There’s a lot of philanthropic work going on around the world, but little thought is given to how the money is used and whether it really creates an impact.
Professors Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, co-founders of FSGa mission-driven global consulting firm, believes that rather than separating good from business, strategize for good business.
Founded in 2000, Boston-based FSG partners with foundations and corporations to create equitable systems of change.
FSG arrived in India in 2010 with four employees, and currently, the Mumbai-based company has a team of 45 including senior consulting professionals.
The FSG team in India
Rishi Agarwal, Managing Director and Head, Asia FSG, says: “We don’t believe that CSR alone can make a difference. Two percent of profits is all they have to spend on CSR. But that alone cannot change or create an impact in the world. For this to happen, the core business must change, new business models must be created, which can help generate profits and create value for society.
With a global team of 160 people in six offices across three continents, FSG claims to have helped over 600 brands including Godrej Group, Eli Lilly & Company, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Citigroup, Toyota, Microsoft, etc.
The main focus
At FSG, Rishi leads inclusive markets and access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices globally, in addition to leading the company’s work in Asia. . He has worked in WASH, healthcare, FMCG, automotive, agriculture and clean energy sectors in India.
Rishi is focused on leveraging his experience in the corporate world to use market-based solutions to drive lasting social change and working with businesses to address relevant social needs, with profitability as the central theme of their growth program.
The central idea is to restructure companies’ strategies and help them drive with purpose. FSG serves as a strategic advisor to companies, offering structured, flexible and adaptable project management plans, developing customized solutions, combining research, strategy, learning and evaluation.
When choosing companies, the main criterion sought by FSG is that the brands must be serious go beyond profits and create shared value— they must have a clear objective.
“Otherwise, for business strategy advice, there are enough consulting firms on the market. We don’t belong in that category,” says Rishi.
Work with companies
psi, a global non-profit organization that has supported family planning efforts in India, engaged FSG to conduct a study on family planning in India.
The objective was to identify key market failures that prevent women and girls in India from adopting family planning products and services, and to recommend opportunities to strengthen the market.
FSG studied the value chains and supporting environments of 5 common family planning products and services: condoms, oral contraceptive pills, IUDs, sterilization, and emergency contraception.
With this, he has developed a comprehensive assessment of the landscape highlighting the key barriers to success faced by individual players, as well as the market as a whole. FSG facilitated a workshop with various PSI offices to collaboratively discuss the research and explore opportunities for impact.
To date, FSG has worked with a large portion of Fortune 100 companies including Aetna, Citigroup, Lilly, Toyota, GE, Goldman Sachs, HP, Intel, The Coca Cola Company, Merck, Microsoft, Pfizer and UPS.
In addition, the work of the consulting firm has has impacted the lives of over 5,000 people and influenced over $75 million in investments and funding.
The length of time that FSG works with each company varies from project to project. This can range from three months to several years. The company also works with companies under a memorandum of understanding for projects such as education of children, creation of livelihood opportunities for women, etc. Rishi clarifies that these projects are done for non-monetary benefits.
Create an impact
FSG helps companies reimagine their existing systems to make them more inclusive and sustainable in their operations.
“Our understanding of the interconnectedness of social impact efforts is based on our global experience working on a wide range of issues, from health and education to labor mobility and employment. market improvement. We work closely with clients and stakeholders to develop custom solutions, combining research, strategy, learning and evaluation based on the budget and ideas discussed,” says Rishi.
“The impact can be seen from new messaging by brands (with gender as a focus) to new products (low unit packs/products specifically designed for people with disabilities) and the revamping of supply chains that companies have companies over the years. The shift towards converging business goals with social goals has never been more resounding, and that’s exactly what FSG is doing as a mission-driven consulting firm,” he explains. -he.
According to him, the next phase will likely see a new era of companies actively transforming the market to make it more sustainable, leading to an edge in business and social responsibility. This forces Indian companies to imagine the longer-term impact of the business, as well as how they conduct their operations.
FSG competes with Intellecap (which is the advisory arm of the Aavishkaar Group) and US-based Dalberg Global Development Advisors.
Currently, the seeded company is exploring program possibilities. It will continue its job retention practices, which create jobs for women, and hopes to create 100 new jobs for women over the next three to four years.