Gaidar Forum experts discuss whether business really needs socially responsible managers

The Ninth Gaidar Forum participants have discussed the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). They looked at the role of business schools in fostering socially responsible managers, the impact of cultural environment in a country on CSR, and the importance of this concept for business.

In recent years, more and more people agree that a company should not only strive to benefit, but also to benefit society. The moderators, RISEBA Business School Rector Irina Sennikova, and NASDOBR CEO Natalya Evtikhieva, outlined the main questions for the discussion: What can we do to improve the world? How can we prepare socially responsible managers?

Jonas Haertle, head of the UN PRME initiative, mentioned 17 sustainable development goals, stressing that the companies “can and must contribute to the achievement of these goals.” The expert also named six principles of PRME: values, virtues, method, research, partnership, and dialogue – and explained that business schools should rely on these principles and introduce sustainable development goals into their programs.

“If we do not help business leaders solve global problems, it is unlikely that we will leave the planet in good condition to our children,” CEO of AMBA International Andrew Main Wilson said.

He suggested that business schools choose 3-4 problems from the UN list to include them in the program and jointly find a solution. In his opinion, business can make a greater contribution to sustainable development than government authorities.

CEEMAN President and Dean of IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia) Danica Purg stressed the importance of training and developing business school teachers for implementing CSR at companies. CEEMAN develops materials on sustainable development, trains specialists, and accredits IQA business schools, she added.

President of Almaty Management University Asylbek Kozhakhmetov said, “Business education should lead to results and real changes in society.” At the Almaty University, they rely on the principle of triple benefit, he said, “Three should benefit from an interaction of two companies, not just them, but also society.”

Yevgenia Pashkevich, Deputy Dean of RANEPA Institute of Business Studies (IBS) – the first business school that supported the PRME initiative in 2008 – gave another example of introducing CSR principles into a business school program. At IBS, they added courses on social ethics, fighting corruption, and social practice. The IBS mission corresponds to the CSR values,​the expert stressed – to form a new generation of socially responsible entrepreneurial and managerial elite in Russia and promote the development of Russian business education.

At the end of the discussion, Irina Sennikova urged the business schools that had not yet supported the PRME initiative, to consider CSR principles and to include relevant subjects in the training program for the education of socially responsible leaders.

The organizers include the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute) and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The program outline is available at the forum website.

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The general partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom and Gazprombank; strategic partners include Novartis, Johnson&Johnson, RZD, MSD, AstraZeneca, the ACIG Group of Companies, Mastercard, Coca-Cola, Russian Agricultural Bank, Pharmstandard JSC, Microsoft; O1 Group, Unilever, EY, Russian Brewers’ Union, Russian Direct Investment Fund are partners and RVC.

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