Sébastien Mena focuses on the role of business in "wicked" social problems
He says corporate responsibility starts with understanding how we collectively remember and forget our past mistakes.
Hertie School Professor of Organization and Governance Sébastien Mena had only been in Berlin a few months when the German government agreed on a new law to make companies responsible for human rights violations or environmental issues in their supply chains.
If the German parliament passes the law later this year, companies would have to take action against foreign suppliers that violate such rights, or they will risk large fines starting in 2023. How businesses might mitigate some of the problems that stem from doing business – like social and environmental harms – is exactly Mena’s area of expertise.
“Essentially, I am interested in the role of business in problems like poor working conditions in supply chains or environmental issues like plastic pollution …. the kinds of things that are created by global economic activities,” says Mena. “Even though business organisations are now trying to do some good through corporate social responsibility initiatives, they also simply have huge social and environmental impacts.”
“I use an organisational sociology lens,” Mena explains, to examine how firms interact with civil society in areas like shareholder activism, sustainability programmes in developing countries and sustainable banking.
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This article was originally published on https://www.hertie-school.org.