I offer you my warmest welcome to sharedvalue.org – the new home of the Shared Value Initiative. The paint is newly dried, and we’re busy checking items off of our punch list for the grand opening. We’re excited to open the doors to a new global community of practice for shared value leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors. While sharedvalue.org is new, the Shared Value Initiative concept has been several years in the making – our first Summit was held in June 2011 six months after the Porter and Kramer "Creating Shared Value" HBR article first appeared.
A business plan, two more summits, the commitment of 17 leading shared value organizations, several notable follow-up research pieces and case studies, hundreds of speaking engagements and meetings around the world, and one on-the-stage-with-President-Clinton CGI Commitment to Action later – here we are with a digital home to call our own. Yet along with these exciting, early successes and the mobilization of leading stakeholders, I have the sense that the Shared Value Initiative has just reached the starting line and is now poised to fundamentally deepen its impact.
There are two main reasons for this feeling. First, my sense is that we are still in the earliest stages of adoption and understanding of how shared value works in practice. For every leading shared value company like Nestlé or Verizon or NGO like Mercy Corps, there are multitudes more who have never considered how to see a social issue as a business opportunity or who still view social issues as externalities. Second, for the leading shared value adopters we have more work to do to deepen and realize their shared value successes. The leaders, you see, are in the midst of cracking challenging issues, such as, how to increase the sophistication of shared value measurement to deepen business and social results or how to convince the investor community that shared value materially impacts, and thus should be a key driver of, company performance.
The efforts we’ve undertaken to launch the Initiative and sharedvalue.org are, therefore, really about building a field to help tackle these challenges – about giving the multitude of practitioners and researchers around the world the resources to extend their work, to connect with like-minded leaders grappling with similar challenges, and to learn what practically works and doesn’t from each other. That’s why this site, the resources we are making available, the research and thinking we will contribute from our own work, and the community that will be housed here are by you and for you. It should serve your needs and by all means let us know as the stewards of this commuity how we can best work with you to advance and deepen the practice of shared value.
Welcome – we’re glad you’re here with us. We look forward to an exciting journey driving both business results and social impact…a journey, importantly, that we’ll take together.