I tweeted the question yesterday, after Benjamin de Vries posted a video on Facebook asking "Is Michael Porter becoming a social entrepreneur?"
I was referring to my own article - "Re-imagining capitalism: The new bottom line" which includes arguments from our work between 1996 and 2006 on that subject.
Then I Googled 'Creating Shared Value' and re-discovered this article by John Elkington which I'd already commented on and a rather interesting paragraph:
"Michael Porter has made immense contributions in such fields as the five-forces and business-cluster theory, but we should honour – not diss – the work of the pioneers who opened up the new social and environmental horizons, even as we begin to build new, more opportunity-based approaches. Aiming for a target no-one else can yet see doesn't mean that we have to kick over visible targets designed for those still trying to improve their aim. Recognise, too, that CSV is unlikely to pick up some of the really thorny CSR issues, including human rights or bribery and corruption, and – in that context – we should beware of kicking out the bottom rungs of the evolutionary ladder just as emerging market companies are waking up to CSR."
The really thorny issues of human rights and corruption are where Creating Shared Value does not borrow, though it has been very much part of our work, as I described again yesterday with our challenge to organised crime in Ukraine over the profiteering from institutionalised and disabled children, leading on to the dishonesty of organisations like USAID and The British Council
Our letter to USAID and the Senate Council on Foreign Relations reveals the severity of what we were dealing with - organised crime maximising profit from care of the disabled and a trade in aborted foetuses. .
We were most certainly dissed, but I didn't notice any sustainablity consultants joining our cause.
It was the Guardian editors on social enterprise and sustainable business who were first to be offered my article 'Re-Imagining Capitalism for People and Planet'
As I said of my colleague yesterday - "he knew he stood alone"
The Guardian has been particularly hostile to my introducing our work for the Economics for Ecology conferences. My comments were repeatedly removed.
When I had the temerity to disagree with Mark Kramer however it reached the point of total blocking. When Kramer asserted that companies could profit from solving social problems I'd suggested that profit should be used for solving social problems, as did our papers.
Our approach was "profit for purpose" not "profit from a purpose" I'd pointed out.
I then asked 'Is Mark Kramer afraid' to engage in discussion.
I'm not sure what I'm dealing with here. As we'd pointed out earlier these disenfranchised children were very much the place development agencies did noty want to go. On the other hand, it could just be these editors establishing their own reputations, at any cost to the vulnerable.
As our founder put it on the About page of this site:
P-CED is now based in UK as a profit-for-purpose company, since 2004. We conduct small business for profit in UK, and invest profits for social purpose under profit-for-purpose rules in UK. This is somewhat similar to non-profit in the US, except we can conduct any business we see fit according to normal business rules without restrictions that bind non-profits or charities. We pay company and personal taxes according to usual business rules. Profits are not shielded in any way from normal taxation that any for-profit business has to pay. Whatever is left over is invested in the social purpose or purposes of our own choosing. That way we can do business in the normal, traditional way, changing only one thing: the output, what happens with profit.
We research and design regional and national programs. More about these programs are in the "Projects" section. We continue throughout with advocacy and activism in raising awareness of stakeholders we aim to help: vulnerable children, and people in poverty, first.
These problems almost always stem from government corruption that was a way of life in the USSR, and remains so to varying degrees. Hence the overall process of what we do in promoting change inevitably runs into varying degrees of conflict along the way. Dealing with such things as threats and smears is as much a part of projects as the hope and good will built within communities for standing up to it. Hope, good will, and improved lives far outweigh the stresses and strains mounted by corrupt government officials, so strife and institutional resistance to change are taken in stride as part of the change process.
That's something worth dwelling on - Hope, good will and improved lives weighed against the cost of taking a stand .
Can we propagate good while opposing what is harmful?
In The 'Death of the Liberal Class', Chris Hedges seems to capture the essence of this corporate dilution