Running a more profitable and innovative business, while addressing some of society’s most pressing problems, sounds too good to be true. However, this concept ‒ known as Shared Value ‒ is being adopted by businesses ranging from start-ups to some of the world’s largest corporations.
For anyone wanting to find out more on the subject, corporate social investment (CSI) consultancy Trialogue has shared an extensive range of material on its free online portal, known as the Trialogue Knowledge Hub: http://trialogueknowledgehub.co.za/index.php/overview-sharedvalue.
Says Trialogue MD Nick Rockey: “Shared Value is a strategic approach, developed by thought leaders such as Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School, that goes well beyond CSI and philanthropy. It has the potential to create a more contemporary, productive and profitable enterprise that helps the community in which it operates and can even be transformative for society as a whole.”
The Knowledge Hub offers information to inspire would-be social entrepreneurs, as well as lessons for corporations and philanthropists that are already involved in CSI and Shared Value and want to take their involvement to the next level.
There’s also a collection of local and international news articles and opinion pieces, videos, practical ‘how-to’ guides and useful reports, case studies and information on courses and seminars.
The Shared Value section of the Knowledge Hub is sponsored by Absa. Over the last 20 years what started out as charitable grant-making and developed into corporate social investment, has now deepened into an entrenched business philosophy of creating shared value at Absa. Absa’s Head of Citizenship Sazini Mojapelo, says “Our approach is grounded in a number of successes, challenges, and lessons learned. Sponsoring the Shared Value section of the Knowledge Hub is a great way for us to share resources and practical information with peers embarking on a similar journey.”
Local examples of shared value include Absa’s support for the South African government’s ‘Adopt a TVET College’ programme. In partnership with 36 TVETs across the country who bank with Absa, the programme enables customized workplace exposure opportunities across a breadth of faculties, a core curriculum requirement for their students. The programme is driven by the banking teams and goes beyond merely delivering traditional banking solutions.
Some international examples of shared value include Adidas partnering with Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s micro-finance organisation, Grameen Bank, to produce a low-cost shoe in Bangladesh; and the BMW Guggenheim Lab, traveling around the world to inspire forward-thinking ideas for urban living.
The portal also offers free information on school leadership and management (Old Mutual), financial literacy (MMI Holdings), philanthropy (Nedbank Private Wealth) and maths and science education (Investec). Several more topics are in development, with a target of companies funding topics across 12 development sectors ‒ spanning enterprise development to ICT in education.
Contact: To access the Knowledge Hub, see https://www.trialogue.co.za/knowledgehub. Companies interested in sponsoring a topic or contributing learnings to and insights on existing topics should contact Ruendree Govinder at email@example.com.
Shared Value sources:
Porter, Michael E. “Creating Shared Value: Redefining Capitalism and the Role of the Corporation in Society.” Unilever CEO Forum, June 22, 2011.