Corporate social responsibility is not filling a wish list of community wants: Michael Porter

To reduce the risk of having a large project scuttled by local activists, Michael Porter says companies must move beyond community relations and start aligning business interests with local needs and priorities.

Porter is a  professor at Harvard University and a leading authority on competitive strategy. He contributed to the FSG research report Extracting with Purpose, a year-long study released in October.

Porter says that just ad hoc filling of a community wants does not work.

"Investments based on community wish lists and attempts to placate the loudest voices in a community have led to ever-shifting community requests, unilateral projects that have little impact, prioritizing image over outcomes, and missed opportunities for business and community alignment," writes Porter in the study's forward.

Porter argues for a "shared value model".

"Companies must tie community prosperity to the present long-term needs of the business in areas such as qualified labor pool, capable suppliers, and well-functioning community infrastructure."

Read the report on how to align a resource businesses operations with the community.

Download (PDF, 898KB)

Image of Michael Porter by Yesicavaldez