Research - 03.10.2012 - 00:00
1 October 2012. What turns businesspeople into entrepreneurs? What do we understand by corporate social responsibility? And how can the abstract notion of sustainability be graphically explained? The HSG video series “Little Green Bags” invites viewers to find out more about these three issues. All three topics provide debating points in society, in the economy and in politics. And this is why they also are an important component of research and teaching at the University of St.Gallen.
Nibbles of knowledge during the lunch break
HSG experts use brief animated films to put in a nutshell what the issues of sustainability, CSR and entrepreneurship are all about. Tying in with academic seminars with a lunchtime snack, the so-called “brown bag lunches”, the video series “Little Green Bags” offers nibbles of knowledge.
The first in the series is an animated film about corporate responsibility made by the Institute for Business Ethics (IWE-HSG). The German version will be followed by an English one, before the next video of the series can be viewed in the run-up to Christmas. The films are produced in cooperation with the Zurich animation studio Zense, and they are directed by Andri Hinnen, himself an alumnus of the University of St.Gallen. The academic director of the animated film series is Prof. Dr. Thomas Beschorner, Director of the Institute for Business Ethics at the HSG.
CSR: responsibility, not donation ethics
In the first film, author Thomas Beschorner tells viewers in less than 700 seconds that CSR stands for corporate social responsibility, corporate responsibility. Fundamentally, this is a question about good deals for a good society. CSR is not some kind of donation ethics. It is not about how enterprises use their profits but about how enterprises make their profits. Its implementation in a company requires employees of integrity as well as appropriate organisational structures. It is about individual as well as institutional ethics.
Politics remains important but possesses only a limited degree of agency for political regulations in a globalised world. Therefore enterprises are playing an increasingly important role. Soft laws are new control mechanisms based on corporations’ voluntary commitment. CSR has arrived in corporate practice. It must be supported but also viewed with criticism. The research into questions of corporate responsibility is still in its beginnings, and future developments will be exciting to watch.
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