Globally, business is being viewed as a major cause of the social, environmental and economic problems plaguing our societies. Consequently, there have been intense calls from a wide-range of stakeholders for corporations to be more responsible in their decisions and so contribute positively in the world's quest for a sustainable future.
Regionally, this call for more responsible corporations has also become an increasingly prominent feature in our corporate landscape. It is in this context that the Business School established the Centre for Corporate Responsibility (CR) in 2009.
The overarching purpose of the Centre for CR is to promote responsibility as a key policy among corporations for achieving profitability, growth and sustainability and in turn maximize stakeholder benefits in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. Through its research activities, the Centre intends to create relevant knowledge that will inform managers, organisations, government and the academic community on the understanding and practice of corporate responsibility as a management strategy.
The work of the Centre will result in the production of peer reviewed journal articles, conferences, case studies, teaching materials and tool kits. The Centre is currently conducting research on the following areas:
- Corporate Governance as it relates to Family Businesses
- Developing Measures for Corporate Social Performance in Trinidad and Tobago
- Effective Stakeholder Engagement and Partnerships.
Future projects include:
- Developing an English Version of an Online Corporate Responsibility Course in collaboration with the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) which is based on the Multilateral Development Fund CSR Learning Guide produced in 2009.
- "Improving Corporate Governance in Trinidad and Tobago." This project will be funded by the Multilateral Development Fund and will be done in collaboration with the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute. This project will increase the level of transparency and enhance corporate governance practices in public interest enterprises.
Faculty involved in the Centre:
Dr. Ron Sookram, Director
Mr. Balraj Kistow
Lecturer in Finance and International Business
Professor Surendra Arjoon
Head, Department of Management Studies, Faculty of Social
Sciences, UWI, St. Augustine
On 16 April 2010, the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago and the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for greater cooperation in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
A collaborative initiative between the Energy Chamber and the Centre for Corporate Responsibility aimed at engaging all key Stakeholders in building a common platform for the development of a national CR agenda. The intent of the Stakeholder sessions is to provide a window to a systematic approach towards CR which will in turn ensure greater impact on business and society. With effective coordination, we believe that CR can be used to tackle some of the issues that are of national concern.
These Stakeholder Dialogue sessions are held at least once a quarter. The first of these was held on 16 April 2010. Attending were representatives from large companies within the upstream and downstream Energy Sector, Academia, multilateral organisations such as the UNDP and IADB, financial organisations, small businesses and NGOs such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Water for Life, HIV AIDS Alliance, Transparency Institute and the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society.
Dairy Industry in Trinidad and Tobago: Lessons in Stakeholder Engagement and Partnerships (Balraj Kistow & Ron Sookram)
The Taxi Service Initiative: bpTT and Local Sustainability
(Ron Sookram & Cindy Heeralal)
Deco-lite Concrete Products: Issues of Corporate Governance in a Small Family Business
(Ron Sookram & Balraj Kistow)
Corporate Social Responsibility in Trinidad and Tobago: Trends and Challenges
Developing Measures for Corporate Social Performance in Trinidad & Tobago
(Surendra Arjoon & Sookram)
Un Principles for Responsible Management
In 2008 the Lok Jack GSB became a signatory to the UN's Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) forum and has since been promoting and implementing these principles across all our academic activities and programmes.
The School was actually involved in the drafting of the PRME and is still the only institution in the English Speaking Caribbean that is a member of this global initiative. As part of the PRME Forum, the School is reports on it progress in implementing and promoting these principles.
As institutions of higher education involved in the development of current and future managers we declare our willingness to progress in the implementation, within our institution, of the following Principles, starting with those that are more relevant to our capacities and mission. We will report on progress to all our stakeholders and exchange effective practices related to these principles with other academic institutions:
Purpose: We will develop the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.
Values: We will incorporate into our academic activities and curricula the values of global social responsibility as portrayed in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact.
Method: We will create educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.
Research: We will engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances our understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.
Partnership: We will interact with managers of business corporations to extend our knowledge of their challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.
Dialogue: We will facilitate and support dialog and debate among educators, business, government, consumers, media, civil society organizations and other interested groups and stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.
We understand that our own organisational practices should serve as example of the values and attitudes we convey to our students.
For further information visit the PRIME website.