Strategies for Sustainable Human Development
This conference is designed to explore the intersection of firm strategy, ESG, and human capital from both an academic as well as practice perspective. The timing of this conference marks the five-year anniversary of the Business Roundtable, an association of top CEOs, in Washington, D.C. that formed a commitment to track ESG efforts in business. As we reflect on this movement to redefine success from financial shareholder primacy to a broader stakeholder perspective, we consider the progress with this call to address ESG in concert with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, the UN SDGs are now used by hundreds of multinational companies to drive their ESG strategies.
Scholars and practitioners are increasingly focused on the environmental and especially the social performance of firms, and have developed new models, metrics, and performance indicators to chart this progress. They have explored the value and impact of ESG strategies for a wide range of stakeholders, including employees, investors, and communities. At the same time, questions have arisen about the authenticity and impact of these strategies, and whether economic, social and environmental goals are mutually compatible. Yet, firms continue to rely on the development and availability of human capital as resource for competitive advantage around the world.
As firms work to address sustainability broadly, the human dimension proves to be fraught with challenges due to societal trends, political agendas, workforce challenges, labor constraints, and global operations. Firms must manage a myriad of internal and external stakeholders, including consumers, suppliers, and broader communities. The human capital of a firm – whether embedded in the firm itself or part of a larger, globally dispersed supply chain – provides a critical intersection with the social actions of the firm. Beyond their immediate competitive concerns, firms are increasingly taking public positions on social issues, engaging and collaborating with NGOs, and leveraging their resources for social or humanitarian causes. Hence the focus on this conference and the theme: “Strategies for Sustainable Human Development,” as we consider internal human capital, external stakeholders, and society at large.
To advance this agenda, the conference will feature three tracks that focus, respectively, on Contributing to Societal Health and Community Well-being, Managing Firm Human Capital Sustainably, and Enabling Educational Institutions and Equitable Opportunity. These tracks reflect many of the critical issues and questions associated with strategies for human development and allow for the examination of specific topics that comprise the challenges of realizing a more sustainable future.
Conference Program Chairs:
- Jonathan Doh, Villanova University
- DK Kryscynski, Rutgers University
- Richard Smith, Johns Hopkins University
- Heli Wang, Singapore Management University
The conference will be hosted by Johns Hopkins University in the new Washington, D.C. location at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue. Johns Hopkins is pleased to serve as host for this special SMS conference in this new university owned and operated facility.