Chapter 3

Sustainable Development 2.0: Seeking “The Creation of Shared Values” 1

3.1. Introduction

The present title has been inspired by the “communicative posture” chosen by Nestlé1 for representing their social responsibility policy – the concept of the creation of shared values – and the ontological concern of sustainable development actors to revisit, at the beginning of the 21st Century, the values of liberal economy and capitalism.

Until the mid-1990s, sustainable development was a concept relatively strange to companies and non-governmental actors. Apart from the good practices of companies engaged very early usually by conviction, the strategy of the executive was the pride of the shareholder model dear to the neoliberals. The shared idea of the managers’ responsibility toward their shareholders was to provide them with the maximum possible dividends. Value creation was therefore principally related to the shareholders. Over a decade later, the attention of economic and political journalists, present at international conferences on this theme, focused on the testimonies of traditional or online firms, which revealed some of the practices that are sometimes more successful than their original practice. This enthusiasm has given way to doubt and questions: what’s behind the facade erected by corporate communications on sustainable development (window dressing)? How can we understand the enthusiasm for sustainable development and corporate social responsibility? Does the ...

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