You don’t have to be an octogenarian, especially in the ever-evolving business world, to sit back in amazement and think “Wow, how things have changed.”
In even the past few years, we’ve gone from seeing a majority of corporations embedded in an opaque and competitive culture to a focus on transparency and the rise of social responsibility as a competitive advantage.
The next step? Getting better together.
PepsiCo & Coca-Cola: Collaborative Stewardship
It is all the more striking and powerful when the strangest of competitive bedfellows work toward the same goal. PepsiCo and Coca Cola, for example, are both members of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, which is working on hammering out a set of protocols for industry-wide enterprise inventory and product carbon footprinting approaches.
And, though not (yet) exactly working together outside of the Roundtable, both brand are heavily involved in their own water stewardship initiatives. They're also becoming more transparent with their commitments to environmental and social responsibility and taking responsibility for stewardship of one of the resources that has long been an external and unaccounted for cost of doing business.
Essentially, by working together, they are becoming better, more responsible corporations by addressing an industry-wide issue, in their case, water.
Solutions & Challenges: Remembering Kramer & Porter's 2006 Analysis
Still, it’s not only the things that need fixing that "working better together" can help address more effectively. New ways of partnering also lead to the innovative thinking that needs to emerge for today’s biggest corporate challenges. A 2006 Harvard Business Review article by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer highlighted the link between corporate social responsibility and competitive advantage in succinct terms:
“The fact is, the prevailing approaches to CSR are so fragmented and so disconnected from business and strategy as to obscure many of the greatest opportunities for companies to benefit society. If, instead, corporations were to analyze their prospects for social responsibility using the same frameworks that guide their core business choices, they would discover that CSR can be much more than a cost, a constraint, or a charitable deed—it can be a source of opportunity, innovation, and competitive advantage.”
If you missed that article (and wisdom), it’s not too late.