Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context 2-day Conference
The Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context Conference took place at CBS on 10-11 June 2013. Assistant Professor at cbsCSR Robert Strand and student assistant Ellen Eide organized the international event in which 125 participants took part from across academia, industry, government, and NGOs and coming from across Europe and North America and beyond. Among the invited keynote speakers were Professor R. Edward Freeman from University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Claus Meyer of noma and New Nordic Cuisine fame, IKEA Senior Sustainability Advisor Marianne Barner, Novo Nordisk Vice President of Corporate Sustainability Susanne Stormer, Professor Jeremy Moon from Nottingham University Business School, and Professor Atle Midttun from BI Norwegian Business School.
The purpose of the conference was to bring academics and practitioners together from around the world to consider sustainability in a Scandinavian context and the potential development a research paradigm dedicated to exploring sustainability in a Scandinavian context – and to consider the potential implications for a broader global context.
The President of CBS, Per Holten-Andersen
welcomed the participants and in good humor made sure to mention all the American Universities attending, which took quite a while because of their large representation. After this Mads Øvlisen, Chairman of the UN Global Compact’s Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability and former CEO and Chairman of Novo Nordisk gave the participants their first take of the day on Scandinavian sustainability from a Scandinavians perspective by elaborating on cultural considerations found within a Scandinavian context. Robert Strand rounded out the discussions by offering an overview of various perspectives for why considering sustainability in a Scandinavian context is a worthy pursuit. Robert highlighted that Scandinavian companies are disproportionately well-represented amongst the leading sustainability indices and that Scandinavian countries top the maco-country level sustainability performance metrics. He also highlighted the concept of a “Scandinavian cooperative advantage” that he and Professor Ed Freeman are developing that refers to “the general tendency for companies in a Scandinavian context to implement a value creating strategy based on cooperating with their stakeholders that results in superior value creation for the companies and their stakeholders.”
Professor Ed Freeman spoke about stakeholder theory
The first formal lecture of the day was given by the “father of stakeholder theory” Professor Ed Freeman who spoke about stakeholder theory, Scandinavia and sustainability. Freeman offered that corporations, instead of working to avoid conflicts, should be working to reap the benefits that comes when stakeholders work together to expand their “jointness of interests.” Freeman also promoted the idea that corporations should shift their strategic focus from attempting to achieve a competitive advantage toward that of achieving a “cooperative advantage” by citing the work of cbsCSR assistant professor Robert Strand. A panel discussion with Professor Mette Morsing from CBS and Atle Midttun from BI in Norway followed that generated a lively debate with the audience.
Marianne Barner, Senior Sustainability Advisor at IKEA
then took the stage and spoke about how she experienced her beginning in IKEA in the 1990s and how IKEA first began to engage with the tremendously challenging issues surrounding child labor. She stated that in the 90s there were 250 million children workers throughout the world, and where the figure today is only a modest reduction on that figure, whereby she called on those present to keep working to fight child labor.
Panel session with reflections by Susanne Stormer
After lunch, a session followed on perspectives from leading global sustainability Centers & Institutes with a panel consisting of Lewis Gilbert, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer with the Institute on the Environment at University of Minnesota; Professor Mette Morsing, co-director of the CBS Sustainability Platform; and Erika Herz, Associate Director, Sustainability Programs at University of Virginia Darden School of Business. The session concluded with reflections by Susanne Stormer and audience questions and answer.
Nordic perspectives on CSR an Sustainability by Midttun and Moon
The first day of the conference concluded with lectures by Atle Midttun and Jeremy Moon from Nottingham University Business School in which Atle Midttun offered his Nordic perspectives on CSR and Sustainability and Jeremy Moon spoke about the comparative governmental policies on Sustainability & CSR in Scandinavia.
Skuespilhuset - Restaurent Ofelia
In order to best process all the knowledge offered by the presenters at the first day of the conference an informal reception ended the day at CBS before the participants departed for the Restaurant Ofelia with a lovely view of the Opera house of Copenhagen to accompany the dinner.
The first part of the second day of the conference consisted of three different tracks where some of the participants presented their current work and received feedback from the audience. This worked really well and the presenting scholars got some invaluable inputs to their research.
After lunch the PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) signatories in Scandinavia met to establish a Nordic Chapter of PRME. Other participants of the conference also joined in and this led to many good ideas on how best to establish and maintain a strong cooperation between the Nordic PRME signatory schools.
Claus Meyer and the New Nordic Cuisine Movement
To end the conference, Claus Meyer of Noma and Meyer’s Deli offered the audience a lively overview of the progression of the New Nordic Cuisine Movement and corresponding growth and world-wide recognition of his famous restaurant, noma. He also spoke of the current social work done by him and his melting pot foundation in Bolivia. To cap it all off, he treated the audience to a reception where he served specialties from the Nordic cuisine.
This ended the 2-day conference on Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context which was such a success that it will be a recurring event to be held every second year.