The Sustainability Agenda

Hosted ByFergal Byrne

Exploring today's sustainability questions with leading experts.

Episode 42: Sustainability: a new way of doing business. How Interview with George Serafeim, the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

Episode 42: Sustainability: a new way of doing business. How Interview with George Serafeim, the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

George Serafeim is the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He has a wide range of research interests including international business, corporate governance and corporate reporting, with a special focus on sustainability. George has presented his research in over 60 countries and is one of the most popular business authors, according to rankings of the Social Science Research Network. Serafeim also has extensive experience as a senior adviser of investment managers and corporations around the world and as a board member in both the non-profit and private sectors. He served as a member of the Standards Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and sits on the board of the High Meadows Institute. In 2013 he co-founded KKS Advisors, a consultancy firm that applies robust academic research to support organizations to develop effective strategies for sustainability. His work has been published in numerous academic and practitioner journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, the Journal of Finance and the Harvard Business Review, and has appeared in media outlets including the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

In this interview, Serafeim discusses how sustainability factors can be embedded within the corporate sector. He differentiates between two different forms of sustainability; one that seeks competitive advantage versus one that advocates a new standard of doing business. He argues that while the free market is a very powerful idea, it is clear that strong institutions and effective integrated reporting on ESG are needed in order to deliver sustainable prosperity. He makes the case for corporate leadership on sustainability issues by arguing that corporations are best positioned to implement long-term strategies. He argues that the critique of inherent short-termism often levelled at markets actually reflects a failure of organisational management and vision. Moreover, Serafeim argues that the fiduciary responsibility to maximise returns to shareholders can be overcome at the board level. He finishes by briefly discussing the role of investment in embedding ESG factors and the role of new business models such as the benefit corporations.

The post Episode 42: Sustainability: a new way of doing business. How Interview with George Serafeim, the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. appeared first on The Sustainability Agenda.