President Tom Lyon moderates a panel of senior ARCS scholars.

The 11th Annual ARCS Research Conference was hosted June 5-7, 2019 by the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The conference chair was Olga Hawn, Sustainability Distinguished Scholar and Faculty Director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise.  With 84 participants, including faculty and PhD students, the conference is small enough to allow younger scholars plenty of opportunity to engage with leaders in the field.  Keynote speakers this year were Paula Alexander, Director for Sustainable Business at Burt’s Bees, and Billy Pizer, the Susan B. King professor of economics at Duke who specializes in climate policy.

ARCS President, Tom Lyon, said “ARCS is going strong as it heads into its second decade, having built a reputation as the premier corporate sustainability research conference.  ARCS participants offer critical yet constructive feedback on research in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.  UNC did a great job organizing, and the social events and meals were superb.  It’s exciting to see a new generation of scholars emerging to carry forward the corporate sustainability research agenda.”

Olga Hawn (left) and Basak Kalcanci (right)

This year the Emerging Sustainability Scholar Award was presented to both Basak Kalkanci, Assistant Professor of Operations Management at the Georgia Institute of Technology Scheller College of Business, and Olga Hawn, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolin Chapel Hill.

Kalkanci’s research focuses on socially and environmentally responsible supply chain management, behavioral operations management, supply risk management, contracting and information sharing in supply chains.  Hawn’s research lies at the intersection of strategy and organization theory, business and society. In particular, she is engaged in multidisciplinary research on non-market strategy, including environmental, social and corporate governance activities of the firm with a focus on the strategic impact of such activities, their antecedents and consequences in developed and emerging markets.

ARCS President Tom Lyon and Best Paper Award recipient Mark DesJardine.

The conference hosts chose several scholars to receive awards for outstanding papers, and conference attendees voted for two People’s Choice Awards. The Best Paper Award went to Mark DesjardinePennsylvania State University, and Rodolphe Durand, HEC Paris, for their paper “How Activist Investors Influence Corporate Social Responsibility.”  Their empirical analysis showed that when hedge funds make a large investment in a firm, share prices rise in the short run, but both social responsibility measures and overall firm value decline in the long run.  These disturbing findings about the long-run damage done by hedge funds suggest that changes in governance and regulation may be needed.  Full details on all paper awards can be found on our Awards page.

The 12th Annual Research Conference will be held at Bocconi University in Milan on June 10-12, 2020.

ARCS would like to extend its gratitude and thanks to all those who attended this year, and whose commitment over the years have made ARCS the success it is today.

For more photos of the event, click here.