“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

Shared value is a management strategy in which companies find business opportunities in social problems. While philanthropy and CSR focus efforts focus on “giving back” or minimizing the harm business has on society, 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. 

More companies are now building and rebuilding business models around social good, which sets them apart from the competition and augments their success. With the help of NGOs, governments, and other stakeholders, business has the power of scale to create real change on monumental social problems.

This is creating shared value: 



What does shared value look like?

#1 Reconceiving Products and Markets
Meeting societal needs through products and addressing unserved or underserved customers

  • Novartis: To reach customers without health access in rural India, Novartis offers a portfolio of affordable and appropriate medicines tailored to common regional health issues, which is increasing regional sales and doctor visits. Read Mini-Case >

#2 Redefining Productivity in the Value Chain
Changing practices in the value chain to drive productivity through better utilizing resources, employees, and business partners

  • Walmart: By reducing packaging and improving delivery logistics, Walmart saved $200M in distribution costs while growing the quantities being shipped. Purchase HBS Case Study >

#3 Enabling Local Cluster Development
Improving the available skills, supplier base, and supporting institutions in the communities where a company operates to boost productivity, innovation, and growth

  • Chevron: To build prosperity in the region and improve its operating environment, Chevron's “Partner Initiatives in the Niger Delta” uses a data-driven approach to identify new market opportunities and local solutions to unemployment in the region. Read Mini-Case >



Where do you fall on the spectrum? We’ve found that companies just beginning their journey and companies who have been creating shared value for years require different resources and support. Read through the following, discern which you most resemble, and follow the resources you need to get started or continue at your level.

You’re practicing corporate philanthropy or CSR efforts that you’re interested in taking to the next level with more strategic, business-focused efforts.
You need: More convincing that the shared value approach is the right approach for you.


You’re hard at work forming a shared value strategy, finding the right partners, and making the business case to corporate leadership and other stakeholders.
You need: Practical how-to information to break down internal barriers and move shared value forward in your organization.


Congratulations! You have advocacy from leadership, you’ve reconceived your business model around a social issue, and now you’re implementing shared value approaches at either the initiative or enterprise level.
You need: Inspiration to keep social innovation going strong and resources to scale up your efforts even more.


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Article Translations

You can now read Michel Porter and Mark Kramer's Harvard Business Review article "Creating Shared Value" in Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, and Polish. Read Translations