Entrepreneurial Cooperation in Knowledge Based Economies
Edited by John H. Dunning and Gavin Boyd
Despite 40 years of research on sustainability, most of the commonly used measures of sustainability such as pollution, population, consumption, biodiversity and atmospheric carbon have all worsened on a global scale. This chapter suggests we must go beyond scientific research and study problems to solve what could be termed the real-world problems of global sustainability. It discusses transdisciplinary sustainability science that is impactful and responsive to stakeholders’ needs. It seeks to understand better the interactions between natural and human systems in key challenge areas, including global climate change, food–water–energy, biodiversity and natural assets, environmental impacts on health, oceans, urbanization, sustainable consumption and production, and governance processes. It also discusses what is termed Future Earth's “knowledge action networks” designed to develop transdisciplinary, stakeholder-engaged, co-designed solutions.
Rohan Crichton, Thomas Walker and Alpna Patel
Climate change is upon us and, now more than ever, humankind is searching for meaningful solutions to this global problem. However, climate change is a complex situation and intertwined in this grand challenge are the debilitating issues of poverty and environmental degradation in the developing world. Organizations have been part-and-parcel of the problem, yet they hold the solutions as well. Our paper aims to decipher and enhance these solutions through a detailed investigation of the literature and via several case studies of responsibly led organizations that already make a difference in the developing world. We propose a model of how poverty and environmental degradation can be mitigated by pro-environmental-social strategic human resource practices, mediated by responsible leadership. We conclude with a discussion of our findings, explore implications for organizations, suggest future research, and discuss contributions to the transdisciplinary literature.
The end of the Second World War saw the emergence of a plethora of multinational and international organisations led by the United Nations, being constituted to lead the comity of nations on an agreed path of dignity and development. Around the same time, often away from the lime light, the multinational business enterprises, often unlinked and unknown to one another, quietly emerged to create wealth through markets. Although the national governments struggled through the maze of real politic to create a semblance of the dream of a United World Order, the multinational enterprises went on to achieve an incredible model of a Globalised Economy and a global consumer without too many people noticing it! Soon, there was hardly any aspect of life that remained untouched by the multinational enterprise (MNEs) and it was reported that the top 20 MNEs had a combined turnover that was higher than the gross domestic products of the 100 poorest countries of the world! But interestingly, in addition to the legal provisions governing them, the primary responsibility of the corporation was towards its shareholders. Wealth creation was therefore aimed primarily at adding value to the shareholder, and its primary responsibility began and ended with its shareholders. It was then realised that shareholder value creation may be achieved at the cost of social good and environmental well-being. To overcome this problem, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) was introduced which would ensure that businesses would be obliged to spend a part of their profits either for the community or the environment as a part of their CSR. However, in a situation where 0.7 percent of the world population has 45.6 percent of the wealth, and where 8.2 percent of the population has control over 86.2 percent of world wealth, and if consumption levels of the developing nations were to reach the levels of the developed nations, one Planet Earth would not be enough! In terms of reach and efficiency, there is no doubt that the MNE would be the vehicle of choice to take the world to its desired destination of both inclusive and sustainable development. The challenge is to bring about the required design modification in both its philosophy and its functioning and thereby create a new organisational design. Can it rise to the challenge?
Niti Bhasin and Sangeeta Arora
Climate change and its ramifications have made it necessary for the global economy to transit to a low-carbon economy characterized by constraints on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this transition, business firms have a primary role to play by assuming greater environmental responsibility and by adopting a variety of low-carbon activities and strategies. Using publicly available information, this study explores the carbon performance of select energy-intensive companies in India spanning different industries. The range of distinct and diverse low-carbon measures and strategies being adopted by these companies have been identified using content analysis. Employing content analysis on information contained in companies’ websites, annual reports, and sustainability reports to various agencies, we cluster their low-carbon measure into broader low-carbon strategies based on the objectives being pursued.
The role of multinational enterprises (MNEs), particularly in an American context, has evolved from one defined by shareholder primacy to one that must consider a greater panorama of stakeholder interests. The traditional view of capitalism is giving way to a modern view, in which global issues like climate change have rallied citizens around the world toward an expectation that corporations will take greater responsibility for the stewardship of social and environmental conditions. What Donaldson calls “non-perfectionist moral languages” are adequate to theorizing corporate ethics in the traditional view, but the modern international business environment requires a “perfectionist moral language” to undergird it. Non-perfectionist languages imply a fundamentally limited moral aspiration, and lead to a systemic deferral of responsibility. Perfectionist languages, on the other hand, presuppose an unlimited moral aspiration and invite the MNE to take full ownership of any consequences that follow from corporate operations. Emmanuel Levinas, a twentieth-century French philosopher whose unique conception of ethics has recently become a popular resource for theorists in nearly every field of inquiry, sketches out a perfectionist moral language that provides a fresh approach to the ethical dimension of multinational decision making. His theory prioritizes the other over the self, inverting the order of relations at the basis of traditional capitalism. This leads to an ethics that eschews reliance on formal frameworks and quantifiable metrics, focusing instead on the felt responsibility for individual, vulnerable stakeholders. MNE managers are empowered to envision possibilities for profitably utilizing corporate capabilities and resources in service to others. The MNE becomes a steward of its stakeholders’ well-being and, in so doing, aspires as a matter of course to maximize social and environmental health in the communities in which it operates.
Manuel Pacheco Coelho
The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the adoption of a model of business management in which the companies, being aware of their social commitment of co-responsibility in social and human development, hear, preserve and respect the interests of different parties and stakeholders, incorporating different needs of business planning and operating them through their decisions and activities. CSR is an important way for companies to develop their sense of commitment to society and environmental concerns. It is expected that companies should have self-regulating mechanisms through which their businesses can be monitored and ensure that the law is guaranteed as far as ethical standards and international norms. There are different research proposals for approaching CSR issues. A new relevant research direction distinguishes CSR from mere philanthropy and argues that CSR is one element of a firm’s strategic positioning. Our paper takes this direction and discusses the problem with a simple derivation of the Dorfman–Steiner publicity model. The Portuguese case is used to check the results of the model. Particular attention is given to banking firm motivations and strategies that put environmental sustainability in the first line of preoccupations.