CSR – a core element of strategic business development

Earlier today I met with some colleagues from AstraZeneca in Södertälje, some kilometers south from Stockholm. We met to discuss business opportunities based on CSR-initiatives (Corporate Social Responsibility). One of the basis for the discussion was the so called Walderik-Mattson-pyramid:

If you have followed my blog previously you might already have seen the pyramid and you know it is an attemt to visualize different kinds of ”Social Responsibility” on different markets around the globe. From our core global philanthropic programs in e.g. Africa, via our work with organizations such as Grameen Health on e.g. micro-financing within our Global Access Strategy and the stronger and stronger presence within the generic market in order to increase the access to affordable medicines in ”emerging markets”, to the work around our branded pharmaceuticals in the developed world. In the top of the pyramid are the initiatives on health promotion and prevention. How can we contribute in the fight for better health in society through helping people from getting sick? Or expressed with the words from our CEO Jeff Kindler,

”…we have committed to advancing wellness, prevention, treatments and cures, because health is one of the most important investments a society can make. It’s time to move beyond simply helping people get better after they get sick. Shouldn’t we help them keep from getting sick in the first place?”

One of the issues I discussed with my AstraZeneca colleagues is how we can collaborate and act together to build a market and a business model for health promotion and prevention initiatives. How do we for instance show the value of a tobacco prevention initiative such as Dizza Tobak for the relevant agencies and payers in society?

If we through a project such as Dizza Tobak together with SAMBA and A Non Smoking Generation helps thousands of teenagers to ”say no to tobacco” – what is the value for society? Is it even possible to calculate? And if so, could companies run programs like that and be compensated in relation to the wellbeing generated? What can we learn from prevention-type of businesses such as the vaccine business? Since it is possible to calculate the societal value from vaccine programs I believe it should be possible also to show the value, and to quantify it, of programs and initiatives such as minhjärtskola.se or Smart Heart. Smart Heart is as you may know also available as an iPhone-app.

Helping people when they are sick has been our core business for long time, but more and more efforts are being made to help people not getting sick in the first place. And vaccines are just one example. Patient support IT-tools such as minhjärtskola.se are additional ways where we can help people in their lifes. Help them from getting sick. That’s probably our most important social responsible project! And wouldn’t it be reasonable that we find a way to split the revenue created between us and society… Well, at least I and my discussion partners today think so!


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