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Society unconvinced by claims of Corporate Social Responsibility

13 Feb 2014

Event Tuesday 18 February 2014

While most major firms claim a commitment to CSR, few have convinced the public that they are making a positive contribution to society, according to the Hewlett Packard Chair of Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of York's Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Professor Dirk Matten.

Professor Matten, who will be presenting a Sydney Ideas Lecture titled The Enigma of the 'Responsible' Corporation next week, says that most of what companies do in the name of CSR has "never transcended the clear cut profit motive of the firm".

As an example of the conflict between a stated commitment to CSR and reality, Professor Matten points to last year's Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh which claimed more than eleven hundred lives.

"Many brands and retailers who sourced from the Rana Plaza factory were active members in the church of CSR," he said. "But, this did not prevent them from having their products assembled in an abysmal sweatshop."

Professor Matten is currently in Australia as a visiting scholar at the University of Sydney Business School. His visit is co-sponsored by the Business School's Balanced Enterprise Research Network (BERN) and the Sydney Environment Institute.

BERN explores ways that businesses can better balance economic, social and environmental concerns and create shared value for a broader range of stakeholders.

Event Details:

Date: Tuesday 18 February 2014
Time: 6 to 7.30pm
Venue: Law School LT 024, Sydney Law School, Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney