Wageningen University students had many questions for Michael Porter on June 19. The Professor of Economics at Harvard Business School, an authority in the field of competitive strategy, spoke about creating Corporate Shared Value at AgriVision 2013, a conference in The Netherlands. Of course, the students that were invited to meet with Porter were impressed by the lecture of this world famous ‘guru’, but they were not afraid to ask critical questions.
Students asked challenging questions
"When a large company invests in a farm that supplies its raw materials, for instance to increase the yield or the quality, then that is valuable to both companies, so it is Corporate Shared Value", introduced Nick Persoon his remark. He was one of the fifteen Wageningen University students that had the opportunity to pose a question. "But I can imagine that the big corporation does not want the farmer to also supply raw materials to others. Does creating shared value not lead to small companies, like farmers, being locked in by large multinationals?"
Michael Porter answered comprehensively
Porter answered all questions. To Nick Persoon he replied: "Partnering is essential for creating Shared Value." Partnerships give small agricultural companies the opportunity to improve the quality of their products, which in turn makes them interesting partners for other companies. Porter: "If big corporations want those farms to only deliver to them, then they will have to build good relationships with these farmers." Porter acknowledged that governments should ensure that large companies do not get too much power, but he added that he doesn’t foresee many problems with smallholder farmers being locked in by big corporations.