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5 concepts that could revolutionize 3-D printing

Green Business News - 4 hours 52 min ago

Our best effort to date piecing together the puzzle on what the proliferation of 3-D printing technology could mean from a sustainability perspective.

5 concepts that could revolutionize 3-D printing
Categories: Green Business

Why designers are on the front lines of climate change

Green Business News - 4 hours 52 min ago

Designers around the world now play a major role in solving our world's epic challenges.

Why designers are on the front lines of climate change
Categories: Green Business

How She Leads: Sara Greenstein, Underwriters Laboratories

Green Business News - 4 hours 52 min ago

This Illinois farm girl and "citizen of the world" is passionate about the power of a science-based sustainable supply-chain strategy.

 Sara Greenstein, Underwriters Laboratories
Categories: Green Business

Ellen Weinreb checks the pulse of the CSO profession

Green Business News - 4 hours 53 min ago

The good news: No one risks working themselves out of a job. The bad news: Some jobs disappear anyway.

Ellen Weinreb checks the pulse of the CSO profession
Categories: Green Business

Supply-chain fixes are the secret sauce for three NY companies

Green Business News - 4 hours 53 min ago

What do ice cream toppings, mushroom-based packaging and paving stones in common? They all can be greener. Here's how three companies are doing it.

Supply-chain fixes are the secret sauce for three NY companies
Categories: Green Business

In Memoir, Environmental Insider Calls for Radical Change

Chelsea Green - Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - 09:35 am

As an influential figure in America’s environmental movement, Gus Speth can boast quite a remarkable resume–co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, founder of the World Resources Institute, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, environmental advisor to Presidents Carter and Clinton, and the list goes on. Yet, as a southern gentleman, […]

The post In Memoir, Environmental Insider Calls for Radical Change appeared first on Chelsea Green.

Categories: Sustainability

Where is water tech when you need it?

Green Business News - Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - 02:01 am

Looking at the numbers, it is clear that despite the drought, investors have been ignoring a huge opportunity to address water scarcity and quality. 

Where is water tech when you need it?
Categories: Green Business

Rupert Murdoch's News UK is leading media against climate change

Green Business News - Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - 02:01 am

Chris Taylor, chief operating officer for The Sun and The Times' publisher, outlines how it has slashed waste, water and carbon emissions.

Rupert Murdoch's News UK is leading media against climate change
Categories: Green Business

Ebay, Kindle and Skype rule among the greenest apps

Green Business News - Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - 02:01 am

Surprises emerge among these top 20 apps named for promoting less wasteful, more efficient behavior.

Ebay, Kindle and Skype rule among the greenest apps
Categories: Green Business

With companies nailing disclosure, it's time to tackle performance

Green Business News - Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - 02:01 am

Now that companies have demonstrated they can talk the talk, it's time to walk the walk in a meaningful way.

With companies nailing disclosure, it's time to tackle performance
Categories: Green Business

Here are the 2 biggest challenges to the future of energy storage

Green Business News - Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - 02:01 am

Energy storage looks bright, but current solutions are far from plug-and-play. Here's why.

Here are the 2 biggest challenges to the future of energy storage
Categories: Green Business

The future of business ethics research

CSR News - Sun, Oct 19, 2014 - 11:59 am

This weekend offered an interesting opportunityto discuss, dissect and reflect on the state of the art of business ethics research and some of its future trajectories. At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania a small group of business ethics scholars gathered from all around the globe to celebrate and honor the work of one of the faculty members, Professor Thomas Donaldson. Donaldson, a philosopher by training, can be considered one of the pioneers of the business ethics field and one of its most longstanding and certainly most influential voices over the last four decades.
Some of the speeches at the event focused on appraising and celebrating Donaldson’s impressive body of work, including many humorous interjections on Donaldson as a person by some of his contemporaries such as Norman Bowie, George Brenkert, Ed Freeman, or Pat Werhane. Most of the day though was dedicated to work by scholars who build on, extend, refine, and continue some of Donaldson’s work, including also entering a critical dialogue with his ideas.
Donaldson’s work is not easy to summarize as it covers a number of areas, incl. ‘hard core’ philosophical topics. Without downplaying any of those, one could argue that his work (mostly manifest in books and seminal articles) on corporations and morality, ethics and international business, and Integrative Social Contract Theory (ISCT, together with Thomas Dunfee) count among the most influential ones for the business ethics field. Much of the day was dedicated to develop those ideas further, and in particular ISCT seems to still have a long life ahead.
Thomas DonaldsonTaking a step back after reflecting on Donaldson’s work for 1½ days, it strikes that next to his solid contributions it is both his approach and his choice of topics decades ago which have maybe the strongest potential to inform work in business ethics for decades to come. Donaldson deserves credit for breaking out of the extant consensus in both, the narrower business ethics field as well as the general gist in management studies with an innovative take on at least three core research topics.
What is the unit of analysis in business ethics? 
For most of its short history, certainly until the mid 1990ties scholarly work in business ethics was mostly looking at the organizational level, or even below that, at the level of individual decision-making. What is to admire about Donaldson as a scholar is that he broke out of that consensus, most remarkably when publishing his book and papers around ISCT. The basic tenet of ISCT is that whatever happens in terms of ethical or unethical behavior in businesses is intricately linked to the outside world of business, to institutions that govern business, to wider socio political processes that incentivize or constrain whatever businesses – let alone individuals within them – are doing.
There are solid grounds to argue that this approach to researching ethical issues in business is still of highest relevance today.  On the opening panel of the conference Professor Margaret Blair gave a somewhat sobering account of recent court decisions in US corporate law. Blair, a longstanding authority and critic of the current shareholder dominated view of the firm, gave a short tour d’horizon of court rulings reflecting shareholder dominance as being stronger as never before (Ebay vs Newmark, Trado, CitizensUnited, Hobby Lobby). When the strongest institutions (in this case the law) governing business advocate a model of the firm which flies in the face of much of the basic tenets of the field of business ethics it appears that the odds are very much stacked against any of the aspirations of the field ever coming to fruition in the real world. 
The inspiration then from Donaldson’s work for business ethics scholars may be to further and refine some of the ‘Donaldsonian Themes’ (so the title of the conference); but it is fair to argue that the vision, courage and intellectual entrepreneurship to come up with new approaches of conceptualizing business in its wider societal context is maybe the biggest example and benchmark Donaldson has left for a next generation of business ethics scholars. Be it the relation of business and politics, be it the role of business in economic inequality, or be it the role of business in new technologies and big data – these are all new ethical challenges which ask for a wider and deeper conceptualizations of the role of business and its embeddedness in wider society.
Business ethics is not an epiphenomenon

For most of its history, and to some degree still today, business ethics has been considered as a subfield of management that deals with side-effects of business, with fringe occurrences, with phenomena, that maybe are of interest to the odd practitioner here and there. Certainly many scholars in the core disciplines of management, such as strategy or finance would echo such a view.

During the conference many colleagues highlighted that Donaldson throughout his career has worked in overcoming this categorization of business ethics work. That includes a lot of his writings but also his service to the academic community of management scholars. He was actively leading the subgroup ‘Social Issues inManagement’ of the Academy of Management but also engaged in a number of ‘field constituting’ ventures. Most notably his time as Associate Editor of Academy ofManagement Review (the top journal  for management theory) in the mid 2000s has led to a spate of work originating from scholars in the business ethics field, which was developed under his editorship into papers that speak to the core of the management discipline.

The purpose of the firm, the effect of business on the ecology, the role of business in development or peace – just to name a few examples of business ethics topics – are no longer side-shows. Many of these questions - certainly post financial crisis – are topics that touch the core of the management discipline. Donaldson has left a great example that business ethics scholars have to raise their voice louder and speak to a wider community. Business ethics has something to bring to the party, and Donaldson in is writing and service, has shown how to do this really well.

Management research is an multi-disciplinary venture
One of the things that stands out when looking at Donaldson’s work over four decades is that research in management as an applied discipline is best when it is phenomenon driven. That partly explains the enormous variety of issues he has taken on. The intellectual rigour, theoretical precision and an impressive skill at interesting and accessible writing is what has set a benchmark for ongoing scholarly work. What strikes most is his success – together with other colleagues – to establish philosophy as a legitimate core discipline in management research.
Many management scholars still consider economics to be the main theoretical foundation of management studies – a view maybe still strongest reflected in some of the management studies communities in Europe. In the 1960s, certainly with the rise and growth of marketing and parts of organizational behavior research, we can now consider psychology as a legitimate member of the canonized disciplines of management inquiry.
But this project of widening the theoretical and disciplinary avenues to management research is not over yet. In his writing Donaldson has certainly elevated philosophy as a strong candidate; in his editorial work at AMR he has contributed to make approaches from political science, sociology and others more familiar to the core community of management researchers. We can argue that continuing to widen the disciplinary focus of research in management is truly a ‘Donaldsonian Theme’ and a task for current and future generations of business ethics scholars.
Just as an afterthought - at the end of the conference there was arguably one topic conspicuously absent during the discussion: namely the phenomenon of power (corporate or political, alike). Looking at contemporary debates on, for instance, income inequality or on the roots and fallout of the financial crisis, this seems a somewhat conspicuous omission.  One explanation though could be that – as Richard DeGeorge, chair of the philosophy department during Donaldson’s PhD studies, pointed out at the conference – Donaldson as a student did not take too much liking in Karl Marx’ writings…
The good news then is that this weekend’s conference was not a celebration of Donaldson’s retirement. He will continue as Wharton faculty to be an active scholar and thus surprise, challenge and inspire us hopefully for many more years to come.
Top photo by frankrizzo805, reproduced under the Creative Commons License.

Life cycle analysis confirms renewables' lighter footprint

Green Business News - Fri, Oct 17, 2014 - 02:01 am

A transition to 39 percent renewables would produce fewer emissions than sticking with fossil fuels, even if raw materials are accounted for.

Life cycle analysis confirms renewables' lighter footprint
Categories: Green Business

Defense Department integrates climate change into all operations

Green Business News - Fri, Oct 17, 2014 - 02:01 am

The Pentagon takes climate resilience seriously, even if politicians do not.

Defense Department integrates climate change into all operations
Categories: Green Business

5 ways to whet consumers' appetites for sustainability

Green Business News - Fri, Oct 17, 2014 - 02:01 am

Consumer behavior has been improving only in dribs and drabs. Here's how to start a bigger change.

5 ways to whet consumers' appetites for sustainability
Categories: Green Business

When climate 'wins' only lead to other clean energy battles

Green Business News - Fri, Oct 17, 2014 - 02:01 am

Proponents should consider all possible reactions in order to create a smoother path forward for clean energy.

When climate 'wins' only lead to other clean energy battles
Categories: Green Business

How DuPont and P&G plan to make detergent from agricultural waste

Green Business News - Thu, Oct 16, 2014 - 03:15 pm

In what may be an industry first, Procter & Gamble and the chemical giant join forces to use ethanol made from farm waste in laundry detergent.

How DuPont and P&G plan to make detergent from agricultural waste
Categories: Green Business

Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat

Chelsea Green - Thu, Oct 16, 2014 - 08:30 am

While no single book can definitively answer the thorny question of how to feed the Earth’s growing population, Defending Beef makes the case that, whatever the world’s future food system looks like, cattle and beef can and must be part of the solution. In Defending Beef, Nicolette Hahn Niman — a longtime vegetarian — argues […]

The post Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat appeared first on Chelsea Green.

Categories: Sustainability

9 innovations to slash food loss

Green Business News - Thu, Oct 16, 2014 - 02:01 am

Companies are seizing the business opportunity of solving food loss. Automated tracking systems and consumer apps are just a start.

9 innovations to slash food loss
Categories: Green Business

5 strategies to make L.A. graywater-ready

Green Business News - Thu, Oct 16, 2014 - 02:01 am

From rebates and diverting wastewater from clothes washers to irrigation, here are five ways Angelenos can make the most of this prescious resource.

5 strategies to make L.A. graywater-ready
Categories: Green Business
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