Archivo del February, 2012

Promoting Sustainability: A Profitable Investment

social tv1 300x225 Promoting Sustainability: A Profitable InvestmentOn 16th February, ESADE’s Institute for Social Innovation hosted its 5th Annual Conference – without a doubt, an event of the utmost importance. The conference brought together hundreds of internationally recognised innovation experts to discuss how innovation and sustainability can be promoted in companies and organisations in order to address social and environmental challenges.

Consumers, interest groups and society at large are increasingly calling upon organisations for help in addressing social and environmental problems. As more and more companies and organisations have become aware of this, they are looking to CSR as a tool for reputation enhancement. The experts who spoke at the conference agreed that investment in innovation and social responsibility policies should not be seen as a cost but rather as a profitable investment in competitive differentiation. According to the experts, companies that promote sustainability and are not afraid to innovate will have greater chances of success in the 21st century. This is an encouraging thought, because it implies that being sustainable is not a purely altruistic act, but instead one that can become a key driver of growth to develop strategic business competencies.

As Ignasi Carreras observed at the conference: “If you do not take risks, you will never be innovative.” Companies, organisations and new entrepreneurs must learn to reinvent themselves. Our society needs more innovative leaders and pioneering initiatives capable of combining efficiency with a response to social and environmental challenges. If, as the experts said, sustainability is profitable, then this incentive could certainly drive change in order to build a fairer and more balanced world.

Events such as the Annual Conference of ESADE’s Institute for Social Innovation are highly important to society, because they shape the debate surrounding innovation – a key factor in ending the economic crisis and achieving sustainability, and a key driver to improve society and build a better world. Such events are also important because they promote inspirational ideas from theoretical as well as practical standpoints. What’s more, they help ESADE to fulfil its mission: inspiring and educating individuals and organisations to promote innovative, socially responsible forms of leadership in order to build a better future.

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Business Schools and their Contribution to Society

business schools Business Schools and their Contribution to SocietyThe Global Alliance in Management Education (CEMS) has recently published a book that sheds light on how business schools can and should contribute to a better and more sustainable society.

The making and editing of the book was entrusted to our Dean Alfons Sauquet, and to Mette Morsing, Director of the CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Copenhagen Business School.

The book – a compendium of contributions from more than 40 business school deans, rectors and distinguished scholars from around the world – aims to bring the role of business schools and their contribution to society to the public debate.

“Business Schools and their Contribution to Society” addresses the legitimacy of business schools as agents for social change, and stimulates self-reflection and critical thinking, embracing a healthy debate that translates into different points of view around the challenges facing business education today.

The book starts off with a chapter by Harvard professors Rakesh Khurana and Daniel Penrice that provides an in-depth overview of the history of American business schools since their emergence in the XIX Century, their rapid expansion and transformational stages during the XX Century, and the identity crisis they faced in the nineties that forced them to redefine themselves. The authors state that to live up to their mission of enhancing society’s welfare, business schools today must embrace a more complex and integrative view of the relationship between business and society.

This starting reflection by Harvard experts is echoed throughout the book, with several contributions from deans and distinguished professors from around the globe that share historical perspectives, new trends, and concrete examples of how business schools are contributing to social change.

The authors also discuss in detail what new measures could be taken to improve business schools’ contribution to society. It’s inspiring to see the openness and honesty they all share in presenting the major challenges that still lie ahead for business schools to become really effective social agents.

Although opinions differ throughout the book, all the authors share a similar overall perspective: They all acknowledge that business schools have a profound obligation to contribute to society, and that efforts still need to be made to strengthen their legitimacy as agents for social change in the years to come. Their humbleness is inspiring, and it will hopefully serve as a platform for a better future.

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