New students focus on responsibility from day one
Mary, HRH Crown Princesse of Denmark, at CBS Responsibility Day 2017
Photo: Jørn Albertus
"Do you know what is going to happen?"
"No, but it has something to do with responsibility?"
This is a brief exchange of words between two women at the Tivoli Congress Center lobby. Two out of a total of 2930 new bachelor students, who have been invited to attend the Responsibility Day on their first day as a university student at CBS. During the next 6 hours they are going to learn much more about what responsibility means in a business context.
This is the 9th Responsibility Day. The event is so well-attended that it has out-grown CBS' own auditoriums and Falkonersalen. The aim of the day is to make the students aware of the active part they play in making responsible decisions from day one, regardless of their education background.
President Per Holten-Andersen is one of the first speakers. He calls the crowd "a lucky bunch of bachelor students", because they have been chosen to study at CBS out of more than 13,000 applicants. For him this day is very special:
"At the end of your studies you will be some of the post privileged people. These privileges come with a lot of obligations that reach beyond yourself both nationally and globally.
Business must be in the service of society, business must be responsible and not just for your own profit. You need to start developing your own understanding and definition of responsibility. This process begins exactly today, on day one, and continues throughout your entire education where our purpose is to develop responsible business leaders", says Per Holten-Andersen, President of CBS.
As a few examples of responsibility, Per Holten-Andersen mentions welfare, sustainability, equality, diversity, transparency, ethics and anti-corruption.
Visit from HRH Crown Princess Mary
When the Danish weekly magazine Billed-Bladet is present, there is a high probability that the Danish Royal House is represented. HRH Crown Princess Mary was invited to give her point of view on how students can act responsibly. She is a passionate proponent of sustainability, health, gender equality and empowerment of women. Mary has no doubt that the room is packed with talent and ambition.
"Youth has a central role to play in achieving sustainable development. You have a duty to challenge the status quo and the strategies of today’s leaders. And there is no doubt that what you have to offer is needed. All of you represent an enormous potential, a potential that can contribute to meeting the challenges of today and making the most of new opportunities for the benefit of us all," she says.
As the patron of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, she has input for questions the students should ask when they later in the day are going to solve a business case for a fashion company.
Assignment: weave responsibility into the fashion industry
The business case asks the students to solve an assignment with focus on responsibility. Already on the first day of their studies, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) must be demystified. The case is presented by Jonas Eder-Hansen, CBS alumnus and Chief Content Officer at the Danish Fashion Institute. To exemplify that the fashion industry needs CSR strategies, Jonas Eder-Hansen mentions that it takes 2.000 litres of water to manufacture one cotton t-shirt. He also refers to the scandal in Bangladesh in 2013, where a factory collapsed with fatal outcome.
”This became a huge issue for the fashion industry. Was it too late? Yes”, says Jonas Eder-Hansen.
The case is titled “Yab Yum Clothing Company: Weaving Responsibility into Business”. As the finale happening of the day the students will make a responsible strategy for the fashion company, who does not have a strategy yet.
Watch a video from Responsibility Day 2017 in Billed-Bladet
CBS is ranked 4th in the world (2016) by FN Global Impact's “Better World Business Schools Ranking”. Global Compact is a UN initiative that defines ten general principles for corporate social responsibility.
Read more about FN’s Global Impact
Responsibility Day is organised by CBS PRME.
Read more about CBS PRME