This post responds to the Devex Impact article, Shared value not required for corporate commitment to social good by staff writer Adva Saldinger, which highlights an interview with Patrick McCrummen at Johnson & Johnson. In the interview, McCrummen says that J&J doesn’t “subscribe to the Porter idea of shared value.” Devex further summarizes: “He said the company chooses programs and countries to support based on need and not whether they present a business opportunity or the company operates there.”
Hi Adva – a clarifying comment for you: All the proponents of shared value are saying is that when the social activity becomes core to the business strategy, it is likely to have serious resources behind it plus a greater ability to be scaled up. It is not an either / or scenario, philanthropy and corporate social responsibility are still valued and important. With publicly owned companies in particular, socially beneficial activities that are not core to the business may be the first to go when the business environment is tough or there is a change of management etc.
What do you think? Is J&J practicing shared value, or not?
Phil Preston is a consulting affiliate with the Shared Value Initiative.