Sunday, May 15, 2011

Promoting CSR Among the World's Brightest Youth

It is often corporate social responsibility failings, rather than successes, which get the most publicity. However, occasionally successful entrepreneurs, such as Catherine B. Reynolds, break through the cloud of negative media and show that inspiring social and environmentally responsible thinking among our youth is a battle worth fighting and winning.

This goes beyond universities requiring business majors to take courses on business ethics and corporate social responsibility. The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation has begun to reward students for their research and work in the field of corporate social responsibility in two ways: 1) through invitations to her Academy of Achievement Summit; and 2) by providing scholarships through the Catherine B Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship.

The annual Academy of Achievement Summit, which is the intellectual equivalent of the Oscars, helps promote a variety of sustainable practices comprising corporate social responsibility standards. The organization (Academy of Achievement) invites a few dozen of the most notable names in politics, art, and business. Former attendees include Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Steven Spielberg, and CEOs of various companies. The best part: the summit holds events and discussions, in which some of the most renowned business leaders and politicians mingle and discuss issues with hand picked student attendees and young professionals.

These 70 students, usually from various backgrounds and countries, have been leaders in their respective fields, and they are nominated by the administration of their respective universities They are interested in leading initiatives in various fields, and they get to discuss their ideas about environmentalism, business ethics, and politics with some of the most successful leaders in their field.

The Catherine Reynolds Foundation also offers scholarship for NYU graduate and undergraduate students pursuing studies in social entrepreneurship. In addition to providing scholarships, the foundation also allows students to participate in a variety of panels dealing with corporate social responsibility. Towards the end of the program, the students are able to compete in a social venture competition, where the program provides winners with capital for their business idea.

This foundation, and Catherine B. Reynolds in particular, should be emulated by other wealthy individuals wanting to increase social entrepreneurship and corporate responsibility among young professionals. Indeed a similar inspiring initiative already exists: eBay founder Jeff Skoll’s Centre Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University, along with his World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Through leadership initiatives like these, we can make CSR the norm, instilled from a young age. If we succeed, we are less likely to see deviations from responsible, accountable practices.

About the Guest Blogger

Pamelia Brown specializes in writing about associates degree. Questions and comments can be sent to:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Generation of Socially Responsible Employees Head Our Way (Guest Blog)

Guest Blog by Mariana Ashley

Paul Light, of NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, recently wrote a very impressive article at his blog at The Washington Post about how business schools and programs can serve as an excellent starting point for teaching students—the future of business—about the importance of social responsibility. Essentially, you could call his article a 'call to arms,' in that Light is attempting to inspire his readers, many of whom most likely count themselves to be his colleagues in business schools across the country, to consider requiring their students to pass courses concerning social impact.

Light notably closes the article with the following statement: "Making social impact part of every student's curriculum would send the signal that social impact is an essential skill for any destination, while telling students that changing the world is part of a life well live."

Light does address some possible counterarguments: he remarks that such an expanded requirement means that other, perhaps more traditional courses would have to be bumped; he recognizes that many programs have already incorporated courses on ethical business practices and corporate responsibility into their curricula as electives; and he points out that students interested in corporate social responsibility are also interested in, well, having a career that pays the bills.

In other words, he is aware of the difficulties that such a 'call to arms' creates for his readership.

But this doesn't keep him from making the call, of course, though it does severely limit his ability to set out a significant plan that other schools might implement should they want to follow his lead. Instead, Light points to what he perceives to be exemplary prototypes of this new impulse in business programs: NU's Kellogg School of Management and his own Wagner School, which are both "great steps" in the right direction.

So what, then, does this mean for the CSR movement? Well, should this impulse in business programs take root and grow healthily, it means that those concerned in fostering a sense of social responsibility among their companies will have a much better and more successful project due to the receptiveness of their audience. And, most likely, this same audience will also provide a great resource, bringing their own fresh ideas to that same project. Corporations would do well to seek out the most talented job candidates who have graduated from these and similar programs, as they will certainly be the next generation to lead the charge in the name of corporate social responsibility.

About the Blogger

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031