Friday, July 23, 2010

Building on the foundation of Corporate Social Responsibility and creating shared value

As consultant to major corporations, and co-author/author of several influential studies Mark Kramer, a Harvard professor and expert in philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), persuades companies to build their business strategies that would not only bring competitive advantage but also benefit the society. To do so, companies must stop viewing society and its sectors as obstacles but as opportunities that would allow for growth and success.

Along with co-author and fellow Harvard professor, Michael E. Porter, Kramer wrote a study that called for a model that would build up on the successes of CSR in a more effective way to create mutual benefits for both business and society. Thus, from their ideas came Creating Shared Value (CSV),a business model that considers what is beneficial to society in business strategies.

As the key speaker to various forums, Kramer uses the example of Nestle to encourage companies to incorporate CSV as they have practiced this as part of their philosophy even before the term was coined.  Current programs include providing free training to coffee-growing farmers in ways to use water efficiently as well as other methods to earn additional income.

Kramer is currently a Senior Fellow in the CSR Initiative of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business in Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.