Sebastian Leape, Jinchen Zou, Olivia Loadwick, Robin Nuttall, Matt Stone, Bruce Simpson

A useful framing, we find, is to compare the breadth of ESG with the uniqueness of purpose. ESG encompasses society’s wide range of expectations about the role of business. There are a multitude of ESG options, requirements, and variations—from community service to inclusivity, transparency in reporting, and waste management, to name just a few. Purpose, on the other hand, helps your firm prioritize from among … [ Read more ]

Jeremy Darroch

Every business takes from the environment. We get access to resources, roads, infrastructure, and education. So it’s only right that we have a mind-set that we give back, we replenish as well as consume. And we use our voice to try to make a difference.

Marc Goedhart, Tim Koller

There are many trade-offs that company managers struggle to make, in which neither a shareholder nor a stakeholder approach offers a clear path forward. This is especially true when it comes to issues affecting people who aren’t immediately involved with the company. These so-called externalities—perhaps most prominently, a company’s carbon emissions affecting parties that otherwise have no direct contact with the company—can be extremely challenging … [ Read more ]

Wallace Donham

We need in business and politics administrators who are able not only to handle their specialized problems well, but also to see things in wide relations and do their part in maintaining society’s stability and equilibrium.

Martin Parker

The problem is that business ethics and corporate social responsibility are subjects used as window dressing in the marketing of the business school, and as a fig leaf to cover the conscience of B-school deans – as if talking about ethics and responsibility were the same as doing something about it. They almost never systematically address the simple idea that since current social and economic … [ Read more ]

Tima Bansal, Mark DesJardine

The common approach to corporate social responsibility is grounded in ethics, morality and norms. And there is no question that many CSR initiatives are good at balancing competing demands made by shareholders and other stakeholders. To do this, however, many supposedly responsible firms borrow resources and capital from the future, which can magnify the imbalance in the distribution of resources between the short and long … [ Read more ]

Jasjit Singh, Christiane Bode

Sceptics argue that enshrining social impact as a core value contradicts the basic nature of a for-profit enterprise. They insist that social concerns should stay separate from, and secondary to, primary business needs.

One compelling counter-argument is that while the common good may not always be a top business priority, attracting and retaining top talent absolutely is. And valued employees—like human beings in general—love to feel … [ Read more ]

Ezra Greenberg, Martin Hirt, Sven Smit

Business leaders typically spend about 30 percent of their time on external engagement, but by their own assessment, few do so effectively. For more business leaders to “step up to the plate” and “play a key role in driving solutions,” they will need to do more to embed society’s concerns in their business priorities, to make external engagement an integral part of their strategy, and … [ Read more ]

Natalia Karelaia

We found that individuals with a high sense of social connectedness felt their individual actions would generate a greater impact on a larger scale and, as a result, tended to be the most socially conscious consumers. Overall, the social values self-reported by the respondents were a less reliable predictor of behavior than the feeling that they, as individuals, could make a difference. This result is … [ Read more ]

Kathy Nieland

If you want to reduce the amount of waste from packaging that goes to landfills, you can move incrementally. But now you need to actually optimize things at a higher level. Like, why do you need packaging at all? Do you just need it to protect the product or is it a marketing consideration for distinguishing your products from those of your competitors? Maybe you … [ Read more ]

Dick Martin

Understanding the ways and whys of people unlike yourself is key to winning and keeping customers, managing today’s workforce, and relating to all the third-party activists who have an increasingly influential voice in where and how a company does business.

Christine Bader

People ask me, “Should I take this CSR job? Will I be doing real work, or will I just be ordering matching T-shirts for people to go paint a wall?” And what you have to do is step back and ask, What are this company’s ten or five or three greatest tensions with society, and is this job working on any of those? If it’s … [ Read more ]

Christine Bader

This is a big problem with how the CSR conversation has evolved—we’ve sort of given up on governments. If you look at places like where I was in Indonesia for BP, companies are expected to assume the responsibilities of the state. That is neither appropriate nor sustainable. So that’s a big part of an idealist’s job: helping determine the boundaries of responsibility of your company. … [ Read more ]

Marc Benioff

The reality is that capitalism has to be seen in the broader social context and not defined just by economic capital but also by human and social capital.

Albert Pike

What we have done for ourselves dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.

Valérie Swaen, Isabelle Maignan

According to Carroll (1979), CSR has an economic, a legal, an ethical and a philanthropic face. Socially responsible companies are expected: (1) to be profitable while providing desired goods and services (fulfill their economic responsibilities), (2) to obey the law (fulfill their legal responsibilities), (3) to follow codes of conduct considered as morally right (meet their ethical responsibilities), and (4) to contribute actively to the … [ Read more ]

Michael Mainelli

Financial decision theory has attempted to put finance forward, with some success, as a meta-decision framework for organizations, encompassing alternative financing and debt/equity trade-offs (Capital Asset Pricing Model), shareholder value added (hurdle rates, risk-adjusted return on capital), time cost of money (Net Present Value) and volatility (risk/reward options). Finance provides a single ‘currency’ for corporate decisions. Can this financial model be reconciled with social responsibility … [ Read more ]

Michael Mainelli

The post-modern risk societal problem is how to hold postmodern organizations to social goals while still permitting them to add value.

William Greider

The social responsibility of business (aside from making money and paying the bills) is to create wealth for the future or, as Keynes put it, the material basis necessary to sustain a civilized society. The conflict with society arises over how we define “wealth”—valued narrowly in dollar returns as business and finance do or in the broader human terms that society applies. The great collision … [ Read more ]

Michael Porter

Many companies want to engage in philanthropic efforts because it will improve their reputation. It is easy to agree that we ought to be doing something good, and that we should contribute to doing ‘the right thing’ for society. No one will disagree with this noble ambition. For me, however, that is not the interesting question. Although there is a lot of feeling that ‘we … [ Read more ]