CSR – the Swiss government takes it to the next level

Swiss Plan of Action for CSR -(2015-2019) The Swiss Federal Council has just adopted a document which defines their position with regards to the corporate social responsibility concerning Swiss business (CSR).

It is clear from this document that the Swiss government expects their economic actors to assume their responsibilities towards society. The government wants to reinforce the positioning of Swiss enterprises in terms not only of their competitiveness but also with regards to the role they play in society. Being responsible with regards to sustainable development and helping resolve social challenges is expected by the government according to this action plan. Continue reading

Good for Business, Good for the Community – The Irish Vision for CSR and the Economy

The Irish National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2014-2016  is an extremely important step for the Irish business community both locally and globally according to the Irish Government. With this plan, they wish to ensure that Ireland “be recognized as a modern, fair, socially inclusive and equal society supported by a productive and prosperous economy” and they feel that “this objective can be supported by embedding CSR more widely in organisations.”

Ireland wishes to be “a Centre of Excellence for responsible and sustainable business practices through the adoption and implementation of best practices in CSR in enterprises and organisations.“ Continue reading

Sustainable Finance in Switzerland

When I was living and working on my PhD in Scotland, I was pleased to know that I lived in one of the world’s hubs of Socially Responsible Investments [1] (SRI). At the time (early 2000s), the institutional investors (pension or life assurance companies) were key players and as you all know Edinburgh is the northern home of pension houses. Companies such as Standard Life, Scottish Widows, Baillie Gifford all had some form of SRI fund in their portfolios to keep their ethical investors happy. These included churches, university superannuation funds [2] and charitable trusts. These SRI funds generally were “ethical funds”, that is to say they used exclusion criteria. They excluded “sin stocks” such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, nuclear energy, or weapons manufacturers from their portfolios. Continue reading

Closing the circle – from research to reality

Many years ago in another life, in another career, I became passionate about ethnoveterinary medicine (EVM). This arcane subject, also known as traditional veterinary knowledge, received my undivided attention for a number of years. I first learnt about this area of indigenous knowledge from Professor Denis Fielding of Edinburgh University’s Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine where I was studying for my Masters in Tropical Animal Production and Health. It appeared that in every culture, in every civilisation the world over where animals were being raised for meat, milk and fibre, people had discovered plants with medicinal properties to treat a multitude of livestock ailments. Continue reading

Human Rights are inalienable and indivisible!

I was happy to present my views on Business and Human Rights and corporate governance to Professor Marina Curran’s Masters Class on “Business Responsibility and Sustainability” this week.

For me it was important to tell students about the current debate on the importance of Human Rights to Business and in the Education of Business students – Financial Times: Human Rights should be on the MBA curriculum. This knowledge and understanding is so relevant and important for their future careers! Continue reading

Social Impact Assessment, Risk and CSR

I thought I would continue on the theme of my previous post where I mentioned the glazing of the eyes of students when faced with theory of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) versus the reality of applying CSR in the business context, especially in emerging markets with its specific challenges.

CSR has to be above all things practical, achievable, measurable and in many ways the practice of Social Impact Assessments (SIA) when embarking on new projects embodies this. Continue reading

Is there a business case for CSR?


Business School Lausanne received a visit from Michael Hopkins [1] in September 2013.  Professor Hopkins is a well-known expert on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and was recently named as one of the world’s 100 thought leaders on trustworthy business behavior in 2013. Hopkins gave his listeners a comprehensive explanation of how he has lived and seen the process and thinking relating to CSR over a 20 year period. Different influences such as economist Wassily Leontief and development gurus Arthur Lewis and AK Sen [2] and Michael’s own  work on human development,  his interest in seeing what business was doing in terms of development were all part of his personal journey in this subject. Continue reading