I knew it was cold, but…

Over recent weeks I’ve written a number of posts suggesting that sustainability  (as I’ve long defined it in terms of “longevity”) is finally coming of age – not least Sir Stuart Rose’s assertion that businesses with unsustainable business models will die within 20 years.

This perspective takes sustainability way beyond “green” and reputation management and positions it in the context of fundamental long-term business viability – a key driver of institutional innovation if businesses are to remain credible, relevant and differentiated, particularly in this post-GFC world.

More precisely, I have written of sustainability as “a perspective on brand and business strategy that inextricably links long-term success with serving a higher social purpose.”

More than a little weird, then, to read about these very similar words taken from a new HBR article…

[Shared value] involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress… [This] is not on the margin of what companies do but at the centre.

It gets even weirder when you realise who wrote them (cue fanfare)…

Michael Bloody Porter!

[Incidentally, very few people know that that’s actually his full name :-)]

If you’d asked me to name the strategy uberguru least likely to have written these words, Porter – he of the Five Forces and the high priest of an outside-in, adversarial stance on corporate strategy – would almost certainly have come top of the list. And yet here it is in black and white.

I knew it was cold outside, but I didn’t think it was THAT cold. Hell, it seems, has actually frozen over!


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