Companies and other organizations that have undergone the journey to become a shared value company, or to identify their own brand of value creation, have each forged a unique path to get there. These unique journeys are shaped based on the sector and size of the organization, their internal leadership and culture, their consumers, and the challenges and opportunities encountered along the way. Panelists representing several of these companies and organizations described their own journeys, focusing on the rationale for choosing a particular strategy, how they got there, and challenges they faced. The development of a strategy involves many different functions within an organization, thus, the panel represented diversity not only of companies and organizations, but also positions held within each organization. Key messages from the presentations and panel discussion are summarized in Box 5-1.
Kyle Peterson, FSG
Before hearing from individual companies and organizations about their own journeys, Kyle Peterson, Managing Director of FSG, provided an overview of FSG’s methodology for helping companies approach and deploy a shared value strategy. In his opening remarks, Peterson noted that since its definition in 2011, shared value has been embraced by many companies, and in the past 5 years, many companies have applied
the concept to create their social and business impacts. He emphasized that shared value is not corporate social responsibility (CSR), philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a set of corporate policies and practices that enhance the competitive advantage and profitability of the company while simultaneously advancing social and economic conditions in the communities in which it sells and operates.
Peterson mentioned that, through its efforts to help companies strategize, implement, and sustain their shared value initiatives at their organizations, FSG has identified three phases that companies go through in their shared value journey. He noted that the first and the key proof point is developing shared value initiatives. This could be in the form of creating a new product that is going to enter a market to reach low-income customers, redefining productivity in the value chain, or strengthening local clusters, he added. Peterson continued that once there is success, the companies adopt the initiative and tend to do more. The initiative is launched throughout the company across all levels and departments, then measured, redefined, and scaled up. The third phase is expansion, when systems are implemented to spur continuous shared value innovation across the companies. At this stage shared value initiatives are integral to every business unit’s strategy and goals.
Peterson noted that companies tend to move throughout the shared value journey at different paces depending on three factors—the motivation, the people taking the shared value initiative forward, and the realistic issue of the success of nascent initiatives. Using examples from Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD); Medtronic; Walmart; General Electric (GE); and Eli Lilly and Company he explained that apart from the varying paces, different companies have different entry points on their journeys to shared value creation, although some actually do not start out as becoming shared value companies. Peterson also noted that the people who create shared value come from different places and positions in the companies. He argued that although the CEO is a vital position and ultimately has to see opportunity to transform the company and think about shared value across the enterprise, the champions of the shared value concept could come from other positions as well. One example is a chief marketing officer who is looking for a way to differentiate the company around its purpose or business unit. Peterson continued that the people who create shared value see social purpose as an opportunity to create competitive advantage through a company’s or product’s brand; see chances to address specific business challenges and think about shared value with a more specialized lens; see opportunity to complement traditional corporate social responsibility with shared value; and look across a company’s many interactions with society.
Peterson outlined a step by step strategy that most companies use in identifying shared value opportunities. The first step is to review existing investments by interviewing initiative leaders for each existing initiative, assessing them against business and social value, and conduct a working session with each client. The second step is to engage senior managers on critical business issues and link to social issues, conduct external interviews with relevant experts and beneficiaries, and to create a list of issues with shared value potential, to develop a landscape of issues. The third step is to screen identified issues against business, social, and feasibility criteria, and further narrow issues based on additional secondary criteria if needed, to screen issues for shared value potential. The fourth step is to prioritize shared value opportunities by developing a high-level sketch of potential activities and expected business and social outcomes, and identifying three or so priority issues to address in significant ways with shared value. Kyle Peterson emphasized that various tools are available to guide companies through these steps and added that successfully pursuing shared value requires a different approach to measurement. He explained that when companies actually monitor and report their social results, they can get the business results they are seeking.
The three forms of shared value—reconceiving products, redefining productivity in the value chain, and enabling local clusters, look different
depending on the industry, Peterson noted. He mentioned that companies that have been working on shared value initiatives for a while embed shared value throughout the company and develop processes to work beyond creating singular initiatives. He said that such companies tend to look at issues on organizational commitment by redefining company purpose and setting a shared value vision, connecting defined social needs to business strategy, and building an organizational culture. Peterson continued that those companies think about enabling their infrastructure by designing innovation structures and external partnerships, developing or adapting business processes, and creating systems for measuring shared value. He added that such companies think about motivating and incentivizing their employees; developing knowledge, competencies, and leadership in their employees; and recruiting different types of people than they had before in their local markets. Peterson observed that with the rise of shared value, major international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), in addition to bilateral donors, have started creating business partnerships with corporations to find ways for mutual benefits.
Finally, Kyle Peterson offered three key challenges for the panelists to consider when discussing their experiences on their respective journeys to shared value. First of all, he wanted to know the panelists’ understanding of shared value and how their companies see that as different from corporate philanthropy. Second, he wanted to know the timeliness of their shared value benefits, and third, the internal challenges in verifying initiatives that lead to the anticipated changes considering the lack of measurements.
Eli Lilly and Company
Bart Peterson, Eli Lilly and Company
Bart Peterson, senior vice president for corporate affairs and communications for Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly), oversees the company’s government affairs, public policy, communications, market access in every country except the United States, and global health and corporate responsibility work, including the work of the corporate foundation. When Peterson joined the company in 2009, it had one global health program, the Lilly MDR-TB (multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) Partnership. While it is an extraordinary partnership, it is not a shared value initiative and focuses on a communicable disease despite Lilly being a noncommunicable disease (NCD) company. The company has invested more than $170 million in fighting drug-resistant tuberculosis and has partners all
over the world as a part of this initiative. However, relatively few people within Lilly are involved in the initiative because it is not aligned with its core business. After becoming familiar with the shared value concept, the company was interested in developing an initiative aligned with its current portfolio. The Lilly NCD Partnership was created and primarily focuses on diabetes, as the harbinger of a complete shift into the arena of shared value. However, Peterson noted that the company’s shared value initiatives do not exclude the company’s traditional philanthropy and initiatives such as the MRD-TB Partnership continue.
As a global pharmaceutical company, Lilly has always understood that beyond its core business of developing and marketing new medicines, the company has a responsibility to reach beyond its traditional customers to those who lack access to their medicines. However, as Peterson noted previously, Lilly’s major global health initiative, while successful at contributing to this responsibility, was unrelated to its current business. Over the past 15 years, Lilly’s core business had shifted completely away from medicines for communicable diseases, but its global health flagship program remained focused on TB. The company has continued to sustain the MDR-TB Partnership based on philanthropic giving out of a moral commitment. Peterson said that when he was being recruited by Lilly, he went on the company’s website and the first thing that popped out at him was the MDR-TB Partnership; however, when he started at the company, he learned that only a small number of people were actually involved with the partnership.
The rationale for Lilly to develop new initiatives based on shared value was the realization that developing something that was part of the business and also made a difference for society beyond the company’s core work would engage employees more, provide an opportunity to apply resources beyond money, and would be more sustainable. Lilly also recognized that the global health community was moving in the direction of NCDs and, by engaging in global health relating to NCDs, Lilly could contribute to larger global health priorities and engage in discussions about setting the global agenda and standards.
In the case of Lilly, Bart Peterson said that its shift to shared value was driven by a strong commitment and interest from the CEO initially, but also required the involvement of the business leadership both in corporate affairs and the emerging markets business unit, bringing together all of the company’s business disciplines to develop this new model. Peterson described the process. Lilly CEO, John Lechleiter was asked in a meeting what percentage of the world’s population he believed had access to Lilly’s medicines. Based on some back-of-the-envelope calculations, Lechleiter concluded somewhere between 1 to 1.5 billion out of more than 7 billion people in the world could access a Lilly drug. He brought this
information back to Lilly’s executive committee and asked Peterson and the head of Lilly’s emerging markets business unit to work on developing a new business model that could at least double the number of people who realistically have access to Lilly medicines. Peterson noted that it took a lot of work and time but, as a result, the company launched a new business model in China in 2015 to bring diabetes medicines to the lowest level of the Chinese health care system, the community health centers. Although the business model for serving this population is not as profitable as models serving other segments of Chinese society, as part of the model, Lilly has redefined its metric of success through the number of patients served, not the margin on the sale of the products.
Peterson summarized two examples of how Lilly is measuring success of their partnerships. First, in the diabetes in China project that Peterson mentioned, Lilly is looking at the simple metric of the number of people served. In the Lilly NCD Partnership, success is being measured differently through a framework called Research, Report and Advocate. The work on the ground in the pilot projects is the research side, and Lilly is producing real data that can be reported in peer-reviewed journals, which will tell what worked and what did not in developing new ways of serving and providing care to underserved people in the area of diabetes care. The second part of the framework is the advocate piece to use the data collected in the pilot programs to advocate for other partners in the public and private sectors to scale up what works. Based on this framework, one of the metrics of success is the number of peer-reviewed journals that include the collected data. Because of the dearth of data about what works and what does not for treating people with diabetes in the primary care setting in poorer areas of developing countries, Lilly considers this a great accomplishment.
Peterson suggested that the world has changed and the common notion among NGOs that any partnership with a private company that might have a business interest is toxic has shifted. The understanding that through shared value initiatives there are more opportunities for sustainability is becoming much more common.
Peterson cautioned those who are considering taking the journey to shared value to not underestimate the challenge of explaining the concept of shared value within your company. Companies are constantly facing challenges around cost efficiencies and it is easy for those in business to view shared value as a new gimmick that will take focus away from the company’s core business. Explaining the real business value of shared value takes time and effort.
Peterson noted that Lilly is very clear about which of its initiatives have business value for the company and which initiatives are purely for social benefit. The initiatives that have business value are funded through
the business, and the company is up-front about what is in it for them as well as what they believe is in it for society and the communities in which they are working. Those initiatives that are purely for social benefit are funded through the corporate foundation, and they are very explicit about what can and cannot be done in terms of promoting the business in any way through that work. It then becomes easier to work through their foundation with organizations that may have concerns about the profit side.
Lori Stetz, Aetna International
Lori Stetz, Senior Medical Director for Aetna International, contributed her perspective from an insurance company whose focus is improving health both in the United States and globally. Stetz noted that, through the corporate foundation, Aetna funds technology to advance innovation and initiatives to increase access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity in underserved communities with a focus on addressing health equity. These investments are targeted to improve the health of individuals and populations, including those that Aetna insures; improved health outcomes can reduce health care costs and serve Aetna’s business. Aetna does not use the term “shared value” to describe the initiatives of its foundation; however, these initiatives have the elements of shared value creation.
As a health insurance company, Stetz emphasized that everything circles back to health for Aetna, and any initiative to support health in a community can provide some rewards for Aetna. As a global insurance company, Aetna operates in many different health care environments. Stetz has been able to see firsthand how the company’s clinical decision making and coverage policies can impact the evolution of a health care environment, providing opportunities for Aetna to advocate for evidence-based medicine practices and good health insurance practices in a novel market.
Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo
Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer at PepsiCo, provided his perspective from a very large company with a diversity of food and beverage products in its portfolio. Although PepsiCo is primarily known for its carbonated soft drinks, these products only
account for 25 percent of the business Khan noted. The other 75 percent is composed of products often not recognized as Pepsi products, including Gatorade, Lays, Quaker Foods, and Tropicana. Khan said that PepsiCo operates in more than 200 countries, and about 1.3 billion people consume a PepsiCo product every day. Performance with Purpose, Pepsi’s value creation strategy, was developed about 10 years ago by its CEO, Indra Nooyi. This strategy shifted the company’s focus from what it did with its profits to how it made its profits with a lens on sustainable financial performance across the domains of human, environmental, and talent sustainability. In his role at PepsiCo, Khan said that he is responsible for the entire business portfolio, including research and development (R&D), safety, and regulatory divisions, and all business unit innovations and pipelines as well as the company’s sustainability agenda.
Khan explained PepsiCo’s rationale for its approach by describing the reality of the current global environment. Currently a billion people go hungry every day and by 2050, the global population is estimated to increase by another 2.5 billion. Global food production per hectare is flat, 70 percent of the planet’s water use is coming from the agricultural sector, and about one-third of the greenhouse gases are coming from the agricultural sector. As a food and beverage company, this is not a sustainable environment. Recognizing this reality, PepsiCo understood that it would need to adapt its business practices if it would continue to be a leading company.
Khan emphasized the importance of understanding the time horizons under which different parts of the company operate, and then translating the sustainability or shared value agenda as part of that time horizon of the business. Organizations have subunits that work under different time horizons. The time horizon for R&D often is long-term, 10 years or more, while other parts of the company may be expected to report on 30-day results. Once one starts to speak another one’s language, people start to understand. The challenge is that the expectations of different stakeholders are on different time horizons. Khan suggested senior executives are responsible for getting stakeholders to start to understand how to align time horizon and why it is critical.
Communication requires first listening to stakeholders. At PepsiCo Khan did this by bringing key credible experts into the company to create a dialogue between internal experts and outside efforts. Consumers and stakeholders may need to be engaged, but will offer something once they become part of the fold. The second point Khan raised was that companies need to be better at connecting with NGOs, government, universities, and other stakeholder groups. Partnerships with them bring knowledge and thinking to PepsiCo, and provide opportunities for other stakeholders to better understand PepsiCo’s perspective.
Khan also brought up the issue of engaging skeptics. From the beginning, there needs to be an acceptance of the fact that there will be skepticism about the journey the company is taking toward value creation. These skeptics may not be on board at the beginning, but by creating a credible coalition of the willing and communicating effectively about the initiatives, the coalition can grow. It can take courage and patience to continue on the journey despite the skepticism, but the journey requires staying with it, continuing to engage both internal and external partners, and listening to ensure there is consistency.
Khan cautioned about the need to carefully pick metrics because all stakeholders are not on the same page with what they value being measured. He provided an example to illuminate this point. There are two types of sustainable packaging: biodegradable and biocompostable. While biocompostable disappears, it releases carbon into the environment during the process. Stakeholders concerned with reducing carbon footprints and greenhouse gases will want to measure how much is being released. However, if landfill advocates are the stakeholders, they will want to measure how much is going to a landfill rather than what is being released into the atmosphere. Now leadership within the company using the packaging has to decide which metric to prioritize. In this example of biodegradable versus biocompostable, there is no consensus yet within the science and academic community on which is better from a sustainability standpoint; however, within the operating business, a decision has to be made now. Khan also emphasized that, when considering the ecosystem in which companies are operating and making decisions, each of these metrics is one piece of the puzzle, and where you are focusing within the ecosystem will create different answers to what the right metrics are.
Khan suggested that one of the largest challenges is how to create the right incentives to spur the right behaviors. Individuals do what they are incentivized to do, and thus Khan asked, how do you get the disruptors in an organization to be incentivized, but allow the operators to then come along on this journey with the right incentive? Khan suggested that it requires balance and agreement among the chief financial officer, the head of human resources, and the head of innovation to incentivize the execution of an articulated strategy.
Estée Lauder Companies
Nancy Mahon, Estée Lauder Companies
Nancy Mahon provided a perspective on the panel from the two roles she currently holds: Senior Vice President for Global Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship at Estée Lauder and Executive Director of the
MAC AIDS Fund. In her role at Estée Lauder, Mahon looks across the company’s family of brands to identify company-wide approaches to social engagement. The MAC AIDS Fund, MAC Cosmetics’ philanthropic foundation, raises about $50 million per year through the sale of lipstick to serve those affected by AIDS. Within the past year, the foundation has supported about 600 grantees in approximately 92 countries with a current focus on public–private partnerships (PPPs) to end AIDS in certain cities, both within the United States and globally.
Mahon noted that, like many family-owned companies, MAC has a tradition of philanthropic giving and it has been part of the DNA of the company since its beginning. MAC Cosmetics’ founders were closely impacted by the AIDS epidemic and, from the start of the company, they have maintained a charitable giving program focused on AIDS prevention and treatment. This flagship program, the Viva Glam campaign, gives 100 percent of the selling price of its product line to the foundation. As the company has grown, so has the foundation. Mahon said that this initiative and MAC’s commitment to charitable giving is likely a contributing factor in the company’s overall commercial success. Customers express their values and the companies they support in what they choose to buy or not buy, and customer loyalty has been a mainstay for MAC. Beyond customer loyalty, Mahon also noted that MAC has the highest employee retention rate of any luxury cosmetic company, and one of the top three reasons employees list for staying at MAC is the MAC AIDS Fund. While based on charitable giving, the MAC AIDS Fund has provided real business value for the company through customer loyalty and employee retention.
Mahon raised a few concerns about the notion of shared value creation, which differs from the value creation through the MAC AIDS Fund that she described. She questioned the rationale for using the term “shared value” itself. She noted that it is a term that she would not use in business discussions at her company because its meaning would not be understood. She wonders if by using this term whether the meaning behind it is lost and perhaps internal discussions should focus just on value and how value is defined by the company. She encouraged the group to focus instead on holding themselves to the highest level of business rigor and not create a separate discussion that in the future will need to be reintegrated into regular value discussions.
Mahon suggested that the problem that companies and the rest of the development community is trying to solve through the paradigm of shared value is creating enough resources to meet social needs. In a very profound way, the math does not work on solving any health care or social justice issues with the current resources on hand through govern-
ment and traditional philanthropy. Examples of epidemics such as AIDS and the Ebola virus demonstrate that even when there is an ability to end an epidemic, the math still is not working because the resources and the current models are not enough.
Mahon commented that, through the MAC AIDS Fund and her experiences with the PPPs they have set up to achieve their goals, she has learned that partnerships, and alignment of objectives and culture across partners are hard. However, despite the challenges, consumers and consumer activism are pushing companies to engage in social issues, and through social media and their purchasing power, they will continue to push business out of their comfort zone to be involved. She used the example of the Viva Glam campaign to illustrate this point. If a MAC customer was given $17 after buying a lipstick for the same price, she might not give that money to be used for AIDS prevention or treatment causes, but she certainly does care that MAC is giving it to AIDS. There is a strong customer perspective that companies should be involved in collective action to address social issues, and it is forcing businesses out of their comfort zone to become engaged.
For a customer-elective company such as MAC, current data on trends in customer decisions are important data and Mahon noted that more customers are moving toward choosing brands because of their social purpose. Thus MAC realizes that engaging in social good as a company is good for business, however, Mahon suggested the challenge is supporting sustainable good works that have more than a 1-year life span.
On the issue of defining success, Mahon emphasized the need for metrics. She suggested keeping metrics basic and human impact focused. Examples include numbers of meals served or people housed. However, she also noted the impact of storytelling metrics to demonstrate impact. As an example, MAC collected Skype videos of employees across the world sharing their own perspective and value identified with the company’s social engagement and thus produced a video for senior leadership.
Mahon suggested that traditional corporate philanthropy in which the corporate foundation is at an arm’s length from the business is evolving to become integrated as a full senior partner into the business. Being integrated as a business ally is important, and making decisions together is particularly important, when some decisions might disadvantage one business unit, but would be better for the overall company.
Population Services International (PSI)
Cate O’Kane, PSI
Cate O’Kane, Director of Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy at PSI, provided a perspective on shared value from an international NGO. PSI, based in Washington, DC, with programs in 65 countries around the world, aims to increase access to health products and services for women and their families. PSI sees shared value as one tool, among several, that the organization has to ensure it can achieve that mission. A focus on the private sector and the efficiencies that can be gained from their business is not a new concept for PSI, and the organization maintains partnerships with companies based on philanthropy and CSR. However, PSI sees its shared value partnerships as providing momentum and opportunity to focus on long-term business investments for the poor rather than just operating through 1-year grants.
O’Kane noted that much of the work that PSI does is because of recognized market failures, for example, lack of access to medicines and health products. However, in turning that on its head and looking at the organization’s mission as a market opportunity generator as opposed to the solver of market failures, the rationale for shared value becomes apparent. Furthermore, with the decline in overseas development assistance, PSI realizes the need to identify and work with partners in the private sector. Particularly in some areas such as NCDs, the majority of investments are being made by private-sector companies, such as Eli Lilly, that are at the forefront of trying to tackle the problem.
The third rationale from PSI’s perspective is sustainability. Although one-year grants are useful, sustainable solutions have more potential when developing partnerships based on business investments that are being considered for 10- to 15-year time spans. O’Kane suggested these longer-term investment-focused partnerships have the potential to create win-win situations for all partners and ensure that there is a market left in that country in which the private sector will engage. At this stage, the NGO partner is then able to move on and tackle new problems and market failures elsewhere.
In her position at a nonprofit such as PSI, O’Kane said she is always aware of the need for new funding and constantly evaluates the different streams of funding available, so her Chief Financial Officer is an important internal stakeholder. Beyond that, O’Kane’s focus is on project implementation and ensuring there is buy-in at the country level within the organization, so the Regional Directors and Country Directors are also important stakeholders. Often the mindsets of these internal stakeholders at the regional and country levels have been molded based on their expe-
riences with more traditional public-sector development funders, where the expected outcomes are focused on defined contract timelines and budgets. Developing shared value partnerships requires a shift to focusing on investments and profitability. O’Kane emphasized that this mindset shift can start with a CEO, but needs to resonate with field staff in PSI’s 65 countries that are managing partnerships and on-the-ground programs if shared value is to be truly embraced throughout the organization.
Communicating with their partners and external stakeholders is an important part of PSI’s shared value journey, both to demonstrate impact and to encourage more partners and stakeholders to join the journey. The communication tools that PSI has created include PSI’s Impact Magazine, Social Media Campaign toolkits, Quarterly Partnership in Practice E-newsletter, and PSI’s Corporate Partnerships Impact Report. Another important move is to become part of a learning community that is pushing the agenda and communicating with others who are on their own journey. Finally, she suggested the third part is publicly speaking as an NGO about working with the private sector, not being afraid of the word “profit,” and explaining the opportunities to create markets and help target communities through shared value partnerships. O’Kane emphasized that one of the largest challenges is the mindset change from short term to long term. Good business strategy requires thinking from a long-term perspective.
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