After almost 16 months of serving with one of America’s largest non-profit organization and working on a daily basis with companies on strengthening their employee volunteer programs, I have seen companies efficiently address social issues through their programs, but have also witnessed waste, mismanagement of resources and superficial program initiatives targeted at social change.
This made me think about the future of Corporate Social Responsibility, community engagement and the role of profit-nonprofit partnerships in social value creation and impact.
Today, we hear more and more that the society (incl. socially-conscious consumers) “expect” companies to engage more and solve more of societal issues (according to the Nielsen Company in its Global Socially Conscious Consumer Study) while the business embraced these societal “expectations”. According to a 2006 McKinsey Quarterly global survey, “executives around the world overwhelmingly embrace the idea that the role of corporations in society goes far beyond simply meeting obligations to shareholders.” And while most companies try to address these expectations through their CSR programs, they often waste resources and fail to achieve the desired impact.
I had many questions and this process led me to Michael E.Porter and Mark R.Kramer’s “Creating Shared Value”. Their idea that business already creates societal benefits through its mere existence and that the future of social change lies in the hands of the so-called responsible business is good food for thought. It is a worthy reading, especially nowadays, when all we hear around are buzz terms such as social ventures, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, etc.