CBSR-CBERN Research Directions Webinar Series: Socializing the C-Suite: Why Some Big-Box Retailers are ‘Greener’ than Others

May 27, 2013 10:30 AM ET
Press Release

Socializing the C-Suite: Why Some Big-Box Retailers are 'Greener' than Others (CBSR-CBERN WEBINAR)

Thursday May 30, 2013 @ 1:00pm EDT

What motivates companies to pursue ambitious environmental commitments? The prevailing wisdom on the subject is that companies “go green” to improve their bottom line by identifying operational efficiencies, improving corporate reputation, and appealing to environmentally-conscious consumers. This line of reasoning is commonly known as “the business case for sustainability.” While the business case for sustainability can explain why some sectors have pursued environmental goals more actively than others, it has proven ill-equipped to explain discrepancies in commitment to environmentalism between firms within the same sector.

In this presentation based on a paper written by Hamish van der Ven, PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Hamish suggests that socialization of senior executives through innovative multi-stakeholder sustainability networks – not the business case for sustainability – is the critical variable accounting for progressive environmental policies in some corporations and not others.

Hamish's findings stem from in-depth comparative case studies of four North American big box retailers. His evidence suggests that companies whose senior management teams regularly engage with environmental NGOS, academics and public policy-makers are more likely to commit to ambitious environmental goals. Consequently, Hamish suggests that existing efforts to transition to a green economy are based on faulty assumptions of what actually motivates companies to become good environmental citizens.

CBSR Member register for free. If you are affiliated with CBERN or the Ethics Centre, please contact Michael Windle, for a complimentary pass code (limited availabilities).



Hamish van der Ven is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on changing patterns of authority in global governance, with a particular focus on environmental governance. His dissertation investigates in the correlates of effectiveness in transnational eco-labeling initiatives.

Hamish also researches and writes on corporate social responsibility and business ethics. Past and current projects have focused on what motivates corporations to adopt ambitious environmental commitments.

Before returning to academia, Hamish worked for the Government of British Columbia and for the non-profit Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR). He holds an MA and BA from the University of British Columbia.

Research Directions Webinar Series

The Research Directions Webinar Series features research from three PhD students - research that was presented at the CBERN PhD Winter Research Meeting in March, 2013. Research Directions is presented by CBSR and CBERN and is supported by EthicsCentreCA and SSHRC.

During the 50 minute webinars, the PhD student will present their research and will receive feedback from a panel of respondents from academia and industry. The webinars will conclude with a facilitated dialogue session amongst the webinar participants and the presenter.