Diary of an MBA #3: Is business taking CSR seriously?

22 October 2010
Chris Atkins, author of Supply Management's Diary of an MBA blogWhen we were in the midst of the economic crisis 18 months ago the business schools took a bit of a hammering in some quarters for helping to perpetuate the trouble. They were accused of producing graduates with the technical skills to succeed, but little in the way of responsibility and accountability. So perhaps surprisingly Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plays an important role in my MBA at Durham. While not covered in a self-contained module, the themes of CSR are included in all the subjects we study during the course of our year and was also the topic for our first “formative” assignment on the programme. In light of mounting evidence that increased CO2 emissions are leading to climate change, we were asked to assess the extent to which markets and conventional corporate objectives will go to resolving the issue. I concluded they wouldn’t – at least not in time - and unless governments intervened we were all heading for near certain doom. However after a great deal of careful construction, ensuring my work was correctly referenced and handing my essay in, the latest issue of Supply Management dropped through my letterbox. Leafing through I noticed numerous news articles and announcements about CSR initiatives. It made we wonder whether the tide is turning and perhaps enough is already being done by big business and the important role procurement is playing to achieve it. But we don’t hear much about green practices at smaller organisations with lower profile brands to protect and no doubt a contribution from that sector will be vital too.
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