Public Lecture: Why CSR is (still) relevant to address climate change

Monday, October 14, 2019, 13:15 – 15:00
SSE Riga, Soros Auditorium

Speaker: Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen is associate professor of applied philosophy and head of the Practical Philosophy Research Group at Copenhagen University.

CSR (Corporate social Responsibility) has become the object of more critical scrutiny from various sources. One pertinent question is: does it really have an impact, or is it merely window-dressing?

Another one is whether or to which extent voluntary choices of companies can have a positive impact on environmental issues on a scale like global warming (for these questions, see link) some may want to conclude that CSR is a dead end, at least if CSR should be judged by its positive impact.

Against this,  I want to defend the possible usefulness of CSR as one tool among others in relation to global warming. In order to do so, it must be settled that there is a positive case for CSR, even under favourable circumstances with effective regulation and well-functioning states/international regulatory bodies, and it must also be argued that there is something like a social duty of companies that is not fulfilled automatically by complying with (legal) rules. Given those preconditions, I then move (cautiously) towards some suggestions for how companies should understand, and practice, CSR.

Speaker Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen holds MA, Ph.D. (philosophy) and BA (psychology). He has published 90+ papers and books across a range of philosophical issues, including many on corporate social responsibility and the foundations of business ethics, public health and related areas. He has worked in scientific projects on obesity, biobanking, and multiculturalism. Current research interests include paternalism in health, public reason, and climate ethics.

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