Earlier this year, FSG’s Shared Value Initiative hosted the 9th annual Shared Value Leadership Summit in Boston, MA. The Summit brings together a wide array of corporate leaders and shared value practitioners to spark discussion that furthers the field of shared value. The topic of conversation for this year’s summit was Delivering on the Promise of Purpose. How can companies adopt a corporate purpose that is meaningful and creates positive change in the world, while also driving company growth and profit?
At FSG, we have been recently thinking about purpose. Customers, shareholders, and employees are demanding that companies play a more active role in addressing social issues like deep-rooted social inequities, weak talent pipelines, or low-quality and expensive education. Many agree that companies have unique tools (ability to scale, resources, influence) that position them to tackle social issues in a way that other actors cannot. A corporate purpose can help companies achieve that. When we look at companies from across the globe, we have seen that those leading with a purpose that is significant, authentic, profitable, and serious have better business outcomes and can drive significant change in their local and global communities.
At this year’s summit, Latin America featured prominently in discussions around shared value and purpose. As part of a growing network of shared value leaders in the region, the Summit hosted delegations of representatives from Peru, Brazil, and Colombia, who comprised nearly 20 percent of attendees. Including these delegations, close to 40 corporate leaders and shared value practitioners from Latin America joined us to explore ways to advance shared value in their respective countries.
Across Latin America, companies are beginning to play a stronger role in society, one that goes beyond business as usual activities like creating jobs and paying taxes. In many settings, companies have filled resource vacuums where other actors, including the government, lack capacity to effect change. Adopting a corporate purpose can be an effective strategy for companies to optimize their role in society. One salient example of how companies can do this is Intercorp Group, whose Chairman, Carlos Rodríguez-Pastor, was a speaker at the Shared Value Leadership Summit.
At the Summit, Mr. Rodriguez Pastor shared how Intercorp is fulfilling its purpose to “push Peru to become a developed country” through shared value investments in education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Among other examples across Intercorp’s companies, Mr. Rodriguez-Pastor talked Innova Schools, a private school network that focuses on curriculum design and high-quality school infrastructure. Through its core business model, Innova Schools have significantly improved education outcomes across Peru’s middle class. Students not only report significantly higher scores on national math and reading standardized tests than the average, but they also move onto postsecondary education. Some students secured scholarships at Ivy League and other global top-tier universities. From a business standpoint, Innova Schools have generated over $38 million in revenue that seed new schools and fuel the growth of Intercorp’s business. (You can watch the recording of Mr. Rodríguez-Pastor’s speech here.)
The energy to drive shared value and purpose in Latin America is evident, and Intercorp’s success in Peru hit close to home for our partners across the region. Through shared value, companies can drive meaningful societal change within their own unique national and regional context, and at the same time drive greater business growth.
Companies in other Latin American countries are energized to follow Intercorp’s footsteps. Only a few weeks after the Summit, participants from Peru are eager to forge partnerships that expand the dialogue around purpose by creating a list of Peruvian companies leading in shared value, inspired by Fortune’s “Change the World” list, developed in partnership with FSG. Representatives from Brazil committed to continue formalizing their local shared value network, connecting to the country’s Rede Brasil do Pacto Global, a local initiative of the UN Global Compact. Colombian corporate leaders were so inspired to bring back learnings that many are beginning to build their own shared value practice, with the support of ANDI (the National Industry Association), who helped galvanize the country’s delegation at the Summit.
At FSG, we see tremendous opportunity for companies in Latin America to drive real change on critical issues affecting their countries through business solutions that are scalable and sustainable. We are excited to see more and more leaders tap into the spirit of entrepreneurship, collaboration, and purpose to drive this work. Over the next few months, we will publish a series of blogs tied to the growing momentum garnered at the Summit and beyond. We will also be sharing these in Spanish on our FSG en America Latina webpage. We look forward to learning about how more companies in the region embrace shared value thinking, and are eager to support our partners in their journey. Please share with us your stories of living into an authentic corporate purpose and creating shared value in Latin America.