The Social Impact of Business
In this Thought Leaders series organized by Tippie's Social Impact Community, scholars from multiple disciplines provide insight into the role that organizations and individuals play in addressing societal challenges and building a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient society.
All seminars were recorded. Video links are provided below.
Dr. Jeffrey Hales
University of Texas at Austin
Topic: Sustainability Reporting: What Is It and What to Expect?
Abstract: Increasingly, businesses are being asked about the sustainability implications of their operations. What role do the capital markets play in sustainable development, and what information is needed for capital markets to function effectively? In this session, we will talk about the emerging best practices when it comes to sustainability accounting and disclosure, including a discussion of what to expect from regulators and policy makers.
Bio: Jeffrey Hales teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Bake Chair in Global Sustainability Leadership, is the Charles T. Zlatkovich Centennial Professor of Accounting, and serves as the Executive Director of the Global Sustainability Leadership Institute. He is a graduate of the accounting program at Brigham Young University and received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. His research interests center on accounting standard setting and regulation, individual decision making, and behavioral finance, using techniques from applied game theory, experimental economics, and psychology. His research has appeared in The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Economics, and the Journal of Financial Economics, among other journals. He is currently serving a second term as an editor at Accounting Horizons, has previously been an editor for Contemporary Accounting Research, and has served on the editorial boards of several journals. Since 2018, he has served as the Chair of the Standards Board at Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), now part of the Value Reporting Foundation. In his role as Chair, he oversees the agenda setting and due process associated with the SASB standards development and maintenance. Before serving on the Standards Board, he chaired the SASB’s Standards Council, which was formed in 2012.
Dr. Christian Gollier
Université de Toulouse-Capitole
Topic: Corporate Climate Responsibility
Abstract: Emitting CO2 generates a negative global externality taking the form of future climate damages. Corporations and consumers have no natural incentive to internalize these collective costs. What can we expect from benevolent corporations and financial markets under the “CSR” and “SRI” terminology to save our planet? Is it just greenwashing? In the absence of a state-controlled regulation of emissions should we leave to CEOs the characterization of the common good? I will argue in favor of carbon pricing.
Bio: Christian Gollier's research spans the fields of economics of uncertainty, environmental economics, finance, insurance, and cost-benefit analysis, with a particular interest in long-term sustainable effects. He founded the Toulouse School of Economics with Jean Tirole in 2007 and has been its director since 2009 (with a hiatus in 2015-2016). He has published more than a hundred articles in international scientific journals. He has also published 10 books on risk including "The Economics of Risk and Time" (MIT Press), which won the Paul A. Samuelson Award (2001). In 2012, he published a book entitled "Pricing the Planet's Future" at Princeton University Press, which he presented at the "6th Arrow Lecture" at Columbia University. Christian Gollier is one of the authors of the 4th and 5th reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007 and 2013). In addition, he regularly advises several governments on their public investment evaluation policies. He is president of EAERE, the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. His recent book for the general public, "Le Climat après la fin du mois" (PUF 2019), deals with the importance of taking action in the face of climate change and has been a great success in France.
Dr. Wolfgang Ketter
University of Cologne and Erasmus University Rotterdam
Topic: The Complexity and Multiplicity of the Transitions to CASE Mobility
Abstract: The transition to electric mobility is a critical component of the transition to a sustainable energy landscape. Mobility is becoming more connected, autonomous, shared, and electricity-based every year. But such a fast and widespread transition to CASE mobility is complex, and commercial and policy decisions to foster one aspect will have ramifications for another. Would a residential vehicle-to-grid aggregator still be profitable as more delivery fleets with V2G capability participate in the market? How will the proliferation of shared mobility services like Uber affect demand for downtown parking spots?
The trend toward ‘beneficial electrification’ of mobility - using car battery charging to help keep renewable-energy-fed grids in balance - is here to stay. But not every part of the transition to a sustainable energy landscape will be permanent. In this speech, Professor Wolfgang Ketter will highlight commercial and policy considerations for creating sustainable mobility, and will share a ‘transition timeline’ that predicts potential interrelationships between these trends.
Bio: Professor Wolfgang Ketter is coordinator of the key research initiative Smart Sustainable Energy and Mobility and Chaired Professor of Information Systems at the University of Cologne. He is also Academic Director of the Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics and Director of the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, where he is Professor of Next Generation Information Systems. His research focuses on exploiting advances in computing power to create a faster, more sustainable transition to clean energy and mobility. Ketter is advancing a new paradigm that builds communities of researchers who learn from each other in fast-paced competitive environments that model important societal challenges, such as the future of energy markets. He is co-founder of Power TAC, an AI-driven platform that simulates retail energy markets in a decentralized energy future. As fellow and member of the WEF Global Future Council on Mobility and Energy Policy Advisor to the German government, he develops collaborations with business and policymakers to field-test digitalization of the energy landscape in projects such as the EU’s Ruggedized smart-city initiative and the Rotterdam Port Energy Cooperative. Recent awards for his research include the INFORMS ISS Design Science Award in 2021, the INFORMS ISR Best Paper of 2020, and the inaugural AIS Impact Award in 2020.
Dr. Bodi Vasi
University of Iowa
Topic: Don’t Look Up? Organizational and Individual Responses to the Climate Change
Abstract: Organizational scholars have recognized that grand challenges have the potential to impact many crucial phenomena, from organizational resilience and value chains to the adoption of novel organizational practices. Scholars have also argued that anthropogenic climate change is one of the most severe grand challenges facing humanity during the 21st century, and that corporations have a responsibility to mitigate this complex problem. Yet, so far scholars have shown that typical organizational responses to the “super wicked” problem of climate change are either a “don’t look up” or a “business as usual” approach, rather than the development of a new strategy focused on climate change. I present two studies that examine how organizations in different industries respond to the climate change challenge. I also discuss an ongoing project that focuses on communication approaches that can stimulate the adoption of low carbon technologies by individuals and organizations. The conclusion identifies several social factors that affect organizations and individuals’ propensity to engage in meaningful climate change mitigation.
Bio: Bogdan Vasi's research focuses primarily on how social movements contribute to the diffusion of technological innovations, organizational change, and policymaking. He also studies industry emergence and the adoption and implementation of environmental practices by businesses. His major areas of interest are social movements, organizations, environmental sociology, political and economic sociology, and his research is often situated at the intersection of those areas. He teaches courses on sociological data analysis, social movements, organizations, and corporate social responsibility.
Dr. Kate White
University of British Columbia
Topic: How Can We SHIFT Consumers to Act More Sustainably?
Abstract: Professor Kate White will discuss how we can encourage consumers to get on board with making meaningful changes to be more sustainable. She will present a framework from her own research that is represented by the acronym SHIFT. People are most likely to engage in sustainable behaviors when the message or context leverages the following psychological factors: Social influence, Habit formation, Individual self, Feelings and cognition, and Tangibility. The Framework was developed through a rigorous review that integrates over 350 academic articles published in top peer-reviewed journals into a concise, useful, and actionable structure. She will explain the framework using research and real-world examples.
Bio: Dr. Kate White is Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science at the UBC Sauder School of Business, in Vancouver, Canada. She is also the Senior Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Academic Director of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics. Kate’s research focuses on how to encourage ethical, prosocial, and sustainable consumer behaviours. Kate was honored as one of the top 5 Marketing Researchers in the world by the American Marketing Association and she has been inducted to the College of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society of Canada. Kate currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing Research and is on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing, and the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Kate has consulted on various sustainable behaviour-change projects with organizations such as The City of Calgary, Starbucks, Lululemon, the Share, Reuse, Repair Initiative, TransLink, My Sustainable Canada, BC Hydro, and Mountain Equipment Co-op.