What is Shared Value?

“Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or sustainability, but a new way for companies to achieve economic success.”

Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer, “Creating Shared Value”, Harvard Business Review

Video courtesy of FSGImpact

The concept of Shared Value recognises that markets are not only defined by conventional needs, but by societal needs as well.

The Shared Value Initiative defines Shared Value as “a management strategy in which companies find business opportunities in social problems … shared value focuses company leaders on maximizing the competitive value of solving social problems in new customers and markets, cost savings, talent retention, and more”.


Social good is becoming a more prominent driver of business strategy, enabling companies to differentiate themselves and appeal to the ever-more-savvy consumer. In this way, and through collaboration with NGOs, governments, and other stakeholders, business can effect real change while doing good business.

Shared Value Perspectives

“Shared Value can help us identify new opportunities to grow our business, and do it in a way that impacts people’s lives.”
Talya Bosch, Western Union

“It’s really about corporate strategy. It’s about finding new opportunities to differentiate a company’s competitive positioning … by understanding the social issues that affect and constrain the business.”
Mark Kramer, FSG Social Impact Advisors


“It’s business smart… you’re running a business which will have longevity because it listens to the needs of society as it listens to the needs of your shareholders.”
Allan Pamba, GlaxoSmithKline (Africa)

Courtesy of Devex

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Source: The Sustainable Development Agenda


The Sustainable Development Goals offer businesses an opportunity to focus their Shared Value strategy in a way that aligns with work being done on a global scale. The SDGs represent future business opportunities, corporate sustainability, strengthening stakeholder relationships, stabilizing societies and markets. They offer businesses a common language with which to connect and make a bigger impact for their shared purpose.

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