IMD International

CSL Learning Platform Roundtable

The company in society: Evolving a new role?

  The company in Society Evolving a new role

If the role of business in society has not yet hit your company's strategic agenda, it inevitably will and – we hasten to add – sooner rather than later. Why? Because globalization is intensifying the pressures behind social and environmental concerns. As a result, businesses need to continuously invest in their relationships with society and account for their use of natural and human resources to justify their licenses to operate. Those companies that do not – simply – will have no future in tomorrow's world.

Often in the discussions about corporate roles, the operational activities of companies are the focus. However, this ignores the whole societal context within which they operate. Major trends are at play in globalization: disruption of social traditions and norms, diminishing natural resources, formidable changes in the media environment, diminishing trust in both companies and governments. So, while the social context has changed to one which that is more uncertain, ambiguous and volatile than ever before, competitiveness has also increased. This has made the short-term focus of many executives even more prevalent, which jars with the longer-term focus we need for a sustainable world.

Essentially, if a rethink does not happen, and companies do not manage the role their business plays in society more holistically, others will step in to manage this for them at the expense of reputation, innovation opportunities, organizational renewal and competitiveness.

At this cutting-edge one-and-a-half-day roundtable, we will:

  • Look at the learning of our partner companies as they focus on strategies to integrate as holistically as possible with society.
  • Learn from IMD's research on communicating corporate purpose to understand the dimensions of an authentic and credible corporate purpose.
  • Explore the stakeholder context with contributions from IMD professors, other academics and the Peace Nexus Foundation, an organization that is focused on helping companies build a stronger role in fragile and conflict-ridden societies.
  • Talk about the tools to manage a more complex stakeholder environment.
  • Learn from companies that struggle with their license to operate in highly complex environments, e.g. Shell in the Niger Delta or textile companies in Asia.

During the roundtable, you will have an opportunity to not only contribute to IMD's thought leadership and that of its partners but also take some valuable learning back to your company.

In collaboration with

Nestlé, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, DuPont, Firmenich and other members of IMD's CSL Learning Platform have been asked to bring the best of their knowledge and learning about their relationships with society and share it with the other companies and organizations at the roundtable.


This event is free of charge

Date and venue

October 6-7, 2014
IMD Lausanne, Switzerland


See agenda here


Kay Richiger
CSL Learning Platform Coordinator
+41 21 618 0612


The Company in Society: Evolving a new role?
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