Posts con el tag ‘sustainability’

Advocacy and divestment: the power to hold business to account

Katinka C. van Cranenburgh, secretary general of the International Interfaith Investment Group and researcher at ESADE’s Institute for Social Innovation.

When the Quaker based Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (UK) decided to divest from Reed Elsevier after having tried to convince the company to sell its arms fairs division, it couldn’t have imagined that its action would have such a significant impact.

The Quaker-based trust’s decision became not an end of the two-year shareholder engagement process but the tipping point. While all the letter writing and C-level meetings did not change the company’s standpoint that its business was legal, publicised divestment resulted in the public opinion turning against the company, and made Reed Elsevier switch from focusing on a strictly legal approach to more of a stakeholder approach.

While an exit – a shareholder selling all the shares in the company – might be perceived as an end to the engagement process with the management of the company, it seems that threatening divestment, or divesting itself, actually forms part of an ongoing process for socially engaged shareholders. Investors concerned about the social and environmental impact of companies are increasingly choosing to use voice – or advocacy – over exit as a strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Just a damn commie!”

By Pep Mària, Researcher at Institute for Social Innovation and Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences of ESADE

On the 7th of September there was a “Day of Reflection” on the mining industry inRome. The Day had been organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, whose president, Cardinal Peter Turkson, had wisely and carefully prepared the event with a group of collaborators. Participants were mainly CEOs and top executives of the main global mining companies, but also members of global NGOs, some of them linked to the Catholic Church (Caritas Internationalis and Misereor).

I was gently invited by Cardinal Turkson to prepare and participate in the Day. The climate of confidence was high, and consequently the discussions turned around deep and fundamental questions related to environmental sustainability and the welfare of workers and communities around the mines.

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Exploring the sustainability/innovation relationship

Next February 16th we will be holding the Institute’s 5th Annual Conference to celebrate together yet another year full of research, training and dissemination.

Forging links between innovation and sustainability. Fostering innovation to deal with new environmental and social challenges”

This year we will be looking at the relationship between sustainability and innovation, two main issues on organisations’ agendas. A great deal has been written about these two subjects (particularly as regards specific examples of sustainable products and services) and how they are innovative and generate value for organisations, but this is not what we are interested in.

In fact, we believe that at the present time any multinational company can achieve a variety of sustainable projects that are innovative and successful. But what interests us are those organisations that have established sustainability and innovation as cornerstones of their business models and therefore consider these two aspects to be the two most important factors of their competitive edge.

Last year we presented the study Sustainable Innovation Strategies. Exploring the cases of Danone and Interface by Marc Vilanova and Pax Dettoni, in which we analysed two case studies in depth and, with a view to learning general lessons extending beyond each specific case, we pinpointed ten specific qualities that can boost the role of sustainable innovation in organisations’strategic management. Such organisations:

  1. Aim to develop inspirational leaders.
  2. Have a sustainable outlook.
  3. Are willing to take risks and understand that success is something organisations need from time to time if they are to survive.
  4. Develop and foster a culture of sustainable innovation.
  5. Incorporate sustainability into all their products and services, not just one range of products.
  6. Have a committed team and good working environments.
  7. Understand that innovation should come from everyone and everything, not just direct investment in R&D.
  8. Want their organisation to offer challenges not only for employees but also for all stakeholders.
  9. Have an optimistic organisation able to overcome challenges.
  10. Are genuine, i.e. what they do is in line with what they say.

During the 5th Annual Conference of the Social Innovation Institute we aim to discuss a variety of areas with you all: sustainability, innovation, leadership, responsibility, methodologies, collaboration, networks, creativity, etc.

The programme we propose combines conferences and themed workshops with foremost speakers, in a congress providing an opportunity for joint reflection and sharing knowledge and experiences.

To see the programme, click here.

We believe it is important to reinvent ourselves and our organisations every day, in the solid conviction that sustainability and innovation are two sides of the same coin that cannot exist without each other, like a deliberate, strategic choice that will improve our competitive edge and quality.

For further information, see our website (www.socialinnovation.esade.edu), or the Institute’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/InstitutoInnovacionSocial) or Twitter (@iSocial_ESADE).

Sponsors of the Institute and the conference:

With the collaboration:

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