Ivy Tech School of Business faculty member travels to Scandinavia for tour on social responsibility and sustainability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2014

BLOOMINGTON – Jim Heinzen, Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington’s Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Business Administration, participated in a two-week conference, held June 9 through June 20 in Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden. The conference was a program of the University of Minnesota’s Professional Development in International Business, focused on sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices in Scandinavia. This opportunity was made possible by a partnership between the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington’s School of Business.

In addition to lectures and discussions on the topic of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, the program also included visits to Ericsson, H&M, Scandic Hotels, Maersk, and IKEA to learn more about their CSR and sustainability practices. Heinzen says that all of the companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders.

“All of the companies we visited had strong CSR and sustainability programs, but two of the companies that U.S. residents might be most familiar were H&M and IKEA,” Heinzen said. “According to the chief sustainability officers at both H&M and IKEA, the companies have aligned their business operations with the principles of the United Nations Global Compact concerning human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Both companies do not accept child labor as a practice by their suppliers.”

The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.

Heinzen plans to apply knowledge gained from the conference into the Ivy Tech-Bloomington School of Business curriculum, and into campus sustainability initiatives.

“It was an eye-opening experience to hear first-hand what is happening in the rest of the world regarding production, and in some cases, its effects on the environment and human rights,” Heinzen said. “With the guidance of the UN Global Compact and other partners such as non-governmental organizations like Save the Children and the World Wildlife Fund, companies have made progress in these areas. However, because of the complexity of the manufacturing supply chain and the sourcing of materials, it can be difficult to know from where a piece of apparel came, or exactly under what conditions it was made. Looking for certification labels, such as those from the Fair Trade Certified Apparel and Home Goods program, can help American consumers make more socially and environmentally conscious purchases.”

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