Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative header Harvard/JFK School of Government Logo
Home The Initiative Partners Programs Publications News & Events Contact Us Site Map
Image of Sun Dial
Fall 2008 | Spring 2008 | Fall 2007 | Spring 2007 | Fall 2006 | Spring 2006 | Fall 2005 | Spring 2005 | Fall 2004

Spring 2007
April 30, 2007

Visiting Practitioners Series
Mobilizing Responsible Business: Lessons from Europe

David Grayson,
Senior Fellow, M-RCBG at the Kennedy School of Government, and Chair and Founding Director, Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at the Cranfield School of Management, UK

Interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is exploding: a Google search for the term now produces 80 million references. Some of the most exciting innovations are happening in Europe, at the level of both individual companies and collective business-led institutions. This session will explore the role of business-led intermediary institutions in the emergence of CSR. It will focus on one of the oldest and largest such business-led intermediary groups, the UK-based Business in the Community, which works with over 750 companies employing some 12 million people in over 200 countries worldwide. David Grayson describes what Business in the Community has learned about mobilizing business leaders over its 25-year history and the relevance of these lessons in other countries.

April 10, 2007

Corporate Responsibility Council Event
Capitalism at the Crossroads

Stuart Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise and Professor of Management, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University


April 10, 2007

Visiting Practitioners Series
Advancing Public Governance through Mutual Accountability Compacts

Simon Zadek,
Senior Fellow, M-RCBG at the Kennedy School of Government, and Founder and Director, AccountAbility

Accountability compacts are being used increasingly to address a wide range of development problems, from fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa to securing the future of the textile sector in Bangladesh. These compacts are frequently not legally binding, yet they establish mutual accountabilities among all players including donors and private investors to the intended beneficiaries on the ground. Dr. Zadek presents some of the key principles for effective accountability compacts and offer examples from their application.


April 9, 2007      

Special Seminar
Business and Human Rights: Mapping International Standards of Responsibility and Accountability for Corporate Acts

John Ruggie, Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on business & human right

Co-sponsored by the Carr Center for Human Rights, the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government and the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative

April 5, 2007


Business & Government Seminar Series
Creating Accountability: What do Business, Government, and Nonprofits have in Common?

Alnoor Ebrahim,
Visiting Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Accountability is a confusing term, one that readily confounds efforts at precise definition or application. On one hand, its implementation is regarded as a kind of panacea to prevent and, whenever necessary, to punish unethical, illegal, or inappropriate behavior by public officials, corporate executives, and nonprofit leaders. The magic wand of accountability is similarly seen to be at play in instances of global and state governance, where it is regarded as a supervening force able to promote democracy, justice, and greater human decency through the mechanisms of transparency, benchmarked standards, and enforcement. In recent years, however, the analytical domains of accountability have become so extended that the very precision once conveyed by the concept has become eroded. This has generated widespread concern that the term will become devalued or incapacitated through overuse. Ebrahim reflects on what business, governments and nonprofits have in common with regard to creating accountability.

Related book: Global Accountabilities: Participation, Pluralism, and Public Ethics

April 4, 2007

Business & Government Seminar Series
The Rise of Global Reporting Initiative: Institutional Entrepreneurship in the Age of Shared Governance

Halina Szejnwald Brown, Professor of International Development, Community, and Environment, Clark University

Since its conception in 1999, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has rapidly become the leader among voluntary worldwide sustainability reporting systems. It emerged on the crest of the corporate social responsibility movement and is a descendant of the social movements in the 1970s. GRI introduced three institutional innovations: a multistakeholder process for developing reporting guidelines; an institutionalized mechanism for producing successive generations of the guidelines; and an organization to serve as the steward of the guidelines and of the process. The GRI champions have been remarkably successful, despite working under the conditions of limited resources, visibility, and political power. Prof. Brown will explains this success using the concept of "institutional entrepreneurs" and by showcasing three types of tactics: discursive, material, and charismatic. She also explores some unresolved tensions within GRI and implications for public policy.


March 21, 2007

Corporate Responsibility Council Event
Green CSR: What’s the Role of Corporations in Addressing Environmental Challenges?

Bob Langert, Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility at McDonald’s
Gwen Ruta, Director of Corporate Partnerships for Environmental Defense
Dan Fiorino, Director of the National Environmental Performance Track at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jane Nelson, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Kennedy School of Government, Moderator

Panelists discuss the pros and cons, successes and failures, and potential future of corporate social responsibility as a path to environmental sustainability. 

March 20, 2007

Visiting Practitioners Series
The Private Sector's Role in Disaster Response and Recovery: Lessons from New Orleans

Elizabeth Fleming, CO2 Integration Manager, Former Director, Shell 'Coming Home' Project (New Orleans), Shell Exploration and Production

Fleming describes Shell's role in responding to the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This response has included many facets ranging from getting the company's own operations up and running again, to supporting employees and residents immediately following the storm, as well as engagement of the Broadmoor neighborhood in one of the most ambitious and effective community planning processes anywhere in the United States. How have Shell's actions in New Orleans affected the company's strategic positioning? What has been its impact in the community and in public-private partnerships for disaster relief more generally? Kennedy School students who have contributed to this ground-breaking initiative will share their stories as well.


March 15, 2007


Business & Government Seminar Series
Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage

Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University

Looking at all the ways environmental issues affect a business can frame thinking and strategy in a new way.  Prof. Esty explores the experiences of dozens of companies to extract key strategies, tactics, and tools that are needed to establish an environmentally based competitive advantage.

March 8, 2007

Business & Government Seminar Series
Coming Clean and Cleaning Up?: Examining the Effects of Self-Policing

Michael Toffel, Assistant Professor of Business Administration,
Harvard Business School

As regulators increasingly embrace cooperative approaches to governance, voluntary public-private partnerships and self-regulation programs have proliferated. However, because few have been subjected to robust evaluation, little is known about whether these innovative approaches are achieving their objectives. Toffel explores recent experience with self-policing in the context of a nationwide government program that encourages companies to voluntarily self-disclose violations of environmental regulations.


March 1, 2007

Business & Government Seminar Series
Business Ethics: The Law of Rules

Michael L. Michael, Chief Compliance Officer, IXIS Asset Management Global Associates, Inc.

Despite the recent rash of corporate scandals and the resulting rush to address the problem by adding more laws and regulations, seemingly little attention has been paid to how the nature (not the substance) of rules may or may not affect ethical decision-making. Drawing on work in law, ethics, management, psychology, and other social sciences, this seminar explores how several characteristics of rules may interfere with the process of reaching and implementing ethical decisions. Such a relationship would have practical implications for regulatory policy and managers of organizations, and the article concludes by suggesting how regulations and corporate ethics programs should be able to improve the ethical culture of business and enhance the ethical decision-making skills of employees.

CSRI Working Paper No. 19 & PRESENTATION

February 27, 2007

Visiting Practitioners Series
Investing in CSR: From Wall Street to Main Street

Graham Sinclair, Adjunct Visiting Professor, Center for Sustainable Enterprise, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina and Former Product Manager, KLD Research & Analytics

Real money is being invested in mandates covering CSR, ethical investing, clean tech and sustainability, with an estimated $2.3 trillion in assets under management in the USA [SIF, 2005]. Sinclair assesses current market opportunity for investors seeking companies with better CSR and/or sustainability characteristics, including the "socially responsible investment" [SRI] niche. Sinclair concludes with a review of SRI in the USA since 2001 and explores the opportunity for leverage of retail investor power as positive driver to improved CSR performance by listed companies.


February 20, 2007

Visiting Practitioners Series
Mapping Impacts and Influence of International Business in Development

Mandy Cormack, former Vice President Corporate Responsibility/Head Corporate Relations London for Unilever

When large multinationals do business in developing countries, their impacts are wide-ranging, but not necessarily well-understood. Cormack maps out some of the ways in which corporate strategy and operations affect those living in poverty and describe the variety of dynamics that influence what the ultimate impacts will be. With reference to a pioneering study on the subject, she will illustrate the complexity involved in measuring and managing the development impacts of business and consider the implications for policy makers in public and private spheres.

View the report: "Exploring the Links Between International Business and Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Unilever in Indonesia"
View CSRI Report No. 12: The Role of Business in Society: An Agenda for Action

February 6, 2007

Corporate Responsibility Council Brownbag Lunch
Corporate Agitator or Collaborator?: The Oxfam Approach to Corporate Engagement

Chris Jochnick, Director of Private Sector Engagement, Oxfam America