H&M Assumes LEGAL Responsibility for Safety of Outsourced Labor

One of the major issues that I have been speaking about is the fact in outsourced supply chains accountability and responsibility have been largely independent.  That when things went wrong on the factory floor, the brand could hold itself above the issue by saying that it was their suppliers who were the ones who were legally responsible for the failures. A position that many consumers, particul…

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Intangibility Allows Apathy

when speaking in front of large groups, particularly those where future leaders are in the room, I often go out of my way to point out that no CEO on the planet is going to recalibrate their firm to save the polar bears. Even if the, as many would, feel strongly that they are an important icon. And it si not because they don't care, or that they are evil. It is just a simple matter of fact that…

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Sustainability’s Big Four Questions

As Beijing tallies the costs of the smog that inundated the city this week, economic and social, I thought I would highlight a recent lecture I gave that explored the "Big 4" questions that people are asking these days when wondering when action will be taken. How big is the problem faced? What is the timeline? Who is responsible? How much will it cost to fix? Meant to create a framework f…

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Responsible Firms Act Before Governments Do

building off the presentations and research I have given recently on "Beyond Business As Usual", one of the common themes of discussion is why and how firms will act when it comes to living up to their responsibility to more than just the bottom line. That, with the cost of externalities of the current business as usual model rising, a new dynamic is beginning to take shape where firms who do not…

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Sustainability and Transformational Leadership

  I'm currently working on a project to understand the decision making behavior of firms as it related to sustainability performance, and what I am finding is that the key drivers of success are the ability of leaders to understand their stakeholders, how an issue is tangible to their stakeholders, and then be able to develop strategies that effectively address issues of sustainability. I…

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Three Gorges Dam Localizes Upstream Waste. Positive Externality?

One of the conversations that I find myself in, and write about as well, is the ability of tangibility to catalyze change. that instead of focusing efforts on issues like "climate Chnage" and saving the polar bears, it is important to look locally at the source to fix problems before their byproducts (methane, CO2, lead, etc) are able to do their damage.  So, when reading through the recent Busi…

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Moving Students into the Longtail of Sustainability

The other day while working with some colleagues on a paper, we began discussing the various approaches to sustainability and responsible leadership that we are seeing within the business school community. A discussion that has been taking place for several years, but what was interesting about this review was to see the progress that has been made, and how we are seeing others look to advance…

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Realignments Require Catalysts

In the forward of the Jeffrey Hollinger's book The Responsibility Revolution, Peter Senge writes that business models will move away from CSR/ sustainability exercises (and towards true sustainability) when one of two things happen: "I can only see two things that will shift the state of affairs: a different vision of the future that is more inspiring than the status quo, and a new consensus on wh…

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Enough with the Band Aids. It’s Time for Solutions!

If the goal is to solve (or avert) the problems of business as usual, then it is going to take more than band aids to do it. That is a simple lesson that I teach my students every semester, and one that requires them to go through a series of exercises to identify the root factors causing the problems that emit the byproiducts we are seeing, who the stakeholders are of the key factors, and then h…

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Transperancy Can be Painful When Your Not Prepared

There can be fewer examples of an "open secret" in China than the worsening air quality levels in China's major cities. For a period, this "open secret" was one that was acceptable by all because of the promise of better days, but following the Beijing Olympics and Shanghai EXPO the air has only grown worse in both cities.  Not better as promised. Which has recently been exacerbated by the sudd…

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