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.
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