In this issue
Looking ahead: An overview of activities, initiatives and opportunities
CBERN 2008 SSHRC Milestone Report
Linking To International Networks
Other CBERN Cluster Activity
Does The Network Work?
Advisory Board Update
Network Participant News
Looking ahead: An overview of activities, initiatives and opportunities
CBERN is now in its second year of existence as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded research network. Our goal as a network is to encourage, support, facilitate and generate national and international visibility for business ethics research in Canada. Connecting people, information, tools, networking and research opportunities, research findings and initiatives is what we are all about. As a result of networking activities in year one, a number of initiatives are under way or are in early planning stages.
Our organizational management structure is set out in our SSHRC proposal and can be viewed at www.cbern.ca/about/governance/index.html. As clusters emerge, they are formed to carry forward the initiative. We are building clusters around four themes (see www.cbern.ca/about/cbernsshrcproposal/index.html#themes); we are in the process of creating regional networks; and we are supporting a number of initiatives. Detailed information about all CBERN activities can be found on our website at www.cbern.ca.
In this newsletter, a brief description of a number of CBERN initiatives currently under way is detailed. If you would like to get involved, contact Breanne Whitwell our Administrative Services Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org), Wes Cragg, Project Director (email@example.com), or the people championing the activity or initiative in which your are interested.
Ethics At The Business/Healthcare Interface
Ethics at the intersection of business and health care is an on-going SSHRC funded Research Development Initiative. The principle investigator is Wes Cragg. The project has focused on medical education and conflict of interest. This project has generated:
- An extensive bibliography of publications engaging these themes;
- An annotated bibliography focusing on these themes ,which locates the subject matter of individual publications on an analytical matrix; and
- An analysis of issues identified in the literature against an analytical matrix.
As the research is on-going, access to research findings is restricted. If you wish to connect to this project and access the research findings, email Wes Cragg (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the website for more information: www.cbern.ca/research/projects/healthcare/ethicsattheintersection.html.
Ethics Of Resource Extraction
Seventy participants attended a one day workshop held in Vancouver in May 2008 that focused on the ethics of resource extraction. Details of the event are available at www.cbern.ca/about/cbern2008meeting/annualmeetingparticipantinfo/index.html. An analysis of questionnaires from the workshop and an analysis of the findings emerging from the workshop are underway. This event provided valuable networking for participants and has contributed to several initiatives currently in progress.
Business And Human Rights
Business and Human Rights is one of the themes identified in our SSHRC proposal (www.cbern.ca/about/cbernsshrcproposal/index.html). We propose to launch this theme with a conference/workshop to be held in October 2009 at York University. Discussions of the human rights responsibilities of business have received a high profile here in Canada and internationally at the level of the United Nations. The increased profile of this issue in Canada can be attributed to the work from the report of the Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries. Internationally, the increased profile has been generated first by the tabling of what has come to be called “The UN Draft Norms” and, more recently, by the reports of John Ruggie, special advisor to the Secretary General of the UN, under discussion by the UN Human Rights Council.
Although not yet confirmed, John Ruggie tentatively plans to hold a consultation on business and human rights at York University in October 2009. When John Ruggie’s plans are finalized, we will schedule our event to intersect with that consultation.
The CBERN workshop will have a special structure, which will be described in more detail on our website. Of importance to note is that all participants will be required to provide either a principal paper or a commentary on a principal paper. The invitation to participate will be extended to people doing work in this area in business, government, the voluntary sector and, of course, academia. Deadline for the submission of principal papers will be the end of June 2009.
Further details will be posted on our website at www.cbern.ca. This event will be organized by Wes Cragg, with the assistance of Aaron Dhir (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University). If you would like to participate or join the organizing committee for this event, contact Wes Cragg at email@example.com.
Business And Spirituality
One of CBERN’s goals this year is to initiate the organization of a cluster around the theme of Business and Spirituality. Research preceding the launch of CBERN indicated that this is an area in which there is significant interest and activity across Canada.
Leadership in developing a cluster focused on this theme would be welcomed. If you are interested in participating in organizing this cluster, please contact Wes Cragg (firstname.lastname@example.org) copying Breanne Whitwell (email@example.com).
Last year a group was formed to prepare a proposal in pursuit of an International Polar Year grant on Northern economic development. The working group that emerged to prepare the proposal included two First Nations CBERN partners, as well as private sector, government, voluntary sector and academic participants. The proposal (the summary is available at www.cbern.ca/research/projects/csr/ipy/index.html) was not successful. At our Vancouver meetings in May, discussion on alternative sources of funding for the proposal was initiated. Led by Ben Bradshaw (University of Guelph) the proposal is being redrafted for the SSHRC “Northern Communities: Toward Social and Economic Prosperity” cluster of grant programs.
If you are interested in participating in this cluster of projects, email Wes Cragg (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a copy to Breanne Whitwell, CBERN’s Administrative Services Coordinator (email@example.com).
Canada/Russia Networking Initiative
Connected to the theme of Northern development is a Canada/Russia Networking Initiative, which is led by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND). On Wednesday, October 22, CBERN will host a Canada/Russia Dialogue on Socially Responsible Investment. This event is being organized in cooperation with the Canada, Eurasia, Russia Business Association (CERBA) and DIAND. Discussion will be stimulated by Canadian and Russian participants. One of the items for discussion will include the exploration of the potential for collaborative Canada/Russia research on topics in business ethics.
More information about this initiative, which is focused on northern development, can be found at www.cbern.ca/research/projects/csr/canada_russia/index.html. If you would like to participate, email Wes Cragg (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a copy to Breanne Whitwell (email@example.com).
Canada/New Zealand Collaborative Research Project
Also under development is a Canada/New Zealand Collaborative Research Project. The project proposal is led by Palladam Vasudev, (Department of Commercial Law in the University of Auckland Business School). The project proposes to create a collaborative research project on Ethics in the Capital Markets: Emerging Trends and the Way Forward.
We are currently looking for Canadian collaborators for this project. For more information, email Wes Cragg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CBERN 2008 SSHRC Milestone Report
CBERN has submitted a report to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada on our activities since April 2007. The Milestone Report provides an overall view of what the CBERN plans to accomplish, how, and in what timeframe, and how we will track and measure our progress and performance. The report is available for download at: www.cbern.ca/about/history/index.html
Linking To International Networks
The IGLOO Networking Project
IGLOO is a Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) website whose purpose is to encourage and facilitate networking between and among individuals and organizations with an interest in governance innovation. At the urging of Howard Adelman, a CBERN collaborator, CBERN is participating in a working group organized by IGLOO to explore the possibility of building a Global Governance Innovation Network: “IGLOO.org”. The working group includes CIGI, GovNet (Australian Research Council Governance Research Network), GARNET Network of Excellence, UChannel (Princeton University) and HuriDocs (Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems International).
On November 19 and 20, CIGI is hosting a symposium in Waterloo, ON that will examine the merits and potential configuration of a global governance portal. The proposed portal will strive to facilitate the exploration, discovery, collaboration and innovation for change in global governance research, education and practice through the linking of existing networks and collaborative projects. Participation in the Symposium is by invitation. However, if you are interested in learning more about the project or the Symposium, visit www.cbern.ca/research/projects/governance/globalgovernance.html. If you wish to participate in the exploration and evaluation of this initiative and possibly attend the Symposium, email Wes Cragg (email@example.com) or Michael Windle (firstname.lastname@example.org), CBERN’s Website Coordinator and Administrator, who is leading this project for CBERN.
EthicsAssurance Canadian Learning Circle
A final initiative that is in its early stages and for which we are looking for participants involves EthicScan, one of CBERN’s private sector partners. EthicScan has developed “EthicsAssurance” software for use by organizations looking for tools to monitor their ethical performance, measured against standards they have set for themselves. The software is capable of tracking the “real time” performance of the organization (more information is available at www.cbern.ca/capacity/tools/prjoLgCLyIbIL.html).
David Nitkin, the founder of EthicScan, has suggested that the data generated by companies using this software might be of value to researchers. There are a number of obstacles in the way of utilizing data generated by this software including issues of confidentiality. Nonetheless, two “Learning Circles” have been created in the United States to evaluate the potential of this assurance tool for research purposes. One of those Learning Circles involves Ken Goodpaster (St. Thomas University). The other Learning Circle is being organized out of MIT.
After conversation with colleagues at York University, CBERN will participate by evaluating the potential and value of creating a Canadian Learning Circle, with the goal of assessing the potential value of this assurance tool for Canadian researchers.
Len Brooks, a CBERN co-applicant and a member of CBERN’s Management Advisory Committee and Advisory Board, has agreed to participate in this initiative. The most obvious potential value of this tool will be for those engaged in organizational ethics research. CBERN will approach a few individuals who work in this field. However, we welcome expressions of interest on the part of other participants from our network. For more information about this tool and initiative, visit www.cbern.ca/research/projects/businessethics/ethicsassurance.html. Anyone interested in participating in this evaluative initiative should contact Wes Cragg (email@example.com) or Len Brooks (Brooks@Rotman.Utoronto.Ca) with a copy to Breanne Whitwell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Business Sustainability Network
SSHRC has granted funding to the Research Network for Business Sustainability (RNBS, www.sustainabilityresearch.org), led by Tima Bansal and managed by Tom Ewart. This research network is located at the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. CBERN has been in dialogue with both Tima Bansal and Tom Ewart over a considerable period of time. Wes Cragg, CBERN Project Director, has been invited to participate in an organizational meeting of that network, which will take place early in 2009. CBERN will be looking for opportunities to join forces with RNBS on collaborative projects in the years ahead.
Ethical Digital Library To Be Launched October 2008
Globethics.net is an initiative of the International Society for Business, Ethics and Economics (ISBEE). CBERN is an ISBEE partner. Globeethics.net is a global network on ethics created with the goal of ensuring that people in all regions of the world are empowered to reflect and act on ethical issues. In order to ensure access to knowledge resources in applied ethics, Globethics.net has developed its Globethics.net Library, the leading global digital library on ethics. The library provides free access to full text articles, e-books and other sources of information. In addition Globethics.net offers an online platform for information sharing, discussion, and collaborative research. It also facilitates research into applied ethics. Through all of these activities it strives to empower persons and institutions, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin-America, to take their rightful place in global ethical reflection and action. There are already about 200 online ethics journals and magazines, and about 1.5 million documents available in the library. For more information, visit www.globethics.net.
Other CBERN Cluster Activity
CBERN SRI Cluster
We are pleased to announce that CBERN has become an organizational member of the Social Investment Organization (SIO), Canada's association for socially responsible investment and a partner in CBERN’s SRI Cluster, facilitating networking and research into socially responsible investment (SRI). As an organizational member, SIO can provide CBERN participants with the following important benefits:
- Access to the SIO professionals’ listserv, which provides news, commentary and event notices of interest to the SRI community;
- An SIO-member discount to SRI in the Rockies, www.sriintherockies.com, the leading US conference on SRI, to be held this year in Whistler BC, Oct. 26-29, 2008; and
- An SIO-member discount to the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference, www.socialinvestment.ca/event.htm, Canada's leading SRI conference, to be held this year at the Winnipeg Fort Garry Hotel, June 7-9, 2009. The conference is hosted by the SIO.
For further information, please contact Sarah Thomson, Membership and Communications Coordinator at the SIO, 416-461-6042 ext. 113, or email@example.com.
CBERN SRI Cluster Leaders, Benjamin Richardson, York University, and Tessa Hebb, Carleton University, are advancing and coordinating initiatives which arose from the April 11, 2008 CBERN SRI Workshop, held at the Schulich School of Business. CBERN is a partner in a SSRHC funded SRI initiative led by Tessa Hebb. The project is entitled: “Institutional Investors’ Corporate Engagement and Responsible Investing”.
SRI will be a dominant theme of CBERN’s annual conference which will take place in the late spring. The CBERN conference will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Administration Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC) in Niagara Falls, or the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, at Carleton University in Ottawa. A one day SRI workshop organized by Tessa Hebb, Ben Richardson and the SRI cluster will form a part of our two day conference.
Tessa Hebb is also organizing a Fall 2009 SRI workshop in collaboration with the UN Principles for Responsible Investment project. CBERN will assist with the organization of this workshop with the goal of highlighting Canadian research and researchers in this field.
Would you like to participate in the CBERN SRI Cluster? Do you have ideas for potential CBERN SRI activities? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PhD Cluster Update
Ryan Foster and Claire Woodside, PhD Cluster leaders aredrafting a letter to be sent to the PhD Cluster to review the goals and objectives of the Cluster, building on the momentum and interest that was generated by the first PhD Cluster meeting on June 1, 2008. PhD Cluster members in the Toronto area will be invited to attend a social event, taking place on October 23, 2008 at the Bedford Academy, in Toronto. An invitation and details will be circulated to the PhD Cluster within the upcoming letter.
During the course of the next few months, the PhD Cluster will plan their next meeting which is to be held at the annual CBERN conference.
If you would like to participate in the PhD Cluster or if you would like to refer a PhD student to the Cluster, please contact email@example.com.
Regional Offices And Clusters
This summer Kira Tomsons joined CBERN’s Atlantic Region Steering Committee. Kira is a newly appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Dalhousie University.
Upcoming Event - How Business Shapes the Ethical Community of Common Decency
CBERN is pleased to partner with the Arthur Irving Academy for the Environment at Acadia University in hosting a business ethics professional development weekend in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The weekend event, entitled “How Business Shapes the Ethical Community of Common Decency” is in the planning stages and is tentatively scheduled to take place in February or March 2009. The weekend will connect business ethics researchers and instructors with practitioners in the field in order to explore, from a practical perspective, businesses’ needs in terms of research and education, in order to shape the ethical community of common decency on a local level.
Attendees will participate in a poster session, visit local initiatives, engage in group discussion, and hear from local business leaders. A call for Poster proposals will be made in the coming weeks. If you would like more information on this event. email Louise Hanavan, CBERN’s Atlantic Regional Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration and more information will be available on CBERN’s Atlantic webpage soon.
Upcoming Event - The Dalhousie Business Ethics Case Competition
CBERN Atlantic is proud to be a sponsor of the Dalhousie Business Ethics Case Competition, to be held at the Citadel Halifax Hotel and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The competition, which takes place November 13th to 15th, 2008, strives to foster an environment through which undergraduate business students may broaden their knowledge and understanding of business ethics and corporate social responsibility. The event’s main goal is to expose students of all backgrounds to the ethical implications involved with everyday business decisions, and the impact these decisions have upon their environment, their community, their employees, and their shareholders. For more information on this event, visit www.dbecc.com.
Exploring the Establishment of Additional Regional Offices
Activities are underway to establish CBERN regional offices in Western Canada and Quebec. If you are interested in participating in CBERN regional offices, please contact email@example.com
Does The Network Work?
CBERN is starting to generate synergies in the world of Canadian business ethics!
One of the goals of CBERN is to help CBERN participants obtain research funding by providing resources and by leveraging CBERN’s position to generate further funding for business ethics projects. CBERN helped contribute to the awarding of a SSHRC Knowledge Impact in Society grant to Tessa Hebb of Carleton University’s Centre for Community Innovation. The project, in which CBERN Project Director Wes Cragg is a Collaborator and serves on the Steering Committee, is titled "Institutional Investors' Corporate Engagement and Responsible Investing." It is a three year grant of $100,000 per year to be matched by Carleton University. For further info, contact Tessa Hebb at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As noted in the CBERN Governance document, which was approved at the CBERN 1st Annual Meeting on May 31, there are 15 positions on the CBERN Advisory Board. Of the 12 Advisory Board Members included in CBERN’s SSHRC proposal, two have recently retired. We congratulate the Most Reverend Noel Simard, who has left the Board to take up his new positions as Titular Bishop of Novasinna and Auxiliary Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, effective October 3, 2008. Cathy Driscoll, Sobey School of Business, St. Mary’s University, is regrouping and reducing her organizational commitments. We thank both Noel Simard and Cathy Driscoll (who also served on the Steering Committee of the CBERN Atlantic Provinces Regional Office), for their valuable contributions in launching CBERN and steering us through our first 18 months. We wish them both well as they pursue new opportunities.
Five positions are now available on the Advisory Board. All CBERN participants are encouraged to make nomination suggestions, whether for themselves or others in the Network. To make a nomination, contact Bronwyn Best, CBERN Project Manager at email@example.com or visit www.cbern.ca/about/governance/index.html for updates on this process.
Network Participant News:
Transatlantic Doctoral Academy: Jan 19-24, 2009
The Transatlantic Doctoral Academy on Corporate Responsibility will bring together German and Canadian PhD students who are dealing with questions of corporate responsibility/ business ethics in their doctoral theses. The Academy is interdisciplinary-oriented and open to PhD students of all academic disciplines and from all German and Canadian universities. Eight Canadian and eight German PhD students will be selected to participate in a series of seminars within the next two years in Germany and in Canada. The deadline for application is October 30, 2008. For more information, visit www.cbern.ca/dialogue/events/evtYRtLxeNYbJ.html
Research work of Tessa Hebb Celebrated in The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada 30th Anniversary Website and Anthology
SSHRC is celebrating their 30th anniversary and had created a website and anthology that offers a sample of the research made possible by SSHRC in collaboration with their partners at universities and across the private and public sectors.
CBERN Collaborator Tessa Hebb is featured in the SSHRC website and anthology for her research work “Toward Corporate Responsibility”. Below is an excerpt from the SSHRC website:
Increasingly, those responsible for large Canadian pension funds are turning to Tessa Hebb’s expertise to ensure their investments flourish. Hebb, director of the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, received the William E. Taylor fellowship in 2003 as the top doctoral candidate of that year. Her work? To research how pension funds interact with—and influence—the corporations in which they invest.
To read the complete research profile featured on the SSHRC website, visit http://www.sshrc.ca/30years/research/story.aspx?id=121
New Book Published by CBERN Collaborator Tessa Hebb “No Small Change: Pension Funds and Corporate Engagement”
In “No Small Change”, Tessa Hebb examines the ability of pension funds, now the largest single driver of financial markets around the world, to use their ownership position to change corporate practices for the sake of the bottom line and, perhaps, change the world for the better in the process. At its best, Hebb finds, corporate engagement offers a long-term view of value that both promotes higher ESG standards and adds share value, thus providing long-term benefits to future pension beneficiaries. At its worst it may divert the attention of pension fund officials from their primary responsibility of ensuring the retirement benefits of their members. This book weighs the influence of corporate engagement on firms in an effort to see how the potential from this newly emerging force is being realized.