5th Annual Colloquium

 

"Corporate Sustainability, Strategic Management & the Stakeholder View of the Firm"

11 - 12 September 2006

 

SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy

 

 

Building on previous Colloquia, the 2006 conference examined the challenges faced by managers, educators and policy makers in mainstreaming sustainability and responsible business practice to support European economic growth. In particular, the Colloquium explored

  • how corporate responsibility issues affect and impact business strategies and
  • how corporate sustainability can contribute to the strategic management of stakeholder relationships.

 

Conference Highlights

 

George Soros, Chairman of the Soros Management Fund, Open Society Institute and the Central European University Board of Trustees, delivered a keynote address in which he stated that government must take the lead in CSR as business will always face a complicated trade off between pursuing bottom line profit and being ethical. For this reason, it is vital that governments provide the regulatory environment and incentives for companies to invest in CSR and integrate it into their business strategies. Soros also noted that transparency and accountability are crucial in the fight against corruption, especially in those nations with vast natural resources, something Soros and others have termed the "resource curse".

 

Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University and former EU Commissioner for Competition, delivered another keynote speech. In his address, Monti emphasised the link between corporate responsibility and competitiveness due to reduced transaction costs and stated that that globalisation has entered a new phase where its acceptance is being questioned by the many globalisation has left behind. In his view, it is the role of government to stimulate companies to integrate CSR into their business. This will, according to Monti, help competitiveness by reducing the need for regulation and transaction costs.

 

Panel Sessions

 

The first panel session consisted of a mix of leading academics and business executives who explored the relationship between corporate responsibility and strategic management. One of the conclusions that emerged from the discussion was that there have been some major shifts in the mindset and attitude towards corporate responsibility and in management schools and corporations, but that there is a long way to go until it is in the "bloodstream" in these organisations.

The second panel session included a cross section of top academics in corporate responsibility as well as high level business executives from EPSON, ENEL, E. Capital Partners Indices, Goldman Sachs and Unilever. During the second panel, panellists gave excellent insights into how CSR is making a positive impact on their organisations at the level of management, employees, customers and how, in the words of the panellists, it is fast becoming a "truly central management tool".

 

EABIS' 2nd Annual Education Training and Exchange

 

For the second year, EABIS organised the Education and Training Exchange, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. Functioning much like a ‘market place', it provided a platform for interactive and creative exchange of successful education and training initiatives from the academic and business sectors. During an informal two-hour session, attendees circulated freely to network and choose among 60 short presentations on successful corporate responsibility education initiatives, ongoing academic research projects and best case examples of integration of corporate responsibility in business school courses.

 

Learning Workshops

 

The learning workshops, titled the Symposium Series, enabled both presenters and attendees to engage in deeper discussions on the opportunities and challenges for content development and implementation of education and training on corporate responsibility. The Symposium Series included six topics that were explored in detail by academics and practitioners:

  • In-Company Training
  • External Training and SME Capacity Building
  • Masters Programmes
  • MBA Curriculum and Case Study Development
  • Executive Education
  • Faculty and PhD Development

 

 

Research and Knowledge Development Tracks

 

The second Colloquium day focused on the 20 research and knowledge development tracks during which attendees met in smaller groups to drill further down on a specific subject of interest to their research projects and daily work. The 20 available sessions included strategic management and stakeholder management, corporate sustainability from a resource, knowledge and industry perspective.

 

 


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