On 9-10 October, BU staff helped organise the 3rd international Conference on Social Responsibility, Ethics and Sustainable Business (aka ICSR), at Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations in Barcelona. Previous conferences – led by CMC’s Georgiana Grigore with help from CMC colleagues – have been held in Romania in 2012 and Bournemouth in 2013.
CSR and business ethics remains high on the agenda: the conference attracted 76 delegates from 23 countries, delivering 70 papers. We started the conference in style at a wine tasting event, held in central Barcelona. For your benefit, your correspondent made copious mental notes about the various wines on show; their nose, their balance, their body, their finish and so on, but sadly forgot almost everything other than they tasted good and were Spanish. Maybe he tasted too much wine that night…
Anyway, the morning after the conference was opened by a keynote by Professor Josep Rota (University of Iowa), who spoke about communication and development.
We then broke out for panel sessions for the rest of the day, before convening for a keynote delivered by Ana Palencia, Communications Director for Unilever Spain. Her talk showcased the various CSR initiatives Unilever is pursuing in Spain with the aim of achieving ‘sustainable growth’.
The first day was finished at the spectacular San Pau Hospital, where the gala dinner was held. We were pleased to learn that they did not serve hospital food: at least not British style.
The second day was kicked off by a keynote by non-other than BU’s Professor Tom Watson. His critique of both the theory and practice of CSR was finished by the proposal of a CSR checklist for practitioners to build into their practice.
After a day of parallel sessions and a keynote by Professor Luis Franco (University of Barcelona), delegates were taken on a bus tour of Barcelona, stopping for a tour of the Miro Foundation and Olympic Mountain. The day was closed by some much needed ‘networking’ over sangria and tapas.
BU staff were prominent throughout the 2014 conference as Chair (Georgiana Grigore) and on the organising committee (Tasos Theofilou and Dan Jackson). The ISCR network is growing in numbers, influence and confidence. The conference organisers are currently evaluating offers to host next years’ conference from South America, India and Europe. The best papers from the Barcelona conference will be published in a special issue of Tripodos.