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Harvard Business Review | December 2006

The authors make the case that the more closely tied a social issue is to a company’s business, the greater the opportunity to leverage the firm’s resources—to the benefit of both business and society. The article introduced the concept of shared value and won the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article in 2006. 

Top Takeaways

  1. The prevailing approaches to CSR are so disconnected from business that they obscure many of the greatest opportunities for companies to benefit society.
  2. When a well-run business applies its resources to problems it understands and in which it has a stake, it can have a greater impact on social good than any other institution.
  3. Shared value can foster economic and social development and change the way companies and society think about each other.
Corporate social responsibility can be much more than a cost, a constraint, or a charitable deed—it can be a source of opportunity, innovation, and competitive advantage.