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Leading Scholars Convene at UAlbany to Analyze Green Management Practices

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UAlbany School of Business Conference on "Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability" Sept. 25-26

August 17, 2009

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Chevrolet Volt Plug In

With the new Chevy Volt plug-in car, GM is looking to turn this environmentally-friendly vehicle into a profit-making machine. Melding social responsibility with sound corporate strategy is at the heart of a UAlbany conference Sept. 25-26, organized by the School of Business.

For General Motors, the number 230 holds great significance. Itís at the heart of their marketing strategy for the new Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in electric car, expected to get 230 miles per gallon in city driving. The task for GM is to turn this environmentally-friendly vehicle into a profit-making machine. This concept is at the heart of School of Business Dean Donald Siegelís research on the consequences for businesses engaged in corporate social responsibility.

"Firms are encountering strong pressure from consumers, employees, suppliers, community groups, government, and shareholders to be socially responsible," said Siegel. "But firms also have an obligation to generate a profit, by implementing sound business practices. The key is to adopt environmental practices that complement the firm's business and corporate-level strategies."

Dean Siegel has organized a major academic conference (with Marc Orlitzky of Penn State University and David Waldman of Arizona State University) on "Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability," which will be held on September 25-26, 2009 at UAlbany.  The purpose of the conference is to produce a special issue of Business & Society, the leading academic journal in the field of ethics and social responsibility.  It will convene experts from leading academic institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Duke, Harvard, Rice, Penn State, Arizona State, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the University of Michigan.

Siegel recently published a provocative article in the August issue of Academy of Management Perspectives, "Green Management Matters Only if it Yields More Green: An Economic/Strategic Perspective."

UAlbany School of Business Dean Donald Siegel

UAlbany School of Business Dean Donald Siegel is organizing a conference on corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

"Managers face many difficult choices in terms of green management," said Siegel. "My recent research suggests that firms are engaging in 'strategic' environmental social responsibility, in the pursuit of profit.  Multinational corporations, such as Wal-Mart and BP, have found ways to reduce their carbon footprint, while simultaneously enhancing their profitability."

James Walsh, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Gerald and Esther Carey Professor of Management at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, will deliver the keynote address at the conference.  Walsh, a University at Albany graduate (1975), is the incoming president of the Academy of Management, the premier association of management scholars, with over 19,000 members from 108 nations.

Siegel has written numerous articles on the antecedents and consequences of corporate social responsibility in leading academic journals, such as Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Perspectives, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, and Journal of Management Studies.   He also recently served as an editor of the Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility. Siegel was also appointed by Governor David A. Paterson to the newly-created New York Small Business Task Force, and was re-appointed to serve on the National Academy of Sciences Committee evaluating the Small Business Innovation Research Program.

"It isnít just large, multinational firms that face pressure to develop green strategies," said Siegel. "Small businesses also need to determine how to incorporate environmentally responsible activities into their business strategies."

At the conference, UAlbany School of Business associate professor Paul Miesing will present a research paper based on evidence collected from the 'Going Green Globally' sustainability module in the Schoolís MBA program, where graduate students evaluate sustainability strategies and opportunities for companies both small and large. The G3 program places MBA students in real-world situations where they can help companies implement innovative sustainability strategies, while simultaneously improving organizational performance.

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