Sustainable Food and Shared Value

When the top corporate CEOs gathered in New York for the Shared Value Leadership Summit on 11-13 May, Yara Africa featured as the keynote business study.

Shared Value Initiative

The Yara case study was used as an example of how the private sector has developed strategies to deal with societal needs. This study was written by Professor Michael E. Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School. The professor is one of the leading authorities on strategy and competitiveness.

Mark Kramer who is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School said that this was a good case on creating shared value. He said this after presenting the challenges and results Yara passed through when partnering in order to develop Tanzania’s agricultural sector. Kramer is also known for founding the FSG which is a consultancy firm.

Creating win-win situations

This business case study explains how Yara has created shared value in the African continent. Yara has done this by connecting the small scale farmers with infrastructure which has provided access to markets. As a result, the economic developments in the rural areas grew in the rural farming communities.

Terje Tollefsen who is the Head of Strategy at Yara and Business Development said it was very inspiring for Yara to be the subject of a case study by Mark Kramer and Michael Porter at the Harvard Business School. “Shared value explains how it is possible to align the shareholder and societal interests creating win-win situations” Tollefsen added responding to the case at the Partners day.

Mark Kramer and Michael Porter argue that shared value can lead to successful business strategies. The Yara case study will be part of the Harvard executive classes curriculum.

Multiplying yields sustainably

The audience received the case study actively and positively. They engaged on discussions about how post-harvest losses occur in a country experiencing hunger on and low yields and why educating the farmers on building roads is not sufficient in transforming the agricultural sector i.e. Yara market.

Yara emphasizes the importance of delivering business solutions in order to improve agricultural productivity in a sustainable way in order to grow the company’s business. Yara is leading the industry BY engaging in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). The company is helping policy makers, farmers, and major food and brewery companies in reducing their carbon footprints.

Sean De Cleene who is the senior VP Global Initiative Strategy & Business Development at Yara spoke about CSA alongside Rockefeller Foundation representatives, the Sustainable Food Lab, Monsanto, and the National Australia Bank in a panel discussion. Sean De Cleene spoke of how Yara has combined a set of strategic goals by sharing some examples on how CSA has already been implemented.

He explained the scientific project and Climate Compatible Agriculture, the ECCAg, documented how to increase yields without increasing the greenhouses gas emissions. Cleene also said they have started looking on how to add this knowledge to a wider concept and partner with SAGCOT in creating an inclusive and sustainable growth.

This was the fifth consecutive year of the Shared Value summits under the slogan Business at its Best. It focuses on how to generate new business solutions in order to solve social issues.

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