The International Relations Committee of Jaipuria, Noida took its international outreach series program a step further by inviting noted academician Dr. Kristine Brands to deliver a talk on “Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility”. Professor Brands is an Associate Professor of Accounting at Regis University’s College of Business and Economics in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the U.S. In this talk, she drew upon her experiences to impart some wisdom on the social responsibilities that corporations and businesses must embrace.
The talk gained in significance as it coincided with the World Climate talks held in Paris that were attended by representatives from 180 countries, putting the spotlight firmly on the topic of Sustainability. Dr. Brands was the ideal person for the talk because of her extensive experience and research interests in sustainability and CSR, IFRS, and XBRL and interactive data. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Management Accounting.
It was our honour and privilege to have her amongst us and she was given a warm welcome, with Dr. Anurag Singh introducing her to the audience. Dr. Brands then captured our imagination with her informative talk that began with her telling the audience how she began with her research on the subject. It was interesting to see her share a picture of her friend who got her interested in agro-research. It helped her build an instant connect with the audience.
Dr. Brands then moved on to talk about Sustainability and the burning issues faced by the world, from rising pollution levels in Shanghai to carbon footprint, wildfire problems in the west and the increased risk of skin cancer among those with lighter skin. She also shed light on issues like the depleting population of polar bears and melting ice caps. We immediately realized the grave situation we are in and the environmental concerns we should have.
She drove her point home by saying, “We are at the crossroads of sustainability and profits, or economic survival. The problem is that sustainability issues are the ones that are dropped easily.” Dr. Brands then mentioned her wish list for an International Sustainability panel that included names like Pope Francis, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg and François Hollande. It was an interesting list that definitely got us thinking.
To end her session, Dr. Brands had useful suggestions for all of us: “You can do various things to reduce your carbon footprint: get an electric car, or any other ideas that you can come up with. At the moment, there are accounting frameworks that are established for sustainability but they are going in all directions.” Dr. Deepak Singh, who offered the Vote of Thanks, made a thoughtful final point where he said that India and the U.S. should work together and bring about changes and raise awareness amongst people at a young age. I feel the session was successful to a large extent in that regard.
Student Contributor: Sohini Guha Roy, PGDM ,2015-17