You are here

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Paper Awards

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Paper Awards

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Sustainability paper awardsare available to Columbia MBA students who are interested in researchwork connected to specific U.S. or international companies ororganizations. Projects with consulting firms are also eligible.Students may submit papers which are also eligible for course credit,or connected to independent studies, internships or other paid/unpaidemployment prior to graduation. This research work should result in arigorous paper which focuses on and analyzes a topic related to CSR,sustainability, corporate citizenship, or social impact managementissues.

Paper topics may cover areas including, but not limited to: community involvement, environment, business ethics and governance, labor and workplace practices, sustainability in product development, cause related marketing, international expansion in emerging markets, and partnerships and alliances with nonprofit and public organizations.

These awards are provided to students who write papers which:

  • Highlight and analyze innovative approaches and practices being considered or used by companies or nonprofit/public sector organizations;
  • Examine the impact of these issues in functional areas (such as finance, marketing, strategic planning, operations etc) within or with relevant organizations; and
  • Address, and in some cases quantify, the relationship between financial and social/environmental objectives of the company, organization or relevant stakeholder groups.

Selection is based on the quality of insight and analysis on the following questions:

  • What were the innovative approaches and practices being considered or used by the organization?
  • What impact did CSR and sustainability issues have on various business units/departments/ functional areas within the organization, and on profitability or financial sustainability of the relevant organization?
  • What is the link to community benefits achieved by the organization and/or the project?
  • How does the organization evaluate and/or measure its activities and social/environmental impact?

Further information and guidelines for the CSR & Sustainability paper awards are available here (pdf), and download the one page cover sheet (doc).

Award winners for 2006:

Laura Clancy '07 worked with kasina, a mid-sized B2B consulting firm. Her paper "Doing All the Right Things: kasina and the kasina Youth Foundation" evaluates the firms' efforts to develop a philanthropy and volunteer strategy, and the lessons for other small and medium enterprises.

Beth Robinowitz '07 worked at the Biomimicry Guild, an innovation consultancy. Her paper "Biomimicry: An Approach to Innovative and Sustainable Design" explores how the Biomimicry Guild translates scientific knowledge of natural design principles and processes into R&D and marketing innovations for their clients.

Laura Haverland '06 interned at Wild Oats Markets Inc. Her paper "'Corn-tainers': How Wild Oats Markets set a new standard in retailing and helped build the U.S. market for bioplastics", examines the business factors and issues that were considered by the supermarket chain in switching to a packaging product made from a renewable resource.

Sachin Purekar EMBA'06 previously worked for Oracle Corporation. His paper "Oracle's Education Initiatives: Technology Proliferation through Global Collaborative Learning" focuses on Oracle's initiatives that aim to bring positive change through investments in math, science, technology programs that target low-income communities and encourage the gifted innovators of tomorrow.

Award winners for 2005:

Jaya Balasubramaniam '06 examined Deutsche Bank's use of microfinance for corporate social responsibility and international development. Her paper, "Deutsche Bank Microcredit Development Fund: Deutsche Bank’s Sustainable CSR Strategy" investigates how the firm is working to expand funds available to microfinance institutions (MFIs), providing sustainable sources of funds by guaranteeing relationships between MFIs and local banks, and building connections with intermediary NGOs in the sector.

Milen Marinov MBA/MPP '06 interned with Lehman Brothers in London. His paper, "Corporate Social Giving at Lehman Europe: Issues and Challenges of Building a Corporate Philanthropy Group" considers cross-cultural issues and the impact of cultural attitudes towards aligning philanthropy initiatives across a global firm.

Aparna Mukherjee '06 interned at the Alexander Abraham Foundation. Her paper "Economic Development among the Elephants: Building a new Eco-tourism model in Sri Lanka", examines the organizational challenges of establishing a sustainable for-profit enterprise while balancing a nonprofit organization's stakeholder interests with political and cultural tensions.

Gabriela Barufi '06 examined BP plc. Her paper, "A Responsible Approach to the Supply Chain: Supporting the Local Enterprise" discusses how a multinational corporation contributes to economic development by investing in local capacity building, an approach that can generate long-lasting benefits to developing countries.

Bethany Hale '06 interned at Samsung Electronics. Her paper, "Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope: Fostering Partnerships with Nonprofits, Retailers and Celebrities to Improve Brand Image and Sales while benefiting the Community" examines the motivation and challenges in evaluating cause marketing programs.

Sabrina Huff '06 interned with Altura Capital. Her paper, “Emerging Manager Programs: A Sustainable Model for the Growth and Development of Minority and Women-Owned Investment Management Firms” considers the trend of double-bottom line investing in this field and its implications for the returns on investment portfolios of large institutional investors.

Award winners for 2004:

Zev Greenfield '05 interned at Citigroup. His paper, "The Equator Principles: A New Industry framework for environmental and social standards in global project finance lending", examines the adoption of these principles by the financial sector and the issues that arise from development projects for the company and the community.
Read more about his experience, and download the paper (.pdf).

Stephanie Sewell King MBA/MIA '06 interned with The Bank of New York (BNY). Her paper, "Financial Services for Endowments, Foundations and Nonprofits", examines the unique financial needs of social sector organizations, and the role of the credit analysis process and credit ratings as a significant driver of BNYÍs decision to offer products and services to these organizations.

Sireesha Katragadda '05 worked with United Technologies Corporation. Her paper, "Marketing Corporate Social Responsibility", discusses the use of marketing and benchmarking of the companyÍs social responsibility activities to attract and retain employees and customers.

Cate Han '05 interned with Differential Dynamics, a start-up technology company with patents for a fuel-efficient transmission that reduces greenhouse emissions. Her paper, co-written with Ben Monnie '05, "Driving Social Innovation in the Automotive and Equipment Industry" examines the social impact of the company's technology as well as the conditions necessary to achieve systemic change in these industries.

Sign Up for Updates

Keep up to date with what's happening by signing up to our quarterly newsletter and joining the Spark Mailing List.

SEP NEWSLETTER > SPARK MAILING LIST>

Program Brochure

View the Social Enterprise Program brochure, Empowering Leaders to Change the World

Download