Professor David Grayson CBE, director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, visits the RSA to demonstrate how a new wave of corporate responsibility coalitions are collectively self-regulating, promoting good behaviour and responding to societal challenges.
How business behaves matters to all of us - as consumers, employees, investors in business through our pensions and savings, and as citizens. A series of high-profile corporate crises and scandals has not only undermined public trust in the private sector, but also revealed the clear prioritisation of shareholder accountability over social responsibility.
How best to ensure businesses behave responsibly, remains the subject of passionate debate. What is the most effective balance between regulation and self-regulation?
Professor David Grayson CBE
, director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, argues that in practice, it is not "either/or" but a smart mix. Over the last three decades, around the world, businesses have formed corporate responsibility coalitions to identify and promote responsible business behaviour, make the business case for corporate responsibility, highlight good practice, and provide vehicles for organising collective business responses to societal challenges. Some see these coalitions as forms of voluntary, collective self-regulation by business.
These business-led coalitions like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Business in the Community, are part of an increasingly rich mix along with government initiatives, multi-stakeholder initiatives involving business, NGOs and the public sector, international standards and "soft law".
Together this is an emerging global architecture for responsible business. But how effective is it, and can it be strengthened? Does it improve or undermine democratic accountability?
Speaker: Professor David Grayson CBE
, director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility
Chair: John Morrison
, executive director, the Institute for Human Rights and Business