One of the biggest challenges the world faces over the next half-century is how to create a better quality of life for a global population that is expected to top out at 9 billion by 2050. As populations expand, finite resources such as land, water and energy as well as biological resources get divided among increasing numbers of people, with the distinct possibility some will be left with no resources at all, posing a serious global humanitarian threat.
Capitalism is an unparalleled vehicle for meeting human needs, improving efficiency, creating jobs and building wealth. But a narrow conception of capitalism has prevented businesses from harnessing their full potential to meet society's broader challenges.
The idea that companies exist to maximise profits for their shareholders is not attractive any more. When benefits are lost, jobs limited and salaries cut, society begins to question corporations. So the corporate world has to change its mentality, establish new frames of reference to better understand problems, and be aware of what is going on internally and externally. The guru of strategy, Harvard's Michael Porter, has made a contribution to this change, promoting the concept of "Shared Value".
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