And the wind cries “materiality”

“Political language”, George Orwell wrote, is designed “to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.[i]” But I do not need to tell you that, because you probably work in “corporate sustainability” and thus know from direct experience what Orwell is talking about.  The meaning of “corporate sustainability” has always been pretty windy, and yet […]

Why Activist Hedge Funds Target Socially Responsible Firms, and How Executives and Investors Can Counteract Them

Danone’s CEO had to leave his position under the pressure of increasingly powerful and influential activist hedge funds. With their controversial tactics aimed at maximizing shareholder profit, they undermine sustainability practices, which they consider wasteful. Indeed, not only do they tend to suppress the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of the companies they target, they […]

Let us be the change

Judging from the lofty mission statements of many business schools, educational curricula and research portfolios are geared towards advancing the greater societal good. The number and prominence of business schools that presently declare their dedication to advancing societal welfare hold great promise. In their lockstep, major accreditation bodies such as AACSB increasingly count societal relevance […]

Confusing Output with Impact

I remember attending my first ARCS gathering at the Yale School of Forestry a decade ago.  I listened to the presentation of a number of papers, was schooled by Andy Hoffman on the perils of license to operate for Coke in India, and helped myself to a generous helping of HBS case studies. I tread […]

What’s really driving coal power’s demise?

The big idea People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power. […]

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