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NEW YORK – The Chazen Institute for Global Business convened leading executives and scholars on April 12 for a half-day, virtual forum. The 2nd Annual Global Business Forum explored how the purpose of a corporation is changing in the wake of a global pandemic, workforce reassessment, social justice movements, and war. The event, now available on demand, surfaced profound insights on these pressing issues confronting the world today.
What is the business case for solving global problems?
In a keynote interview with Modupe Akinola, Chazen Senior Scholar at Columbia Business School, Shazi Visram, Founder, Happy Family and Founder and CEO, Healthybaby, presented a case study on how a business can become a market leader while democratizing health and wellness for children. “It requires the will from a corporation, not just for financial motivation, to do good for the societies in which they operate. Happy Family started as premium, organic baby food. But every baby deserves to be a happy baby. As we grew, we created a format that could become WIC-approved. Then, we took it state-by-state to lobby for WIC-approval. Now, Happy Family serves 67% of the WIC market in the United States and is available in many different countries around the world.”
How will the purpose of the corporation change with the global marketplace?
In a two-part discussion moderated by Robert Smith, Director, Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism, global business leaders Rahul Kanodia, Laurent Ganem, Patricia Moraes, and Fred Hu explained how they’re navigating the challenges and opportunities posed by a world that seems more uncertain day by day. Rahul Kanodia, Vice Chairman and CEO, Datamatics Global Services Ltd remarked: “Today, the organization has to be far more nimble, far more dynamic and agile in adapting to the current situation in the market.” This sentiment was echoed by Fred Hu, Founder and Chairman, Primavera Capital: “In the end, it’s not necessarily the strongest or the fastest. It’ll be the most adaptable that will win.”
Can corporations really do well by doing good?
Moderated by Alan Murray, CEO, Fortune Media, two leading experts in the ESG movement examined the different responsibilities of today’s corporation and how they’re performing, for shareholders and stakeholders. Shiva Rajgopal, Chazen Senior Scholar at Columbia Business School, posits that it will be consumers and next-generation leaders who will ultimately force companies to change, not regulators. “If stakeholder capitalism is a way to try to solve a problem, then I’m all for it,” adds Aniket Shah, Managing Director and Global Head of ESG and Sustainability Research, Jefferies Group LLC. “But if stakeholder capitalism does what it is doing right now – confusing the role of the state vs. the role of the markets – I think it could actually set us back.”
What is at stake in the global contest for control over the digital economy?
The Washington Post’s Yun-Hee Kim interviewed Anu Bradford, Professor at Columbia Law School and Chazen Senior Scholar at Columbia Business School, about the ongoing battle between governments and big tech. “It is indeed a big year in Brussels. The EU is taking the lead globally in regulating big tech to unlock competition in the marketplace.” Bradford expects a contentious battle ahead between the EU’s rights-driven, China’s state-driven and the US’s market-driven regulatory models but predicts that the American model will lose.
How do business schools meet changing demands from the business world and society at large?
Glenn Hubbard, Chazen Institute Faculty Director, Dean Emeritus and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, sat down with Costis Maglaras, Dean at Columbia Business School, to discuss the School’s role in solving global problems. Dean Maglaras said “it’s our responsibility as thought leaders to research these problems and engage with business leaders and policymakers to educate the debate.” Maglaras continued: “I believe the solution to climate change will come from corporations, where many of our alumni currently are and our students will soon be.”
Watch the full event on-demand here.
To learn more about the latest scholarship from the Chazen Institute on how business and society intersect, please visit gsb.columbia.edu/chazen.
About The Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business
The Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business is the interdisciplinary hub of global business knowledge at Columbia Business School. By injecting a global viewpoint into coursework, supporting research on global business, and sponsoring provocative forums where business leaders and policymakers engage in vigorous debate, we pool the vast wealth of knowledge that exists within Columbia Business School, distill it for people who operate in the world’s marketplace, and provide a global network for lifelong learning.