For my 1,400th post on this blog, let’s talk about corporate social responsibility. If Medical Doctors have their Hippocratic Oath and lawyers have their equivalent, isn’t it high time for managers around the world to have their own ?
Corporate social responsibility – CSR for short – is more needed than ever as our planet is warming, our ecosystems are collapsing, our societies are suffering and our economies are crumbling.
Given both my management and business educational background and my passion for sustainability it was with interest that I read about The Oath Project.
Courrier International indeed presented a Wall Street Journal article about this and I daresay that it really interested me. Here are some abstracts of the article :
In the spring of 2009, the financial crisis well under way, Scott Holley and many fellow graduates at Harvard Business School signed a noble new promise called the M.B.A. Oath, to “serve the greater good” and create sustainable economic, social and environmental prosperity world-wide.
“The question of ethics is one you come across regularly in business, in different settings day to day,” says Mr. Holley, vice president at Harken Capital Advisers, a Boston-based adviser to private-equity firms.
The oath sparked an ethics revolution of sorts in business education. It’s drawn thousands of signatures from B-school students world-wide, won over the United Nations and other influential organizations, and morphed into a stand-alone nonprofit group last year.
(…) The idea that business managers should be held to the same standards of professional conduct as doctors or lawyers dates back to business schools’ foundation more than a century ago, if not longer. But maximizing shareholder returns has increasingly presided over any unwritten code of conduct.
If implemented well, the oath project could lead to a whole new, more socially responsible, way of teaching management.
“In broader society the oath hasn’t sparked a revolution, (but) at some schools it has led to self-examination,” says Harvard’s Mr. Khurana.
This is perhaps the start of a truly sustainable education in business and management and I really am interested in what will happen to this most ambitious project.
Doing business as usual – and as if nothing was happening – would be suicidal for companies around the world. This brilliant article in Treehugger will convince you if needed.
To conclude on a personal note : I am currently looking for recent great books on CSR. So if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments !