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News

How corporate social responsibility managed to become big business

The Independent, By Amy McLellan Thursday, 18 October 2007 "A growing number of public companies have come to recognise that sustainable corporate profit does not result from the single-minded pursuit of financial gain," says Park who teaches CSR on the MBA programme at Southampton Solent University,. She quotes Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, the former chair of Shell, a company that in the wake of Brent Spar and the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, invested heavily in CSR: "Without profits, no company can sustain principles; without principles, no company deserves profits". Kai Peters, CEO of Ashridge Business School, one of only two UK schools that worked on a global taskforce to design the principles, believes the UN's intervention in the debate will lead to an important shake up for management education. "Business schools have a crucial role to play in promoting sustainability because of the influence they have in shaping the behaviour of business leaders," said Peters at the July 2007 launch of the UN principles. "More business schools need to pull their weight." Current thinking suggests the best way to approach CSR is not through a bolt-on module but by integrating sustainability into traditional finance, marketing and strategy subjects. This is something London Business School has been working on with EABIS for the past two years. According to Craig Smith, LBS senior fellow in marketing and ethics, companies are finally realising that CSR cannot be left in a public affairs ghetto and this needs to be mirrored by the way the subject is approached at business schools. MBA students are increasingly receptive to the idea that there is more to business than next quarter's earnings or the size of their annual bonus.

18 Oct 2008

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