In contemporary society, the pressures for businesses to operate sustainably have become common discourse. However, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Private Sector are often “bolted-on” as a peripheral element of a business’ core operations. Despite best intentions, this strategy can be short-sighted and limited in its scope.

Through the establishment of Creating Shared Value (CSV), businesses can address and mitigate societal issues, while generating improved performance and impacting bottom-line financials. By pivoting the focus onto Shared Value policies and procedures, organisations can better understand markets & business management, and maximise positive community impact, all without compromising the interests of their shareholders.

To increase the understanding of how the private sector can sustainably and strategically drive impact in partnership with the social sector, we ran a workshop on ‘Creating Shared Value’ (CSV). The CSV framework was launched by Prof. Michael Porter at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2011, and publicised in a January Harvard Business Review article that same year.

CSV can be a powerful tool in prompting businesses to approach social and environmental issues differently. By leveraging the resources and innovation of the Private Sector, organisations can create new solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues by embedding sustainability into the core of their operations. Value creation can be maximised by identifying and strengthening the unmet needs of the community the business operates in, by embedding Shared Value into the core of the business and by recognising its role in the bottom-line of the organisation.

This workshop convened Executive Managers and Heads of Sustainability and Social Investment Departments across the Gulf Region, and outlined the necessary strategies, methods and structures needed to support the creation of Shared Value.