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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Joris‐Johann Lenssen and Luk N. Van Wassenhove

A new era for development is needed and business needs to play a significant role in this era. This paper aims to provide insights into the necessary conditions for such a

Abstract

Purpose

A new era for development is needed and business needs to play a significant role in this era. This paper aims to provide insights into the necessary conditions for such a new era of development and specifically the potential contribution of business and academia.

Design/methodology/approach

This explorative study is based on expert interviews and the summary of the discussion of the EABIS Colloquium 2011 (“Corporate Responsibility and Developing Countries”).

Findings

Innovative companies are moving from building “shareholder value” to “shared value” for all stakeholders; from “quarterly capitalism” to “long‐term capitalism”. They are also providing resources, open access systems and capital to entrepreneurs and communities to support technology and knowledge transfers. Companies that integrate future development concerns into their business model will be ideally placed to secure long‐term licences to operate, develop loyal new consumer bases, and innovate in new market segments.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology only allows preliminary findings for now. More research (also on the ground) will be needed to identify the necessary strategies business has to adopt to play a potent role in a new era for development.

Originality/value

The paper is based on a rich set of data and combines these findings with the thinking of the EABIS Colloquium 2011. It can be the basis for future research.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Content available
Article
Publication date: 18 October 2011

Lutgart Van den Berghe, Abigail Levrau, Naomi Chambers and Joris-Johann Lenssen

Abstract

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Joris-Johann Lenssen, Nikolay A. Dentchev and Ludwig Roger

The purpose of this paper is to present a granulated governance perspective to face sustainability risks and challenges that our planet is facing. The authors argue that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a granulated governance perspective to face sustainability risks and challenges that our planet is facing. The authors argue that sustainability challenges should be addressed simultaneously at the individual, organizational, sectorial, national and supranational level. Financial institutions have a systemic impact on the economy, and on the functioning of our societies. Therefore, a culture of profit maximization and unbridled risk-taking, notwithstanding the external costs and impacts, contaminates not only the financial system and the economy, but also individual norms of responsibility. In this line of reasoning, the global financial crisis revealed the destabilizing effects on the economy, society and corporations and forms a serious impediment for sustainable business. This is a huge challenge for sustainability business and corporate governance; however, it is an illusion to think that managers can prevent scandals and moral norm deterioration without support from other social players.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper offers a conceptual analysis on the past financial crisis (2008-2012). It questions the focus on sustainability at the corporate level, and suggests a more comprehensive method for governance. The authors argue in favour of sustainability implementation, combining different governance levels.

Findings

The double-dip financial crisis 2008-2012 showed the failure of an unsustainable global system. It becomes clear that corporate responsibility and corporate governance are limited in their contribution to sustainable business in a sustainable economy. Hence, it is important to have a more integrated approach to address sustainability risks, with a solution at individual, sectorial, national and supranational governance levels.

Research limitations/implications

This contribution advances five different levels of governance to mitigate risks for sustainable business, arguing in favour of integrated governance for sustainability risks. However, an empirical validation of these ideas still needs to be developed. Future empirical research is needed to validate the five levels of governance. Future research is also needed to better grasp the mechanisms in support of governance.

Practical implications

Corporate responsibility and corporate governance are necessary but not sufficient conditions to address the sustainability risks one faces. All actors in the economy recognize that governance for sustainable business in a sustainable economy is a collaborative effort for which neither legislative nor institutional or behavioural norms are developed in an integrated way. They should also recognize that integrated governance is not only imperative for the common good, but also in the direct interest of shareholders and other stakeholders.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature on corporate responsibility and corporate governance with the identification of specific roles for regulators, sector representatives and individuals, which are complementary to the role of the companies in creating the conditions for sustainable business in a sustainable economy.

Details

Corporate Governance, vol. 14 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Peter Davis

This paper explores the paradigm of international development that has persisted for the past five decades, and asks whether a fresh approach is needed – one that builds

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the paradigm of international development that has persisted for the past five decades, and asks whether a fresh approach is needed – one that builds on the developmental potential of the corporate sector, not just on donor aid.

Design/methodology/approach

This article explores both how corporations contribute to development and also the challenges in incorporating them into the wider processes of international development. This is achieved through the examination of two key sets of literature. The first is that regarding the effectiveness of the existing approach to international development. The second, smaller but growing, explores the impact that the corporate sector has had on raising countries out of poverty.

Findings

This paper finds that despite the cost and effort, most developing countries remain just that – developing. Where countries have developed, there is strong evidence to suggest that this has been the result, not of international aid, but of a thriving corporate sector. Yet companies remain outside the prevailing development paradigm, and their contribution to lifting countries out of poverty remains poorly understood. This paper makes a number of recommendations in relation to further research that is needed, and also policy approaches that need to be explored.

Research limitations/implications

It is apparent from this paper that more and detailed scholarly work is needed to improve further our understanding of how companies contribute to development.

Practical implications

For policy makers this paper demonstrates an urgent need to develop better and more thorough‐going processes to engage with the corporate sector.

Originality/value

The role that companies play in international development remains under‐explored. This paper is therefore a novel contribution to this debate, and one that has significant implications for both the academic and policy communities.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Ans Kolk and Daniel van den Buuse

Although the crucial role of business, and of business‐based approaches, in development is increasingly emphasised by academics and practitioners, insight is lacking into

Abstract

Purpose

Although the crucial role of business, and of business‐based approaches, in development is increasingly emphasised by academics and practitioners, insight is lacking into the “whether and how” of viable business models, in environmental, social and economical terms. This article analyses private‐sector involvement in development, including a business perspective of firm‐level factors, taking the case of sustainable energy in developing countries.

Design/methodology/approach

In the framework of the international business and development debate, the authors examine the “state of the art” on sustainable energy and business involvement, and present their own research on illustrative cases from local companies involved in renewable, off‐grid rural electrification. Implications are discussed, as viewed from the broader perspective of business models.

Findings

Existing studies on sustainable energy take macro‐economic and/or policy‐oriented approaches, containing specific case studies of rural electrification and/or recommended financing/delivery models. The authors categorize them on two dimensions (levels of subsidies and public/private involvement) and conclude that market‐based models operating without subsidies hardly exist in theory – and also not in practice, as the study shows that companies can at best have part of their portfolio non‐subsidized based on customer segmentation or require socially oriented investors/funders.

Research limitations/applications

This exploratory study can be a starting point for further in‐depth analyses.

Practical implications

The article outlines challenges faced by companies/entrepreneurs when aiming for viable business models, and provides insights to policy‐makers who want to further the role of business in sustainable (energy) development.

Social implications

Sustainable energy and development are crucial and interlinked issues highly relevant to global society, as exemplified by the UN year of Sustainable Energy for All and Rio+20.

Originality/value

The article contributes new dimensions and perspectives that have been left unexplored, and that are crucial for reducing poverty and stimulating sustainable (energy) development.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Adaeze Okoye

This paper aims to explore the question of the role of business in development from a contextual point of view. The context is Nigeria and its development challenges

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the question of the role of business in development from a contextual point of view. The context is Nigeria and its development challenges contrasted with the Nigerian oil industry, which dominates the Nigerian economy as the core resource. It examines the country's attempt to reconnect the oil industry business with development through the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper primarily examines the attempt to re‐orient the oil industry in Nigeria through the Nigerian PIB. It adopts a conceptual approach analyzing the current debates and delays surrounding the bill in line with themes of human development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). It therefore examines and questions the linkages between business, development, law and governance.

Findings

The main findings suggest that development is best viewed in context of the needs of the relevant country and therefore if corporations through CSR are to engage more meaningfully with the developmental agenda then it must move beyond “self‐interested” models of CSR and engage meaningfully and fairly with facilitative frameworks in the “local” contexts, including the use of law.

Originality/value

This paper is an exploratory discussion that examines the potential and limitations of linking business to development agendas in an ongoing context. This is because the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill, originally drafted in 2008, has not yet passed into law at the end of 2011. This is the result of delays and uncertainty, which is costing the industry and the country significantly at a time when the developmental needs are paramount.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Heiko Spitzeck and Sonia Chapman

This paper aims to create empirical evidence regarding shared value strategies recently propagated by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to create empirical evidence regarding shared value strategies recently propagated by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyze a single case study of a collaboration between BASF, André Maggi Group and Fundação Espaço Eco in Brazil. The objective is to evaluate whether the applied strategy can be considered as a case of shared value creation.

Findings

The case study on the collaboration between BASF, FEE and the André Maggi Group does qualify as a shared value strategy, more precisely as a case of redesigning productivity in the value chain.

Research limitations/applications

This single case study creates some evidence for shared value strategies; however, more research is needed to generalize the results.

Practical implications

The socio‐eco‐efficiency analysis offered by Fundação Espaço Eco creates a differentiation strategy for BASF in Brazil. The work enables BASF's clients to reduce negative impacts while increasing their financial, social and environmental performance.

Originality/value

This paper is the first empirical verification of the shared value concept. It demonstrates that shared value strategies do enhance financial as well as socio‐environmental performance and build stronger client relationships.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Ravi Fernando

The purpose of the paper is to present a conceptual framework and a set of conditions within which nations and business can strive to embed sustainability in

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to present a conceptual framework and a set of conditions within which nations and business can strive to embed sustainability in corporate/national strategy. The objective is to motivate business and national leaders to do so with sustainability mindsets and strategic leadership. The pre‐conditions that will accelerate the “motivation” to do so are identified, as are interventions identified. The sphere of influence business and national leaders have to impact sustainable globalization is identified.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is to focus on information in the public domain that outlines the “real” challenges faced by nations and business as they consider the need for sustainability and key issues such as “poverty and climate change”, which if not addressed could have detrimental strategic implications for the planet, business and nations. The changes that have taken place since 1982 when global leaders signed up to Agenda 21 and the relatively insignificant movement that has occurred to date is outlined to strengthen the case for quantum leaps in the short to medium term. The strategic framework recommended is one that combines the need for organizations to set a new gold standard for “corporate responsibility”, which is a “commitment to sustainable business” followed by a commitment to differentiating the business or nation on a sustainability paradigm. This is presented as means to embedding sustainability in strategy in the form of the concept of “strategic corporate sustainability”. The concept of strategic corporate sustainability is presented as a two‐step approach that initially requires both national and corporate leaders to commit to the need for sustainability by developing triple bottom line strategies. This is followed by the need to embed sustainability strategy as the corporate strategy that differentiates the nation and the business, strategically setting it apart from those that have not done so. This is presented as one of the ways to move forward to achieve the goal of sustainable globalization.

Findings

The key findings from information in the public domain of nations and business that have embedded a sustainability policy and are demonstrating that enlightened leaders who have sustainability mindsets as a primary requirement for the future are presented with the examples of General Electric and Unilever. The process of nations embedding sustainability policy, which in turn motivates business to strive for sustainable business, which finally leads to sustainable consumption, is presented in a sequential manner.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper is in the form of the concept of strategic corporate sustainability, which was first mooted in 2008 at Cambridge University and has since been accepted as a key subject and elective for MBA and AMP programs between 2008 and 2012 at many business schools, confirming both its validity and its originality.

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Michael Blowfield

The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for understanding and analysing business's role as a development actor, and the distinction between development tool

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for understanding and analysing business's role as a development actor, and the distinction between development tool and development agent.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a theoretical analysis based on secondary data and empirical research.

Findings

Business has various roles to play in the social and economic development of poorer countries, but are all of them equally important and laudable? Mainstream economics has long held that the private sector is essential to economic prosperity, and this has led policy‐makers and neoliberal thinkers to treat it as a tool for development. But under what circumstances does business go beyond acting out its assigned role as a tool of development to become what this article calls a “development agent” – something that consciously strives to deliver, and moreover be held to account for, developmental outcomes?

Research limitations/implications

The article presents a framework for a more structured approach to further empirical research, but does not claim to apply that framework in empirical situations.

Social implications

Despite the considerable literature advocating why business should be a development agent, much less attention has been paid to two more fundamental questions: whether and under what circumstances business will take on such a role; and what being a development agent means. These are the central questions of this article. Answering them enables business practitioners, policy‐makers and academics to predict more accurately when business engagement is likely to deliver genuine development value and be sustainable, and hence when it is a worthwhile business, advocacy or policy objective. It also enables improved decision‐making by non‐private sector partners such as development agencies and NGOs.

Originality/value

The article addresses the above questions in turn with reference to empirical research by the author over nearly two decades, and both the corporate responsibility and the international development literature. It discusses what being a genuine development agent means, and provides a framework for understanding the business‐poverty relationship based on business as a cause, a victim, and a solution in international development terms. It concludes with a discussion of how well business is performing as a development agent, and the future potential and limitations of this role.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

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