“Beyond ESG” Event at the Royal Academy
This exciting event brought together 17 international experts to discuss the role of the firm in a sustainable transition. The three panels were divided into three concrete topics. Panel 1 discussed ESG-analysis from a critical perspective of sustainable transition; Panel 2 dicussed the need to move from ESG to “ECG”, an economy for the common good; Panel 3 discussed the relationship between technology and society, with a focus on the place of the firm in this relationship.
You can watch the entire recording on the Academie’s Youtube page.
The guest list included Prof. Josef Wieland of Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen
Wiktor Dotter, CEO of ZeBeyond Ltd.
Rebecca Paloma W. of GLS Investment Management GmbH
Prof. Philippe Lambrecht of Université catholique de Louvain
Prof. Blanche Segrestin of Mines Paris
Christian Felber of Economy for the Common Good
Prof. Lucio Biggiero of Università degli Studi dell’Aquila
Prof. Thaddeus Metz of University of Pretoria/Universiteit van Pretoria
Prof. Benjamin Huybrechts of IÉSEG School of Management
Nazik Beishenaly of KU Leuven
Prof. Marek Hudon of Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management
Coline Serres of Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management
Prof. Guido Van Steendam of KU Leuven
Prof. Benoit Macq of Université catholique de Louvain
Sabine Wiesmüller, PhD of German Entrepreneurship
Damiano Avellino, platform cooperative developer & founder of Fairbnb.coop
What Harry Belafonte Means to Me
After discovering how many people know very little about the recently deceased singer and activist Harry Belafonte, I decided to record a short video to explain what this great man meant to me and why I cried after learning of his death!
Fascinating Panel at fi-compass event on Worker Buyouts
A fascinating panel on both existing financial instruments for facilitating worker buyouts of enterprises and an engaging discussion on the need for new and improved support structures for encouraging awareness and adoption of such mechanisms. Featuring Alessandro Viola (Italy, CFI), Thierry Perrin (France, Les SCOPs), Pedro Blazquez (Spain, COCETA) and Tej Gonza (Slovenia, Center for Economic Democracy), with feedback from Diana Duvgin (CICOP) and Alessandro Celoni (Banca Etica).
One of the points that seemed to come out of the discussion is the current incommensurability, to borrow Karl Popper’s phrase, of policy at the EU level and the needs of local stakeholders, such as workers. Often times there is a disconnect at the level of mindset and even of goals, since many ministries are concerned with analysis and verification, instead of in the process of local value creation. Perhaps future lessons can be drawn from discussions like this one.
The event was hosted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission in the aegis of the FI-COMPASS event.
Two Talks at the Royal Academy of Belgium on a Sustainable Agenda for the Firm
I had the privilege of giving two keynote lectures as Chaire SFPI of the Academie Royale de Belgique, within the College Belgique, in October. The first of these was entitled Embedding Firms within the Mission Economy, and attempts to introduce and problematize the dual nature of sustainability (i.e. environmental and social), seeking to understand whether and why firms should be part of a sustainable agenda. During the talk, I sought to synthesize and move beyond the lessons of the previous Chairholder, Maximilian Krahé, returning to the discussion of “Downwards translation”. Moreover, I attempted to connect this process with Philippe de Woot’s agenda of re-thinking the “raison d’être” of the firm. I then connected this agenda with what Mariana Mazzucato has called a “Mission economy”, tracing out the role firms can and should play in such an agenda. I concluded that a multi-stakeholder approach is the best way to create shared value within the context of such an agenda. The first lecture can be viewed here:
Meanwhile, the second lecture was entitled Delivering on the Promise of a Sustainable Firm and focuses on substantiating the role of the firm as contributor to a more socially and environmentally sustainable economy. In particular, I show in the talk that the logical result of embedding a sustainable mission at the level of the firm is an understanding of firms as political entities. Pursuant to this end, I seek during the talk to develop a new understanding of the investment process, as well as tracing out the potential role of the state, civil society and investors, including SFPI, in realizing such a mission. A large segment of the talk will focus on profiling existing practices, examining these critically and making suggestions for improved practices where necessary. The talk’s conclusion attempts to lay out the research agenda that the 2022-2024 SFPI Chaire will pursue. The second talk can be viewed here:
Routledge Handbook of Cooperative Economics & Management
We invite you to review below the call for abstracts (deadline extended to May 1, 2023) for the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Cooperative Economics & Management:
Additionally, below you can find more information about the Handbook. For all potential submissions (draft chapters will be due ca. November, 2023), we offer three items:
- an extended summary of the book’s aims and contents;
- a spreadsheet which potential contributors may use to fill in their abstracts;
- a survey which the Handbook’s editors are using to map out researchers and cooperative practitioners’ views of the relationships on topics related to cooperation.
- Detailed summary:
2. Abstract Submission (spreadsheet). Please download, complete and send back to Jerome Warren (jerome.warren(at)academieroyale.be).
3. We also ask those submitting abstracts to consider taking a moment to providing a mental map, reflecting your view of the cooperative world. For instance, you may feel that “community” is strongly (“5”) connected with “inclusive governace”, or “democratic participation” is moderately (“3”) connected with “transparency”, etc. The selection of concepts is yours to choose. You may find the survey here:
The results of the survey will inform the editors’ work and will contribute to a second book, a “map of the cooperative world“, as seen by researchers and practitioners.
New Master’s and PhD Program in Cooperation & Sustainability!
The good news has been rolling in for Cooperative Economics, of late. Just last week, Routledge expressed interest and support in a new Handbook of Cooperative Economics. Now, our application for approval of a new Master’s and PhD program in sustainability and cooperation has been approved! This is wonderful news and means that, soon, we will together begin to build two exciting new programs. Firstly, an international Master’s in sustainability and cooperation focusing on areas like cooperative economics and management, management of cooperation in business, directed towards practically oriented students, managers of cooperative businesses, or of traditional businesses looking to orient their enterprise more towards a cooperative, relational approach to dealing with issues of sustainability in their firms.
The second will be a PhD program directed towards scholars interested in researching at the intersection of cooperation and sustainability. Here, we aim to offer young researchers connections to exciting and innovative research opportunities in important and timely fields, ranging from management to economics and ethics, on topics that typically fall by the wayside in more standard PhD programs. These young researchers will be guided and motivated by a highly engaged and competent network of international scholars and practitioners.
Both programs will be located in Italy, likely in a former monastery in the pristine and beautiful resort town of Caramanico Terme, in the Abruzzo mountains near Pescara, and directed to an international audience. There are already a few programs on cooperative management located in Italy today (e.g., in Bologna). These are, to date, however, all geared towards Italians and are in Italian. Our program would add an exciting dimension by opening this world to international stakeholders excited about the intersection of cooperation, the cooperative economy and sustainability and wishing to connect to the practical experiences of the strongest cooperative sector in the world.
It will be our aim to therefore connect the fascinating and resilient world of Italian cooperatives with international scholars and practitioners. Beginning from this solid foundation, we want to reach across national boundaries and connect the program with international cooperative movements (e.g., Spanish, Canadian, Brazilian, Indian, etc., etc.), bringing experts, scholars and practitioners together in synergistic and mutually beneficial research projects in a wide array of fields, including economics, management, but also technology, ecology, law, psychology, ethics and related fields.
This journey is just beginning, but we are convinced that with progress towards the Routledge Handbook of Cooperative Economics, a conference in Rome this summer on “Cooperation and Sustainability” and the creation of these two overlapping and mutually reinforcing academic programs, there is a bright future ahead for cooperative economics and for the cooperative economy!
Routledge Handbook of Cooperative Economics Moves Forward
I am very happy to announce that our Routledge Handbook of Cooperative Economics is one step closer to becoming reality. We’re moving on to the next stage and will soon be putting out a general #callforabstracts for the book. Please keep a lookout for that and inform your friends and colleagues. We know there are many innovative scholars and practitioners working to embed cooperation more fully in the economy, so are confident that this project will develop into something quite formidable! Jamin Hübner Lucio Biggiero Sara Vicari Kemi Ogunyemi #cooperation #economics #cooperativeeconomics
“Embedding Firms within the Mission Economy. Why Should the Firm Be Part of a Sustainable Agenda?”
Images from my first lecture as part of the cycle on Sustainable Investments at the firm-level in the beautiful “Salle Maria-Theresia” at the Palais d’Academie. With this talk, and the talk next week, I am initiating my research fellowship at the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium as “SFPI Chair”.
The talk was divided into four segments: firstly, reviewing the past Chair, Max Krahe’s research as well as outlining Philippe de Woot’s legacy as to the “raison d’etre” of the firm. This was followed by a dualistic discussion of the firm, reviewing multiple interpretations, including the neoclassical, as well as the relational, view of the firm, the latter being connected with Isabelle Ferreras’ research on a political theory of the firm.
After this, I reviewed Mariana Mazzucato’s notion of the mission economy. This overview was followed by a final, synthetic, component, attempting to combine a relational, “political” theory of the firm with the notion of the mission economy. In this regard, a multi-stakeholder perspective was suggested as the most sensible one for embedding firms within a sustainable agenda or mission.
Video coming soon!