will be held at the Harvard Business School in Boston, MA.
Call for Papers
Conference on "Sustainability and the Corporation: Big Ideas"
Harvard Business School, November 15th – 16th, 2013
Over the past few decades, most countries have
experienced unprecedented levels of economic growth. Meanwhile, several macro
trends are shifting the nature of global economic activity, including growing urbanization,
the shift of economic activity from agriculture and industrial production to
services, and lower barriers to the mobility of labor, financial capital, and
products. These trends have placed strong pressures on the environment and on society.
In particular, accelerating consumption of natural resources and carbon emissions
threaten the capacity of the planet to sustain human activity. At the same time,
unemployment, especially among young people, social inequality and immobility threaten
to erode the social fabric and stability of society. Finally, repeated
corporate governance failures and a series of crises in the financial system
have dramatically undermined trust in business on the part of civil society.
These environmental, social, and governance challenges are calling into
question the legitimacy of capitalism, as it is largely being practiced today,
as the preferred socio-economic system.
Business leaders are grappling with these issues, unsure
of their expectations or responsibilities if there is no direct and immediate
impact on profits. Policy makers have long recognized their role in regulating
externalities, but are often unable to move with the agility and dexterity needed
to address these issues. Social expectations around the role of the corporation
in society are changing, but the power of social movements and the lack of
consensus add greater uncertainty to already volatile business environments.
We believe that this is an ideal time to hold a
conference at Harvard Business School to explore research pertaining to new
business strategies, models, processes and systems that may be useful to
managers that will lead organizations in the 21st century. The aim of the conference is to provide a
forum to discuss fundamental business issues such as:
o How should companies rediscover their business models
to succeed in a world with scarcer and more volatile production inputs?
o What types of innovation in processes, products, and
business models could allow firms to improve simultaneously their financial as
well as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance?
o How can business recover its reputation as an engine
for economic and social prosperity and become a trustworthy institution?
o What is a potential new corporate governance model
that could navigate and lead a corporation in the future?
o What is the role of investors and capital markets in
catalyzing progress towards more sustainable organizations?
o What is the role of NGOs and how can they become more
effective creating systemic change?
o Could innovations in corporate reporting change
managerial behaviors, beliefs and corporate culture, as well as decisions in
the investment community and NGO campaigns?
On November 15th - 16th of 2013,
the Harvard Business School will host a conference for research on sustainability
from a corporate, investor, and civil society perspective. Papers for
consideration must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 30th, 2013. Authors of accepted
papers will be notified by September 30th, 2013. Paper
conclusions need to be supported by a rigorous qualitative or quantitative data
analysis. Consistent with the theme of the conference, submitted papers need to
make a significant contribution both to the academic literature and to
managerial practice in order to qualify as “Big Ideas.” Selection of papers for
the conference will be overseen by the undersigned.
Ivey School of Business