Probably the largest of all grand challenges facing businesses globally, especially in the medium to longer term, is how to develop practices that are more sustainable and responsible in response to climate change and related issues such as inequality and human rights violations. The United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) are perhaps the most prominent effort to formulate specific objectives for tackling these problems. Meeting these goals and making progress requires transcending organizational boundaries and national borders and openness is therefore a key mechanism for achieving this.
Organizations are using different strategies to address market concerns for more responsible business in both their national and transnational operations. These include, inter alia, cooperative strategies where they collaborate with other firms or stakeholders for social innovation, use of innovative tools for tracing the value chain, and proposals for more circular options in their services by using recycled material and recycling their products. Such strategies appear powerful for tackling societal needs, in both developed and developing countries.
Cooperative strategy has been highlighted in the United Nations’ SDGs as the means and mechanism for delivering sustainable development. It can be employed to realize innovation aimed at delivering social impacts. The commitment of multinational enterprises in engaging and cooperating with market or non-market actors in host countries (notably in emerging or less developed countries) is especially imperative for the attainment of societal goals of SDGs.
The purpose of this extension is to take stock of what we have learned about strategies companies use to create sustainable and responsible practices and propose an agenda for what must follow next. That includes continuing the scholarly discussion on how larger and smaller companies adopt sustainable practices in their strategies and how organizations orchestrate resources and develop capabilities to enable the transition towards a more sustainable future. Moreover, what might be some of the enablers as well as the inhibitors of such practices on organizational and institutional levels and across different contexts? We seek to bring together a number of leading strategy scholars with an interest in this area, as well as UK-based scholars from outside business schools and thought leading practitioners from companies and potentially non-governmental organizations or the public sector who have actually worked with sustainable and responsible practices. There will also be opportunities for members of the audience to interact with these people.
9.00 Opening including talk by Dean of Birmingham Business School
9.15 - 10.00 The view from business - Lee Mellor, Vice President Europe (SC Johnson)
10.15 - 11.00 Academic perspective outside strategic management: Matt Cole (U of Birmingham)
11.15 - 12.00 A strategy perspective: Olga Hawn (U of North Carolina)
12.00 - 12.30 The view from business – Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman of the Board (Siemens)
12.30 - 13.30 Lunch
13.30 - 14.30 Guided roundtable discussions of participants’ research.
14.45 – 16.00 Strategy perspectives: Jonathan Doh (Villanova U) and Steve Brammer (U of Bath).
16.15 – 17.00 How should strategy research contribute to the development of sustainable and responsible practices? Panel discussion.
17.00 Drinks reception