Discussions... Comments... CSR!

Good morning Readers!

As this section is called ‘Blogs’, I will take the liberty to publish my thoughts, opinions, views, comments or suggestions; either completely fresh or may be published on some other platform already. As long as it is relevant to CSR and seem to add some value to the brainstorming and understanding of CSR, it should be acceptable, I believe. At least it won’t be imprudent or indiscrete, I promise!

To start with this experiment, I would prefer a discussion started on LinkedIn about ‘IS CSV BETTER THAN CSR?’ by D. John Carlson.

“3 points made by Michael Porter at Harvard CSV – Corporate Share Value is a concept developed by Michael Porter and his colleagues at Harvard University. CSR is of course – Corporate Social Responsibility. According to Porter CSR is all about:
• Being responsible.
• Doing no harm.
• Redistributing money.
It is often essential, but rarely commercial in its own right – although it may support commercial activities through public relations value.
According to Porter CSV is all about:
• Rethinking capitalism.
• Exploiting opportunities.
• Creating value.
In essence CSV involves corporations applying capitalism thinking and approached to generating profits, and indeed maximising profits by addressing issues of social consequence, such as:
• Reducing waste in a way that generated commercial profits.
• Making healthy food that can sell at a commercial profit.
• Collaborating with suppliers to generate better returns for all.
Again, according to Porter, this can involve:
• Products that address consumer needs.
• Alternative approaches to the value chain.
• Impacting directly on the business eco system.
It makes good sense, but:
• Is it really a new approach?
• Is this not what business is going already?
• Is this just window dressing designed to make business look better?
I certainly like the idea of CSV, but:
• I am not sure it is anything new (business is already ceasing on opportunities).
• I am not sure it will decrease the need for CSR. ( a point Porter would agree with).
• I am sure that it can be part of an ethical approach to business.
1. CSV is on the agenda.
2. CSR is alive and well.
3. An ethical approach to business will become increasingly important.”

To which I replied on Friday, May 1, 2015 11:25 AM as follows -

Dear D. John,

I am not clear whether you have a concern or are you looking forward to some brainstorming on the matter or you want to establish your own perspective of the thing! With reference to the ‘Porter’ theory you try to differentiate (and compare) CSR from CSV on some (actually quite a few) technically bulleted points and also take liberty to pass on your judgment with an appeal to trust you.

However, since it has come in form of a question put forward for discussion, I will ignore the syntax and will adhere to the context by trying to answer ‘Is CSV better than CSR?’, as I perceive it.

This is like asking whether Sweet Lime water is better than Salty Lime Water. The basic ingredient here is Water for the thirst and neither Lime nor Flavor that is added for ‘enhancing the experience’. As you argue, business is doing it already; I would like to elaborate it with the same analogy. Whenever the quantity and quality of either lime or sweetener exceeds water, if will defeat the purpose of quenching the thirst by making the drink sour and rejected by the taste buds. Not to mention, it would do more harm than good to the consumer if consumed nevertheless.

Similarly, sustainable and inclusive development of Individual, Society and ecosystem it belongs to is (or should be) the Thirst of the Human Species and to address this, a normal business offering its products or services is like the water to quench the thirst. The problem starts when the business starts adding flavors to the water to make the drink more enjoyable than essential and keeps on doing it till it becomes almost acidic. Now this acidic drink could do no good to any of its stakeholder – the producer, the process or the consumer.

CSR and CSV are the two wheels of the Chariot of Development driven by the charioteer (business) with the power of horses (market forces) that should be always kept in balance by maintaining the water just right for addressing the thirst, a little sweetener is no harm provided it adds value to the entire process. Hence, it could be resolved that CSR is as good as CSV as long as the spirit and intent of the concept of fundamental human rights, equal opportunity and environmental sustainability are understood well and put into (business) practice religiously, I believe.

Need I mention that your comments, feedback, suggestions and remarks would be greatly appreciated…? Thanks.

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