CSR Priorities: Why Companies Benefit From Unique Choices
While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is widely viewed as highly strategic, not all firms address all dimensions of CSR equally, either across or within sectors. But how much latitude have they actually got when deciding which dimensions to prioritize? And is it more profitable to follow industry norms and patterns or to craft a unique CSR strategy? Researchers Leandro Nardi of the HEC Paris S&O Institute, Todd Zenger of the David Eccles School of Business, Sergio Lazzarini of the Ivey Business School, and Sandro Cabral of Insper, show how making strategic investment choices of CSR dimensions can build competitive edge and greater financial value.
Social Media Moderation: Is it Profitable to Fight Fake News?
Digital content-sharing platforms provide important information to citizens around the world, but they also face enormous challenges, not least those posed by malicious, online information manipulators. Attempts to moderate online content are expensive and are constrained by business models. In addition to investigating the limits of content moderation, this study by HEC Professor of Strategy and Business Policy Olivier Chatain says that government bodies may have a role to play, providing new rules on how to moderate online content while safeguarding freedom of expression.
How Gender Diversity at Law Firms is Driven By Competition for Business
A new study of John Mawdsley and Rodolphe Durand of HEC Paris, and Lionel Paolella of the University of Cambridge, indicates that for U.S. law firms, efforts to increase gender diversity aren’t only motivated by a desire for fairness, but instead are driven by the need to take clients away from rival firms. The author’s show that when women are increasingly represented in the senior ranks of clients of rivals, law firms strategically boost their own gender diversity to align with the diversity values of those clients. However, when increasing gender diversity is less likely to be successful for taking those clients, law firms reduce their gender diversity efforts in their organization.
Environmental, Social and Governance Performance
Addressing the 'S' Demands of ESG
Top-quality research and teaching are essential to understand growing inequalities which hinder the urgently needed ecological transition, to interrogate the ESG factors, and to leverage theory and the most ambitious empirical methods. To do so, HEC scholars work with public and private regulators, peers from leading European academic institutions, CEOs and administrators to develop, test, and evaluate novel strategies, policies and practices designed to tackle inequalities in their field. In this Knowledge@HEC issue, we share academic knowledge and highlight professional experiences on those topics. Find the pdf of that issue here.
Schneider Electric: Testimonial of an ESG Leader
Schneider Electric (SE) is a world leader in energy management. Corporate Knights ranked it the world’s most sustainable company in 2021. Knowledge@HEC met with Gilles Vermot Desroches, Director of Corporate Citizenship and Institutional Relations since 2020. A trained engineer, he has been designing Schneider’s sustainability for the last 25 years. He discusses the company’s understanding of ESG, its strategic efforts to develop its performance, and how to measure their impact.
Addressing the "S" Demands of ESG - Editorial
Because of Europe’s strong social welfare tradition, the social dimension of business has an additional legitimacy and urgency here. Top-quality research and teaching have an essential role to play in understanding growing inequalities which hinder the urgently needed ecological transition, in interrogating the environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, their interplay and their promise and limitations, in leveraging theory and the most ambitious empirical methods. As a leading business school and research center in France and Europe, HEC Paris’ faculty has a responsibility in providing science-based evidence and practical tools to reinvent the business of tomorrow.
Teaching Inclusive Economy at HEC Paris by Challenging Organizational Beliefs
At present, companies understand the urgency to act in favor of the protection of the planet by reducing their carbon footprint but do not often see the business case underlying social impact. Yet businesses that fail to act on social and economic inclusion will find it harder and harder to operate. This is why it is crucial to teach new ways of building strategies to reduce inequalities and fight against poverty. Education Track, Associate Professor Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot of HEC Paris’ Society & Organizations (S&O) Institute explains how this emerging subject is taught at all levels at HEC Paris in order to change organizational cultures from within.
Addressing “S” Demands of ESG: What Role the Board Can (and Should) Play
Faced with rising demands from society, it is crucial that companies address their social/societal impact and the board has a key role to play. A report recently published by the ESG Club of the French Institute of Administrators brushes a fresh picture of current social expectations regarding businesses. In this report, the members of the Social/Societal working group put forward recommendations for administrators to understand these expectations and anticipate the effect of social impact on the competitiveness of companies. Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot Associate Professor (Education Track) of Strategy and Business Policy and cofounder of the Society & Organizations Institute at HEC Paris, and also board member, is one of the report’s authors. In this interview, she comments on the risks and challenges for companies and for board members.
A CEO-Led Coalition Works with Researchers to Measure their Impact on Society
Camille Putois is the CEO of Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG), a coalition of more than 40 global businesses, representing 4.4 million employees and a combined revenue of over 1 trillion USD. She discusses how this coalition strives for more inclusive practices and navigates the pros and cons of the different methods to measure progress on this crucial topic. For this, she worked with Leandro Nardi and Marieke Huysentruyt, researchers at the Inclusive Economy Center at HEC Paris.
How Will New European ESG Reporting Standards Affect Companies?
The European Commission mandated a group of experts to work on new European corporate social responsibility reporting requirements. Marieke Huysentruyt, Associate Professor of Strategy and Business Policy and Academic Director of the Inclusive Economy Center at the Society & Organizations Institute of HEC Paris, was part of a group that drafted legislation on the question of equal opportunity. She describes how her working group shaped their proposals for a wide, long-lasting impact.