First Annual CBERN Meeting
The CBERN 1st Annual Meeting was held at the Liu Centre for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, on 31 May. The meeting provided an opportunity to report on a number of CBERN-funded projects which are underway, including the CBERN/Ryerson Collaborative Case Study, ISBEE/University of Waterloo/CBERN Project, Business and Health Care Study, Socially Responsible Investment Cluster, Ethics of Resource Extraction Workshop, 50 Cent Case Study, Canada-Russia CSR Project, PhD Cluster, Canadian Business Ethics Case Studies compilation and the Guide to Instruments of Corporate Responsibility, as well as a review of the CBERN Atlantic Region Office, CBERN’s first regional office, and CBERN website development. A number of these projects are highlighted in this newsletter.
The CBERN Advisory Board met on Thursday, 29 May to put the finishing touches on the CBERN Proposals for Governance, and Criteria for Funding Projects. While as Principal Investigator Wes Cragg has final say on the disbursement of CBERN funds, these two policy measures provide support for decisions, and continuity for when the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funds run out, in 2012. After considerable discussion, the CBERN participant body voted to accept both proposals. It was noted that both are living documents, open to change in the future. To review the CBERN Proposals for Governance and Criteria for Funding Projects documents, visit www.cbern.ca/about/governance
The Ethics of Resource Extraction Workshop
Prior to the 1st Annual Meeting, a CBERN workshop on The Ethics of Resource Extraction was held at the Liu Centre, on 30 May. Over 75 academics, government personnel, business people and civil society representatives from across Canada, explored three particular themes:
- Does ethics have a role to play in resource extraction in the 21st Century?;
- Accountability Mechanisms and Human Rights; and
- Building Bridges: What is the role of ethics in building effective tools, agreements and strategies?
Each of these themes were discussed, keeping in mind the following four purposes of the workshop, to:
- Build a research agenda,
- Build a Resources Extraction Network and Cluster,
- Develop research capacity and the existing network capacity, and
- Develop a more coordinated approach to public dialogue.
Visit www.share.ca for an article written by a Workshop participant from the Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE). Results of the workshop will be distilled over the summer and will be available at www.cbern.ca.
Over the summer, CBERN will review the Network’s interest in creating a Cluster devoted to the Ethics of Resource Extraction. If you are interested in participating in this Cluster, please contact email@example.com.
Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and Social Innovation
On May 29, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) held a workshop on the Social Innovation aspects of CMIC at the Liu Centre. This workshop is the first of five workshops CMIC and NRCan intend to hold across Canada, allowing for as many voices as possible to be part of the conversation. For a full description of CMIC, please visit: www.cim.org/bulletin.For further information on the workshops, contact Nadim Kara, Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Canada, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBERN Regional Offices & Clusters
Atlantic Provinces Regional Network
On May 24th a second CBERN Atlantic Regional meeting brought academic, government, private sector, and non-profit representatives together to talk about sustainable prosperity and business ethics. Keynote speaker Chris Bryant, of the Nova Scotia Department of Economic Development, spoke about the Sustainable Prosperity Act, progress towards the goals set forth by the Act, and the future of development in Nova Scotia. A diverse group of participants discussed the future of sustainability and business in the Atlantic Provinces and CBERN’s role in making the connections that will facilitate research and projects that will make the vision of sustainable prosperity a reality.
Notes and materials from the meeting will be made available on CBERN’s Atlantic Region webpage at www.cbern.ca.
On May 26th CBERN held two events at the annual conference of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC), held in Halifax. The first event was a panel discussion introducing CBERN and the regional potential for business ethics research, impacts of involving the business sector in such a network, and the role of collaborative and community-based research in business ethics. The second event, a reception for ASAC participants, was co-hosted by CBERN and the Research Network for Business Sustainability. Attendees had an opportunity to learn about the two organizations and to make new connections to build the networks.
The CBERN PhD Cluster held its first meeting on June 1 2008, in conjunction with the CBERN 1st Annual Conference, at the University of British Columbia. Nineteen PhD students from a variety of Canadian universities and disciplines, all having a link to business ethics, heard presentations from academics and business people on:
- research and dissertation models
- how to get published
- business ethics and the academy
- non-academic career opportunities
It was agreed that Ryan Foster, PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, York University, and Claire Woodside, PhD candidate at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, would serve as Leaders for the Cluster, working with the CBERN HUB staff and Kevin McKague, PhD candidate, Schulich School of Business, York University.
Over the summer, this group will review the various ideas arising from the Cluster meeting and communicate with the Cluster participants, initially, through email. It was agreed at the meeting that each of the Cluster participants would ensure to have their profile on the CBERN website.
Please contact email@example.com with any questions or suggestions for additional Cluster participants. For more information on the PhD Cluster, visit www.cbern.ca/research/clusters/.
Socially Responsible Investment Cluster
Approximately 30 people participated in a one-day workshop organized by CBERN’s SRI Cluster on April 11, at York University. The workshop, involving SRI experts drawn predominantly from the financial sector and academia, sought to bring together a group of people who are engaged in, utilize, or wish to support SRI research in Canada. The workshop participants also included a few prominent SRI experts from outside of Canada, notably Steve Lydenberg from Domini.
In a series of structured presentations and open debates, the workshop canvassed some of the seminal SRI policy, regulatory, economic and other issues in Canada. One of the primary themes discussed was the relationship between ethical and business case drivers for SRI. Participants also considered what policy tools governments and the accounting professions could employ to encourage financial markets to take a long-term perspective necessary for sustainable development.
The participants also sought to identify potential projects, networking mechanisms, funding sources and other initiatives for future collaboration, and to identify other people doing SRI research in Canada with which to work. One proposal is for CBERN members to write papers for an SRI-focused special edition of the Journal of Business Ethics. Another option is to use CBERN to leverage grant applications to SSHRC, including for another specialist workshop. It was also seen as a priority to look for collaboration with the public sector, including the Canada Pension Plan and Natural Resources Canada.
Overall, the workshop emphasized the need for a Canadian-specific research strategy, including the building of networks in Canada and focusing on issues directly relevant to SRI in a Canadian context. Professors Benjamin Richardson, York University, and Tessa Hebb, Carleton University, who helped to organize the workshop, will be advancing and coordinating initiatives that arise from the workshop. An executive summary and notes from the 11 April CBERN SRI Workshop are available at: www.cbern.ca/research/clusters/sri. Notes from the May 21 and June 19, 2008 meetings of the Organizing Committee are available at: www.cbern.ca/research/clusters/sri.
Selected Projects Funded and Underway
CBERN/Ryerson University Collaborative Case Study
On April 14, 2008, a well-received presentation was made concerning the collaborative, multi-perspective CSR pilot case study at the International Conference on the Mining Industry’s Contribution to Economic and Social Development of Communities hosted by ECLAC, the United Nations Commission for the Caribbean and Latin America, held in Santiago, Chile on April 14, 2008 www.cepal.org.
On May 29, 2008, in conjunction with the CBERN 1st Annual Meeting held in Vancouver, a workshop of the CSR pilot case study Northern Team took place. The focus of attention at the Vancouver workshop was on clarification of the ethical frameworks for analysis and further refinement of the methodology for case study development. An update concerning the project was provided at the CBERN annual meeting, and some valuable new contacts were made. The cooperation of a Canadian mining company with operations in South America is being sought. Efforts to identify a Canadian mining company operating in South Africa and Asia that can be approached for cooperation in undertaking pilot CSR case studies for those two regions are underway. Work continues on refinement of the case study development methodology, clarification of the ethical frameworks for analysis, and on preparation of relevant papers and articles. One funding proposal has been prepared and submitted and others are being developed.
ISBEE/U of Waterloo/CBERN Project
Results from this international study of the WTO and its impact on economic development seen from an ethical perspective will be presented at a meeting of the International Society for Business Ethics and Economics (ISBEE) in Cape Town, South Africa, in July, and will subsequently be posted on the CBERN website at www.cbern.ca.
Business and Health Care Project
Work continues on this project, outlined in Newsletter #7. Those wishing to access the related Wiki, please contact Michael Windle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canada-Russia CSR Project
On May 12-13, 2008 the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) hosted a Canada-Russia Roundtable on CSR and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in Moscow, Russia. CBERN, represented by Wesley Cragg, participated in this dialogue which focused on CSR and PPPs as two of many ways to support the development of Aboriginal and Northern Peoples. Presentations from the CSR Roundtable and a full summary of the event are available online at www.cbern.ca/research/projects.
CBERN’s participation in the Canada-Russia Roundtable on CSR coincides with a small DIAND-funded CBERN project. CBERN has partnered with two Russian NGOs to build a website that will help to facilitate the transfer of Canadian knowledge of CSR, in the form of research, best practice and private sector insights, to private sector companies, municipal and regional governments and Aboriginal communities engaged in economic development in the Russian North. CBERN’s role is to participate in the development of a CBERN website portal that will link with the Russian website.
Selected Projects in Gestation
Program for International Polar Year (IPY) Training, Communications and Outreach
CBERN has been notified that our major proposal, “Socially Responsible Development in the Circumpolar North,” submitted in January to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) for IPY funding (see Newsletter #7) was not selected. According to DIAND, it was a highly competitive process and a large number of excellent proposals were submitted. Several factors were taken into account in the selection process, including geographical location of the projects and the variety of the different types of projects and a need for a balance of small and large initiatives. Nonetheless, the CBERN proposal has engendered further discussions among CBERN participants, who are exploring building on the proposal for another government grant application. For more information on this proposal, visit www.cbern.ca.
Advisory Board & Governance Matters
The CBERN Advisory Board met on the evening of 29 May, as the first in four days of annual conference events. Since its January meeting, the Board has been working on the CBERN Governance Proposal (led by Len Brooks, email@example.com) and CBERN Criteria for Funding Projects Proposal (led by Al Pedden, firstname.lastname@example.org). Both proposals were reviewed and confirmed for presentation to the CBERN 1st Annual Meeting on 31 May. To view both proposals, visit: www.cbern.ca/about/governance. To view Notes from the 29 May Advisory Board Meeting, please visit: www.cbern.ca/about/governance.