In the midst of the Euro-zone crisis, it would have been easy to miss the recent publication of the new Communication on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)from the European Commission. Publication had been delayed several times as rival camps battled over the text.
Cranfield’s professor of corporate responsibility gives his personal view on how business schools have developed corporate responsibility programmes, and where their future focus should be. Twenty years ago, as one of the managing directors of Business in the Community, the UK-based, business-led coalition promoting corporate responsibility, I visited the Harvard Business School (HBS), to suggest it should teach corporate responsibility.
Leading companies understand why being a good corporate citizen leads to economic success. The “business case” for corporate responsibility was given new resonance this summer by the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the events that followed.
The baying mob in full cry, circling alleged perpetrators of great wrongs, is not a pretty sight. Sudden swarming, like nests of disturbed wasps, is bad both for corporate and political decision-making, and for justice. In an era of 24/7 news-channels, internet and social media, the potential for swarming is dramatically magnified – as we have seen in the last three weeks.
Recently The Economist ran the cover story "Welcome to the Anthropocene – Geology's new age."
"Rather than placing us still in the Holocene, a peculiarly stable era that began only around 10,000 years ago, the geologists say we are already living in the Anthropocene: the age of man."
Introducing the 2011 Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index and the context of The Antropocene, The Perfect Storm, Climate Change and 9-10billion people by mid-21st Century. Why business needs to commit to Corporate Sustainability
For many years, ABN AMRO Brazil was a leading exponent of sustainability. Happily, now that it has become part of Banco Santander in Brazil, the tradition continues. As well as seeking to become a more sustainable business itself, Santander Brazil has regularly been running sell-out, day-long workshops for its business customers to learn from the bank's experience in embedding sustainability.
On Thursday Rachel Barton and thousands of other Marks and Spencer staff across Britain will be hoping that you will take your used Marks and Spencer clothes back into a Marks and Spencer store.
Corporate CEOs are busy people. Their time is at a premium. They have to focus on the most important things. When it comes to ensuring that sustainability and responsibility are becoming embedded in their business, one of the most important things they can do, is to have some "crucial conversations."