Award for Outstanding Paper 2012 on Scaling CSR Standards

Yesterday I was awarded a prize by Emerald publishers for Outstanding Paper 2012. Here is my recollection of I said during the cocktail party at the EABIS colloquium, IMD, Lausanne, July 3rd, 2012 (minus the dirty joke).

Getting grips with the mic before remarks at EABIS/IMD
Thank you for the Outstanding Paper award 2012. The paper is about mainstreaming innovations in sustainable and responsible business; about ways governments can help to scale up positive innovations. In the aftermath of the Rio conference, talking about progress in government policy could seem rather naïve. However, this paper shows what some governments are already doing with innovative policies to scale voluntary initiatives. Since the first Rio summit 20 years ago businesses and NGOs have worked together to create innovative certification systems. They are widespread, but they are not mainstream. For instance, the certification system of the Forest Stewardship Council, which was the focus of my very first job after leaving university, now accounts for about 11% of the world’s trade in wood and wood products. That is great, but it also means that 89% of wood products could come from trashed forests. Some governments, from all continents of the world, have been adopting innovative policies to help scale such voluntary initiatives, to achieve public goals. We present a typology of those policies.

The paper grew out of a UNCTAD study I worked on, which also informed the G20 discussions on greening international trade. So I thank my colleagues at UNCTAD who are coauthors of the paper. The support from Griffith helped me to re-purpose the research and set it in a wider context to share with academe. My research has always been shaped by what I considered relevant to change, whether in policy or practice. I haven’t always been able to have it published academically, and have previously been rejected for being too interdisciplinary. So I’m grateful for this new journal and the accolade from Emerald publishers. I supports the notion that theory should be the servant, not master, of our inquiry, and that disciplines should be our foundations, not cages.

The Outstanding Paper 2012 is available for free download for another month:

Jem Bendell, Anthony Miller, Katharina Wortmann, (2011),”Public policies for scaling corporate responsibility standards: Expanding collaborative governance for sustainable development”, Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 2 Iss: 2 pp. 263 – 293

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