Friday, July 16, 2010

Creating Shared Value: Enhancing society and improving profits simultaneously

The idea is to change the mentality of social programs as business costs to seeing them as opportunities to increase profitability while simultaneously helping society.

With this in mind, Nestlé Philippines with the Asian Development Bank, the Philippine Business for Social Progress and the Asian Institute of Management RVR Center for Social Responsibility organized the Creating Shared Value (CSV) Forum that was held last April 23, 2010 where topics regarding the Nutrition, Water and Rural Development were discussed by experts on their respective specialization. The forum’s main speaker, a Harvard professor and social responsibility expert named Mark Kramer, urged companies and society stakeholders such as governments, NGOs and aid agencies to work together for their mutual benefit claiming that both business and society are interdependent and one cannot thrive and succeed without the help of the other.

One example would be South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare. The company has discovered ways to lower the costs of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria treatments making them available to the country’s poor patients who used to be unable to afford them. In doing so, Aspen Pharmacare became the leading drug company in South Africa with an annual growth of 40%. In the other side of the world, Nestlé Philippines has practiced the company’s 140 year old business philosophy that incorporates helping societies while increasing their own profits. Proof of this is the existing Nestlé Experimental and Demonstration Farm (NEDF), Laki sa Gatas, and Business on Wheels (BOW) programs.

This forum aimed to encourage business and society to work together and through collaborating comes success and progress in the midst of the challenges of the 21st century.