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Profit meets purpose - The Mail & Guardian

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The power of shared value
Creating shared value: What exactly is it?

As a buzzword, creating shared value (CSV) is relatively new to the business world. As an alternative to the harsh realities of exclusionary capitalism, it comes as a breath of fresh air.

CSV goes beyond the premise of balancing the triple bottom line of financial, social and environmental wins as formulated by sustainable development principles. It also extends past the strategic social recompense afforded by corporate social responsibility and investment.

In its purest form and as a business strategy, shared value is more closely aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the so-called circular economic model. Business as usual, whereby profit goes into a handful of pockets to the exclusion of so many other contributors to the creation of it, is no longer good enough. In the 2020s, the stakes are simply too high.

The Harvard Business School's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (ISC) describes creating shared value as: "A framework for creating economic value while simultaneously addressing societal needs and challenges. When businesses act as businesses — not as charitable donors — they can improve profitability while also improving environmental performance, public health and nutrition, affordable housing and financial security, and other key measures of societal wellbeing. Only business can create economic prosperity by meeting needs and making a profit, creating infinitely scalable and self-sustaining solutions."

The ISC predicts that the concept will drive the next wave of innovation and productivity in the global economy.

The Shared Value Africa Initiative says CSV represents a "shift in business mindsets to find new ways to do business that are more efficient, more innovative, reach more markets, and make companies more sustainable over the long term — while also being less harmful to the environment, less onerous for employees, less neglectful of the value chain…
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