Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability initiatives have gone mainstream, but they are missing something important: They ignore corporations’ political actions, including lobbying and campaign funding, which can drastically alter corporations’ environmental and social impact. In some cases, companies cynically engage in the strategy of “talking green while lobbying brown.” Corporations report on social and environmental sustainability metrics but typically not on political ones, which can allow them to get away with irresponsible lobbying activity.
Or how two professors are bringing awareness and a voice to gender issues in higher education: Erb Staffer Carolyn Kwant talks with Sara Soderstrom, Asst. Professor, University of Michigan and Maria Farkas, Asst. Professor, Department of Management, Imperial College Business School.
Until recently, we have lived in a linear economic system that operates under a “take, make, and dispose” philosophy, which ends in waste. In contrast, circular economies develop services and products that are guided by three main principles: design out waste and pollution, extend the life cycle of materials and products, and regenerate ecosystems.
Many environmental management programs offer people incentives to engage in conservation activities. But these activities, carried out on a local level, often are difficult to monitor. Are people inclined to cheat to get the incentives? Research led by Rohit Jindal of the MacEwan University Business School in Edmonton, Alberta and Erb Institute Faculty Director Joe Árvai set out to answer this question.
By Andrew J. Hoffman and Ellen Hughes-Cromwick for The Conversation
As the United States endures the longest shutdown in its history, Americans are getting a taste of life without government.
The absence of some services are clearly visible, such as a buildup of trash at national parks or longer lines at airport security checkpoints. Others, like those felt primarily by businesses, are less noticeable but arguably more important, such as an inability to get a small business loan or limited service from the IRS, Securities and Exchange Commission and other key agencies.
If residential solar photovoltaics (PV) were adopted more widely in the United States, they could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But consumers balk at high up-front costs, even if energy savings would later offset those costs. A group of researchers led by former Erb Research Fellow Kimberly Wolske set out to study how different framing strategies affect PV’s appeal.
What will happen in 2019 at the intersection of business and society? As our team in the Business & Society Program looked ahead to the new year, we realized the best answers lie in our network of business leaders and academics. From Artificial Intelligence to worker voice to lifelong learning, these diverse predictions impart a powerful sense of possibility, even in facing some of the world’s toughest challenges in the new year.
How can the “sustainable consumption” movement mainstream itself by becoming more accessible and thus inclusive and diverse? This year, I had the privilege of co-organizing the Erb Institute’s first-ever diversity, equity and inclusion panel, alongside fellow Erb student Kathy Tian. Knowing that retailers and marketers alike still see sustainable consumers as a niche consumer segment, our panelists proposed two solutions to mainstream sustainable consumption.
By Terry Nelidov, Managing Director of Erb Institute | Business for Sustainability
Erb Faculty Director Joe Árvai and I took Erb on the road in November—to India!
India is one of the institute’s priority emerging markets for sustainability impact, and we’ve been working with the India Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) to develop a partnership for research, teaching and business-engagement opportunities. Erb sponsored CRB’s annual “India and Sustainability Standards” conference this year, and Joe and I were asked to speak at the November 14-16 event in Delhi.