The Notion of Shared Value to Solve Our Sustainability Problems

Our discussion in class today touched on the role of business and government in addressing the issue of climate change. In this TED talk, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter identifies the fundamental problem with the way that we are dealing with social issues today as the inability to scale.

Governments and NGO’s are working to solve our social problems, but they are using resources that are generated by businesses. Porter discusses the notion of shared value, where there is a business opportunity that addresses a social issue. Using the profits generated by a business opportunity to solve a social problem offers a sustainable resource that can make the solution scalable.

My reaction to this video is that while this is good in theory, I think that those business opportunities that are the most profitable will be employed first. The priority for solving social problems, such as climate change, will only be exploited if the opportunity for profits is higher than any other non-shared value option.

Do you think the shared value model is feasible? Does this model take the responsibility for solving social problems away from governments and NGO’s and introduce risk?

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Posted in climate change, climate sceptics, corporate sustainability, government policy, pollution
One comment on “The Notion of Shared Value to Solve Our Sustainability Problems
  1. jeremy says:

    Nice post Kristina. Porter and Kramer have certainly attracted a lot of attention for coming up with the creating shared value (CSV) idea. As you intimate, however, it may have a few shortcomings. Crane and Matten (2014) are among their most vocal critics.

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