Some years ago, it occurred to me that the emerging systems and institutions that exist around sustainability and corporate responsibility did not just magically appear. They required the initiative, drive and desire for change on the part of one or more individuals — or, as Margaret Mead famously said, a small group of committed individuals. So, I decided to study the individuals who had started the institutions that now frame the discussion of corporate sustainability and responsibility.
Dr Katrin Muff asks why there is such a big gap between what we know and what we do
Welcome to The Transatlantic Blog Debate with Kathy Miller Perkins and Katrin Muff. Over the next year, Kathy and Katrin will be debating about the business of sustainability and the sustainability of business from both sides of the Atlantic, examining best practice examples and current issues through their dialogue. We encourage comments and contributions to the debate, so please get involved! We are starting with Business School Lausanne Dean Katrin Muff on how coherence is vital to helping us build a sustainable future:
Launching the transatlantic debate, I would like to address COHERENCE – and the lack thereof – and its importance in transforming small actions at various levels into the massive transformation required to prepare for a world and society in which 9 billion people will live well (WBCSD’s Vision 2050) together.
If I look at any of the three levels of analysis (individual, institutional, societal, as championed by the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative GRLI), it becomes blatantly obvious to what degree there is a lack of coherence between what we know, and what we do.
The acronym VUCA — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous — may have its origins in the military, but it is increasingly clear that it applies to all aspects of our lives today. The fact is we operate in an age of fast-moving and increasingly unpredictable change. No one country, society, industrial sector or individual organisation is immune. We are all impacted. Navigating this new reality is made even more challenging by the increasingly interdependent nature of today’s world.
The issues and predicaments we face are linked inextricably as never before. There is no better or more dramatic illustration of this than the food, water, energy and climate nexus, so effectively highlighted over recent years by the World Economic Forum and others. How do we guarantee food security for a rapidly rising population in the face of growing water and energy constraints, many of them directly attributable to climate change? No wonder one leading scientist has warned of a ‘perfect storm’ of global events. Increasingly, business has found itself in the eye of this storm, mistrusted by large sections of society and seen, with some justification, as part of the problem and not part of the solution to many of today’s challenges. This has to change. Business can no longer afford to be a bystander, content to sit on the sidelines doing the minimum necessary to acquire its ‘licence to operate.’ The challenges require — and citizens demand — a different approach.
Sustainable Hotels: Exploring the Opportunities for Value Creation
Editors: Miguel Angel Gardetti, Center for Studies on Sustainable Luxury
Ana Laura Torres, Center for Study on Sustainable Hospitality, Argentina
Deadline for abstracts: 28 February 2014
There is an increasing need for hotels to demonstrate a commitment to reducing the negative environmental and social impacts of their operations. Whatever their size, location and target market, hotel services are finding themselves held to account for their sustainability practices and policies.
Yet the varying consumers of their services have diverse, and occasionally conflicting, expectations. This presents a decision-making challenge to the hotel industry: how can they successfully meet the demands of their stakeholders for comfort and efficiency while operating sustainably? What level of advantage is achieved by operating sustainably? What does a successful dialogue on sustainability issues, between hotel sector management and consumers achieve? And how can well-developed and implemented sustainability practices further increase perceived, and actual, value for the customer?
The Journal of Corporate Citizenship is pleased to invite papers for a special issue of the JCC on ‘Japanese Approaches to CSR.’
Guest Editor: Prof. Kanji Tanimoto, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
Overview of the theme
How is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) understood and managed in Japanese business, and how is it part of ‘good’ Corporate Governance?
The debate on CSR has grown rapidly and internationally over the last two decades, in both business and academic communities. The current CSR movement has been developed in European and Anglo-American contexts based on principles of the market, industrial, business and social structures. However, CSR has taken root in other countries and areas as well and increasingly in Japan. The Japanese economic system has been traditionally structured by relational trading between firms, relational banking, and a long-term relationship with employees for mutual consideration. It has always been an advantage of the Japanese economy. Now, however, we must explore whether it is a strength or weakness for globalization and in embedding CSR into Japanese corporate society. There is much debate on how to incorporate the concept and philosophy of CSR into the context of different countries. Since the early 2000s there have been a growing number of studies offering alternative perspectives on CSR, deriving from Asia and other regions. We need to examine how CSR management and practical wisdom in organisations works in various countries/regions, rather than simply highlighting the differences amongst regions.
We are delighted to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of Business, Peace and Sustainable Development, which is now available online and as part of the Sustainable Organization Library (SOL)
BPSD is published in association with the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).
“Academically, tying business and peace is a relatively new idea. With only a handful of books, a few articles and a couple of special issues on business and peace… we now need an on-going platform for publications on the subject. The new journal Business, Peace and Sustainable Development will address this need. It was announced on the International Day of Peace with the hope it will not only help develop this academic field, but have genuine social impact on the global community.
Corporate responsibility adviser Adrian Henriques
By Adrian Henriques, Visiting Professor of Accountability and CSR, Middlesex University Business School
Review of the book, The Dark Side 2: Critical Cases on the Downside of Business
The importance of a rounded look at CSR cannot be over-estimated. If CSR is to be more than a PR programme, then it is necessary to examine how things have gone badly as well as how things have gone well. For academic research and teaching, it is vital. There is no shortage of positive case studies out there, but there is a dearth of critical ones. In 2009 Raufflet and Mills produced the first volume of the Dark Side, containing case studies that illustrated how things can go wrong between businesses and society. Now, four years later, here is another volume of critical case studies.