Shared Value Opportunity in India

In an interview with Forbes India, Mark Kramer talks about opportunities for creating shared value organizations in the region.

Published: Jul 25, 2012 05:18:36 PM IST
Updated: Jul 26, 2012 05:13:26 PM IST
Shared Value Opportunity in India

Mark R Kramer: Senior business executives in India aspire to create inclusive growth – they feel a sense of responsibility, which is very consistent to shared value creation.

Q: What opportunities do you see in India for shared value creation compared to the rest of the BRIC countries?
India is culturally very different from China, Russia and Brazil. There is more innovation and entrepreneurship on one hand and on the other there are issues of corruption and bureaucracy holding back inclusive growth and economic development. We see India as having immense opportunities. Senior business executives we’ve spoken to really aspire to create inclusive growth – they feel a sense of responsibility to do this, which is very consistent to shared value creation.

Q: Are Indian entrepreneurs open to organizational change in the process of building shared value businesses?
Indian businessmen in my experience are very pragmatic and they don’t want to make an investment where they won’t see healthy returns. But they are willing to seize new opportunities. There’s no question that the shared value approach leads to real changes in the strategies and operations of the business. Entrepreneurs see economic value in it.
Q: The Indian government is proposing a bill to mandate companies to earmark two percent of net profits towards corporate social responsibility initiatives. Your thoughts?
It could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how the money is used. If it’s used to build shared value development ventures, it will be wonderful for India. Mere charitable donations without accountability won’t have a large impact.

Q: Do you think multinational corporations are creating business solutions to social problems in the global south partly because of an economic slowdown in the West, resulting in the need to find new customers and market opportunities?
The benefit of shared value creation is not immediate and short-term. As the world’s population grows and disposable income increases, companies begin to recognize opportunities for creating shared value in emerging markets.

Mark R Kramer is Managing Director at FSG, a nonprofit firm in Boston that works with companies, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government agencies around the world to enable shared value creation. Kramer cofounded FSG with Michael E Porter, professor at Harvard University – the duo coined the term shared value. 

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