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Harvard Business Review | September 2013

Company leaders recognize that social problems present significant limitations to their operations as well as vast opportunities for growth, but many are struggling to design and implement shared value initiatives that deliver both social and business benefits. A study of 30 companies that have adopted a shared value approach resulted in a framework of 5 key elements required to successfully create shared value.

Top Takeaways

  1. Global corporations such as BD, Nestlé, and Dow have proven that opportunities for growth and impact come from creating shared value, but many companies struggle to move from idea to action.
  2. Companies struggle to implement a shared value strategy due to the lack of an agreed upon social mission, the need for employees with experience in measuring and linking social and business results, and the challenge of building a new network of key stakeholders required to do this work.
  3. The 5 elements of implementing shared value are embedding a social purpose, defining the social need, measuring social and business value, creating an innovation structure, and co-creating with external stakeholders. 
Many leading companies are succeeding in creating shared value by consciously applying the 5 ingredients.

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