Nestle is stepping up its commitment to Africa, with a trailblazing approach called Creating Shared Value (CSV). The Swiss firm hosted and live webcasted the 7th edition of the Global Forum on Creating Shared Value in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, last Tuesday. That was the first time the event was held in Africa, which took center stage in the discussions.
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the Chairman of Nestle, noted that a business could only be successful over time if it created value for society all the time. Thus his firm views CSV as the natural evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Blouin News previously covered the growth of CSR to the point where it is becoming the norm across many industries.
But CSV is more than just operating responsibly, and sponsoring peripheral or unrelated positive projects. Brabeck-Letmathe said that CSV was the approach to building a business capable of both delivering superior shareholder value as well as helping people improve their nutrition, health, and wellness.
To show this isn’t just empty rhetoric, Nestle made a big announcement at the Forum. “We’re going to create more than 3,000 internships and apprenticeships in African countries by the end of 2018. During the same period, we will offer qualified work experience to more than 300,000 youths,” said CEO Paul Bulcke. Doing so will help offset the high unemployment that poses “severe economic and social challenges” for the continent. (Approximately 70% of Africa’s roughly 1.2 billion people are 30 or under.)
If other multinational firms follow Nestle’s laudable example in CSV, it could make a lasting difference, to the benefit of everyone.