Monday, November 24, 2008

Where I've Been and What I've Been Doing: Part 1

This module has been a much more interesting one professionally. A few weeks ago I attended a symposium on CSR entitled Corporate Social Responsibility: Law, Operations, and Strategy. I must admit, it was on a Friday and I slept through session 1 (the law bit) but sessions two and three were very interesting. Each was a set of paper presentations with commentary.
The first speaker in the operations panel was Prakash Sethi whose paper/talk was entitled "Creating Effective Alliances Between Corporations and NGOs." The second part of the title was "A Report from the Trenches" which made up the somewhat depressing bulk of the talk. As a comparatively doe-eyed student this left me rather discouraged by the whole business, though the talk was delivered in a very straightforward manner highlighting both the successes and the failures.
The second speaker in the operations group discussed proposed ISO 2600 social responsibility standard. This is an in-development standard for companies to follow. No certification will be given for this standard though, which I thought an interesting characteristic for something that purports to be an "ISO" like standard.
After a deliciously sustainable lunch - well, sort of - the locally raised chicken was scrumptious but I was told that the tofu tasted like cardboard. Anyways, after lunch we had the third panel - strategy. One presentation was on the equator principles the other was on implementing strategic CSR. The implementation of CSR was a very intriguing meta analysis that determined that at the very least a CSR program did no financial harm and in many cases was positively correlated to stock price. I need to delve a bit more into the paper, but I believe the speaker also determined a positive relationship with general financial returns.
There were only two business school students at the symposium and the other one is one of my friends. I suspect this had a great deal to do with it being at the law school and on a Friday.
A much larger contingent of McDonough School of Business students attended the Net Impact conference last weekend. More on that in where I've been and what I've been doing: Part 2.

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