Harvard Schools Unite for Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative

Marshalling the resources of business, government, academia, and civil society to address pressing social challenges in the United States and globally is the goal of a new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiative, to be launched on March 4th. The CSR Initiative has been established by the Kennedy School of Government with the goal of working with colleagues at the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, and Harvard School of Public Health. The Initiative is supported by a core group of Founding Companies: The Coca-Cola Company, ChevronTexaco, General Motors, and Walter H. Shorenstein.

The CSR Initiative will consist of an integrated program of research, education and outreach activities bringing together leading practitioners and scholars to advance both knowledge and applied research in the field of corporate responsibility. In particular, the Initiative will explore the role of corporate responsibility in relation to corporate governance, public policy and multi-stakeholder alliances.

Over the next few years, the CSR Initiative will convene leaders from business, government, academia and civil society with a focus on building trust, exploring and assessing the changing boundaries between public and private sectors, and evaluating new approaches to more inclusive and sustainable globalization. It will study how the private sector can work with government to build and sustain effective public-private partnerships in order to address critical economic, environmental and social challenges. It will also analyze new models of leadership, from the corporate perspective, that are needed to manage corporate responsibility, meet rising stakeholder expectations, and build cross-sector alliances. And it will explore the role of the media and the financial sector in influencing corporate responsibility.

To launch the Initiative, the Kennedy School will host a discussion panel, “The Public Role of Private Enterprise”. The participants will include: Gro Harlem Brundtland (former Director-General of the World Health Organization, former prime minister of Norway, Chair of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development, which first promoted the concept of sustainable development), Dick Cavanagh (President and CEO of the Conference Board), Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School), Vernon Ellis (chairman of The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, Member of the G8’s Digital Opportunities Task Force, international Chairman of Accenture).