportunity to improve our TSI as our journey continues.

For a long time, environmental and social issues have been very much an issue for government policy makers and NGOs to deal with.  But today, we live in a world that is far more aware and socially attuned to these issues. Everyday consumers and investors alike, are consciously and purposefully making choices that are linked not just to their needs but to the societal impact that is achieved – How is the company that I am doing business with creating a positive impact? How are they protecting the environment? How are they improving employability and financial inclusion?

Additionally, as pointed out by Boston Consulting Group, when companies adopt a lens that focuses on total societal impact when setting strategy, they will reduce the risk of significant negative events and open up valuable new opportunities and increase corporate longevity. Arowana has a long-term commitment to help future proof our businesses so that they can continue to serve within their industries and in society.

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Annual 2018 Chairman & CEO’s Letter