Social responsibility and sustainability are becoming more than just buzzwords. Business is changing, and it’s not business as usual anymore.
In this issue of the Baylor Business Review, we discuss the role of business sustainability and corporate social responsibility in our society today. You will be introduced to several alumni who truly understand what it means to be servant leaders, as well as current students looking to make a difference.
Ask a dozen executives what corporate sustainability means, and chances are they will deliver 12 different definitions. Some will talk about regulatory compliance and risk management. Some will describe cost reductions. Others will mention somewhat hazy measures, such as carbon neutrality, or more tangible metrics, such as energy efficiency improvement and revenue per sustainable product. A few will give skeptical shrugs. A handful of executives, including GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, will light up as they discuss profits, recruiting and retention benefits and other net gains.
The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community. In many ways, this mission has helped shape the lives and hearts of these Baylor alumni as they serve others through their work as professionals.
Milton Friedman so famously declared his opinions of it almost 40 years ago. Jeffrey Hollender, current president and chief inspired protagonist of Seventh Generation, takes a different approach to it. Others look to quantitative measures.
When it comes to corporate social responsibility, who’s responsible for what?
When Dale Barron was asked about yet another group from Baylor coming to the World Hunger Relief Farm to work on a project, he – as always – happily agreed. But he didn’t really believe there would be much benefit for the farm. Barron is the director of development for World Hunger Relief, Inc., a Christian organization committed to alleviating hunger through education (like training interns and volunteers at their farm in Elm Mott, Texas) and sustainable development programs (such as community garden projects with Waco schools, organizations and churches).
I wanted to start by reminding you of a wonderful quote from Dr. Arnold Toynbee, who has since past. When I was a student, I latched on to Toynbee’s teachings because I found it interesting. Here was a man who had spent his entire life studying civilizations. He is noted for a lot of wonderful quotes, such as, “Civilizations tend to die from suicide, not by murder.” But the quote that really resonated with me was this idea that nothing fails like success. In fact, this quote was paraphrased by Toynbee when he was asked to summarize his life’s work. He said, “I can do it in four words: nothing fails like success.”
Although the first class of students graduated from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business in 1925, this year the School celebrates 50 years of accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
AACSB International accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Institutions that earn accreditation confirm their commitment to quality and continuous improvement through a rigorous and comprehensive peer review.
About one in every four jobs offered to a graduating Baylor student is with a nonprofit organization. The new Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Service in the Hankamer School of Business has been established to prepare these graduates to be leaders in the nonprofit world, whether it is leading an organization or serving on a board of directors.
It is often said that students’ most important lessons are those learned outside the walls of the classroom. In May 2009, a group of Baylor students, staff and professors will not only learn about, but experience social entrepreneurship in a classroom half a world away from the Hankamer School of Business-and that classroom is Africa.
Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization with a mission of making a positive impact on society by growing and strengthening a community of leaders. The organization’s membership consists of over 10,000 MBAs, graduate students and professionals worldwide.
Nonprofit organizations often find themselves at a crossroads-sitting at the intersection of funding and service. The organizations strive to keep a focus on their governing missions; however, they may “drift” and take a different turn, according to two Baylor professors.
A marketing firm that helps corporations polish their “green” images uses a well-known courtroom phrase to evaluate advertisements: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Those words make up part of the “Greenwashing Index,” a Web site designed to provide understanding about the term “greenwashing.” Blurry on the meaning? Think of “whitewashing” in the pejorative sense. Substitute “green” as the prefix, and you have a word alluding to the pretense of being environmentally friendly, without taking much, if any, action. That pretense, says a co-creator of the Greenwashing Index, gets in the way of real environmental reform.