Calling All CR Leaders

At our CR event last Wednesday, Harvard Professor Michael Porter discussed his article “Creating Shared Value” and told us that we were his “ideal audience”.  He was excited to participate in the day’s event because he is always looking for additional illustrations of the ideas put forth in his article – and what better group to provide it than the 100 Best Corporate Citizens?  He urged us each to send him an e-mail describing how our company is using what he terms CSV – Creating Shared Value to enhance our competitive positions – and he offered some great examples of companies like Nestle and Novartis essentially creating and growing markets by thinking about problems not through the lens of pure philanthropy, but rather as opportunities to solve problems in ways that created new markets/revenue. We would love to hear what you think or hear about examples from your company.

In addition to the thought-provoking substantive program, one of the reasons I really enjoyed this event was the opportunity to network with such an incredible group.  We had many of the nation’s CR leaders gathered together from the corporate sector, and from non-profits and academia as well.  There was a cocktail hour afterward to facilitate some networking, and one of the day’s overarching themes was that this was the beginning of a conversation that we wanted to continue.  Rumor has it that some of the attendees actually found our bar down the hall after the cocktail hour ended and stayed there talking until closing – I hope that’s a sign of a good event! 

Since Mar 2 was the first CR forum that we hosted, we did learn a great deal. One thing we found was that we had not necessarily invited the right person at all of the companies.  As anyone in this field knows, at many companies, it is not always obvious from titles where CR responsibility lives.  We heard of 2 companies where the correct person had learned about the event quite late (but happily they were able to attend).  If you are someone reading this who would like to be invited to our CR-related events in the future, please send us an email with your company name and title so we can be sure our invites get to you. 

I hope all of the attendees enjoyed the event as much as I did, learned as much as I did, and are as eager for this conversation and these types of events to continue.