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By Dan Cass.

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07.02.2014

Becoming an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney

I was recently made an Honorary Associate in the well respected Sydney Business School at Australia’s first university, the University of Sydney.

This is an exciting move for me. I have not been involved with a learning institution since I left Museum Victoria in 1998.

I have now been campaigning on, or thinking about global warming for twenty years. Now it is time for some structured reflection.

My affiliation is with the Balanced Enterprise Research Network (BERN) which is administratively within the Business School and is a key program in the Sydney Environment Institute, which works across disciplines.

My initial focus with BERN is on new organisational models for building the power and profitability of the renewable energy sector.

BERN’s Convenor, Professor Christopher Wright, has brought me into his team and the University with generosity. The University of Sydney is an excellent institution and I hope to be able to contribute to both scholarship and teaching.

My first engagement is a symposium on corporate social responsibility, on 14 February 2014.

The key speaker at the symposium is Professor Dirk Matten, Hewlett Packard Chair in Corporate Social Reponsibility at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto.

Dr Matten is presenting the keynote paper at the symposium, which critiques a major theory of corporate social responsibility called ‘creating shared value’ (CSV). CSV was developed by Michael E Porter and Mark R. Kramer. Porter is an authority on competitiveness, from Harvard Business School and one of the world’s best known business theorists.

When Porter and Kramer’s article was originally published, as a cover story in Harvard Business Review in 2011, it was touted under the rubric ‘How to fix capitalism’. Needless to say, capitalism has not been ‘fixed’, not by CSV nor any alternative theory of change, but the ideas are important and should be engaged with in good faith.

I will respond to Matten’s critique, return to some concepts in the key publication by Porter and Kramer and propose a new approach to issues of strategy and the environment. My focus will be on renewable energy and challenges of political economy in the context of global warming.

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