DAVOS, Switzerland – We have spent the past five years trying to
jumpstart the global economy. After a promising start, we now seem to be
heading in the wrong direction.
The crisis continues to bite in advanced countries, emerging and developing economies are slowing down, and more economic gloom looms on the horizon.
Some 200 million people worldwide are out of a job. According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends 2013, that number is rising and could reach 210 million by 2017.
Young people are particularly hard hit. Close to 75 million 15-24 year olds are unemployed. Many of them experience long spells of unemployment right from the start, or leave the labour market altogether, often losing their professional and social skills and missing out on on-the-job experience.
Ask any of these young women and men what the key to a decent life is and nine out of ten times the answer will be: a decent job. Ask anyone else and the answer will most likely be the same.
There is one idea we have not tried: making job creation our number one priority. We have talked about it, but haven’t really acted on it. It’s a simple idea that could promote a sustainable recovery from the crisis now, and lead to poverty eradication in the future.
This is particularly timely as we start debating the post-2015 development agenda...
The Idea in Brief
The concept of shared value—which focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress—has the power to unleash the next wave of global growth.
An increasing number of companies known for their hard-nosed approach to business—such as Google, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Unilever, and Wal-Mart—have begun to embark on important shared value initiatives. But our understanding of the potential of shared value is just beginning.
There are three key ways that companies can create shared value opportunities:
• By reconceiving products and markets
• By redefining productivity in the value chain
• By enabling local cluster development
Every firm should look at decisions and opportunities through the lens of shared value. This will lead to new approaches that generate greater innovation and growth for companies—and also greater benefits for society.