Corporate Social Responsibility Summit

Dr Sandra Lynch, Director of the Institute for Ethics & Society with Sara Watts from The University of Sydney and Notre Dame’s Associate Dean of Business, Mr Phillip Cenere.

8 October 2015

Long-term strategic innovation that services the community is necessary for business to achieve best practice in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), according to discussions by business leaders and academics at a summit organised by The University of Notre Dame Australia in Sydney last week.

The Business Ethics and the Common Good Summit, hosted by the University’s Institute for Ethics & Society, its School of Business and CPA Australia, explored the contemporary struggle organisations have meeting the challenges of stakeholder expectations while ensuring they operate in sustainable and ethical ways.

The conference heard that CSR, also understood as Sustainability, worked best when embedded into the culture of a company. It was suggested best practice involved the concept of shared value with decisions based both on long term company profitability and sustainability while delivering social benefits to the community, irrespective of market trends.

Conference keynote speakers included: Libby Davidson (Group General Counsel & Sustainability Director, Lion), Sara Watts (Vice Principal of Operations, The University of Sydney and formerly of IBM Australia) and Dr Matthew Bell (Oceania Climate Change and Sustainability Services Leader, Ernst & Young).

They reinforced the idea that creating shared values allowed a company to be an organ of change while encouraging innovative solutions. It was also suggested that in order to achieve CSR, company culture needed to create a sense of accountability with each individual employee, while considering outcomes that delivered social benefits as well as economic benefits.

Conference facilitator and Notre Dame’s Associate Dean of Business, Phillip Cenere, said CSR included the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic expectations placed on organisations by society.

“While the modern day notion of CSR started more than half a century ago, today CSR remains an elusive and difficult to define space. This summit was designed to facilitate fruitful cross-pollination and collaboration between industry practice and scholarly research,” Mr Cenere said.

Mr Cenere said Notre Dame was planning postgraduate CSR courses in semester two, 2016 at Graduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters level. The proposed courses recognised interest in the all-pervasive nature of the CSR concept in the business world and would cover the global CSR framework, sustainability reporting, change management and corporate communication, leadership, issues and crises management and innovation and entrepreneurship, Mr Cenere said.

Theresa Kyne: Tel (02) 8204 4141; Mob: 0407 408 177;