George Serafeim is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Accounting and Management Unit. He teaches the course "Leading the Global 1000" in the MBA elective curriculum and co-chairs the Executive Education program "Innovating for Sustainability." Previously he has taught the "Financial Reporting and Control" course in the MBA required curriculum, the field course "South Africa; Innovating for Sustainability in an Emerging Market" in the MBA elective curriculum, and the doctoral seminar "The Role of the Corporation in Society." These courses have been created by Professor Serafeim and Professor Robert Eccles as part of a broader research agenda on reconceptualizing the role of the corporation and capital markets in society.
Professor Serafeim's research interests are international, focusing on how corporations can break trade-offs to improve their financial performance while contributing positively to society and how investors can integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data in the capital allocation process. His work has been published in prestigious academic and practitioner journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Review of Accounting Studies, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Finance, Contemporary Accounting Research, Management Science, Financial Analysts Journal, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Director Notes, Harvard Business Review and has also appeared in media outlets including Bloomberg, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, NPR and Responsible Investor. He has written more than twenty business cases on organizations from around the world. He is the co-author of a book on the transparency and valuation of insurance companies and the co-author of a study, commissioned by the European Union, that evaluated the relevance of public information disclosed during the transition of European companies to IFRS.
Professor Serafeim's work with Professor Ioannis Ioannou on corporate sustainability and sell-side investment recommendations received the best paper award from the Academy of Management, and their work on corporate sustainability and access to finance received the best paper award from the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment network. Professor Serafeim's research with Professor Paul Healy on corruption and firm performance was awarded the Hermes Fund Manager best paper prize and his work with Robert Eccles on The Performance Frontier was recognized as "The Big Idea" at Harvard Business Review. He currently serves on the Technical Review Committee of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings that is designing a generally accepted standard for sustainability ratings. Moreover, he is a member of the Standards Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board that is engaged in the development and dissemination of industry-specific sustainability accounting standards. He has served as an advisor to numerous organizations around the world and he is a partner at KKS Advisors.
Professor Serafeim earned his doctorate in business administration at Harvard Business School, where his dissertation was recognized with the Wyss Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research. He received a master's degree in accounting and finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was awarded the Emeritus Professors' Prize for best academic performance.
Academy of Management 2012 Panel Symposium: The Path towards a Sustainable Society
Join us this year, at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Boston, to discuss critical issues of Sustainability with thought leaders
Title: The Path Towards a Sustainable Society
Date: August 6th, 2012
Time: 4:45pm – 6:15pm
Place: Hynes Convention Center, Room 306
Ioannis Ioannou, London Business School
George Serafeim, Harvard Business School
Tima Bansal, University of Western Ontario
Robert C. Eccles, Harvard Business School
Amy C. Edmondson, Harvard Business School
Rebecca M. Henderson, Harvard Business School
Joshua D. Margolis, Harvard Business School
Anita McGahan, University of Toronto
Maurizio Zollo, Bocconi University
Over the past few decades most countries have experienced unprecedented levels of economic growth. Meanwhile, urbanization has been accelerating, the bulk of economic activity has been shifting from agriculture and industrial production to the supply of services, and globalization has removed barriers to freely moving labor, financial capital, and products. These macro trends have placed strong pressures both on the environment and society; the scarcity of natural resources and increasing CO2 emissions constitute a serious threat to both our economies and our societies. Moreover, unemployment, especially amongst young people, as well as social inequality have increased despite the tremendous economic progress. Government debt over GDP has also been increasing, suggesting that governments might not have the capacity to provide many of the often necessary public goods and services.
By various estimates, the next 20 years will also witness an unprecedented growth in global demand for output, in the form of products and services. At the same time, ever rising productivity levels are accelerating the global GDP growth while generating further significant social and environmental pressures, making some of the already existing challenges even more acute. It is expected, for example, that in the next decade the global middle class will double, with 70% of this increase coming from outside the developed G7 countries. Therefore, financial capital scarcity will become more severe as emerging economies rapidly shift towards more industrialization and urbanization, and therefore require massive amounts of fixed capital investments. Not only financial resources but also an estimated doubling of global demand for commodities in the next 20 years will significantly intensify the pressure on ever more scarce natural resources.
These macro trends radically reshape the global landscape, and bring fundamental questions to center stage: How can we ensure that the means and ways we use for generating society’s wellbeing today are not compromising or even jeopardizing the wellbeing of societies of future generations? What are the implications of this global transformation that we are already witnessing, in the way we design our cities, establish our organizations, and visualize the global society of the future?