Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm at a Conference! (Tuesday Update/Wednesday Preview)

Summary of Tuesday Training Sessions

Today was very interesting. During the morning session about the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we discussed how to identify human rights risks and opportunities throughout the organization, the key components of an effective human rights policy, and how to use leverage (in the form of both sanctions and incentives) to convince reluctant business partners to improve conditions and behaviors. CSR leaders working in a variety of industries discussed human rights challenges they have faced and how they approached these challenges, providing some insight in to their different philosophies about the role of corporations in society. The afternoon session about Stakeholder Engagement was useful for expanding on some of these concepts, especially developing a strategy for identifying and communicating with various stakeholder groups. Proactively identifying and strategically communicating with vulnerable stakeholder groups (as well as those who hold power over them) may provide the information necessary to prevent human rights abuses from occurring. For future research, I would like to integrate these tools with ethical leadership theories and strategic organizational development.

Without getting too wonky, that's a brief rundown of today's training workshops. I hope to expand on these concepts throughout the rest of this week. BSR can be found on twitter @BSRNews and conference hashtag #BSR12.


Wednesday begins the conference official. After opening remarks by Aron Cramer (@AronCramer), BSR President and CEO, and presentations by Tracy Palandjian (@TracyPalandjian), CEO and Co-founder of Social Finance (@SocFinUK and @SocialFinanceUS), and Marc Bolland, CEO of Marks and Spencer (@marksandspencer), we spend the bulk of the day in breakout sessions. The morning breakout sessions present a bit of a dilemma, as I must choose between a conversation with Jay Rasulo, the CFO of The Walt Disney Company, about integrating corporate responsibility, business value, and corporate brand (full disclosure, I worked in Disney's International Labor Standards group and love the company), "Recognizing the Risks: Modern-Day Slavery and Human Trafficking in the Supply Chain," or "Beyond Incrementalism with Justin Adams." All three are consistent with my research interests and career goals, so I may be flipping some coins on this one.

The afternoon breakout sessions were just a bit easier to narrow down. I'll be attending "Hot Spots: Identifying Future Issues in the Global Supply Chain" with Helena Helmersson, the Head of Sustainability with H&M (@hm), and Amy Hargroves, CSR Manager at Sprint Nextel (@Sprint). Next I'll attend "What All Businesses Can Learn from Privately Held Companies" with Elizabeth Seeger, Principal at KKR, and Cora Olsen, ESG Data Manager and Global TBL Management at Novo Nordisk (@NovoNordisk_GA).

The day ends with Plenary Speaker José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1996) and Former President, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

As always, feel free to tweet or DM questions to me at @CSRBella.

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