Theory Meets Practice

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About The Event

Globally and in the region, corporate governance and responsibility has been recognized by government leaders and other key stakeholders in society as an enabler for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. However, government policies and resources alone cannot adequately address socio-economic problems.

Other stakeholders also have a role to play. Increasingly, investors, consumers and media are also putting more pressure on companies to act with a strong sense of social responsibility. 

On the global stage, the United Nations published the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in September 2015. The SDGs offer a renewed commitment towards solving the world’s biggest and toughest problems such as food security, gender equality, productive and decent work, sustainable consumption and production as well as the fight against corruption and bribery. 

Here in ASEAN, the new blueprint for fostering regional integration – “ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead together” – was published in November 2015 and lays down the strategy for realizing a sustainable, inclusive and equitable regional community. While ASEAN citizens are technically part of an integrated ASEAN Community, we have yet to fully realise the region’s economic, political and socio-cultural integration. In the new ASEAN Community Blueprint, greater stakeholder engagement and public-private partnerships, better corporate governance, support for SMEs and social enterprises and promoting sustainable consumption and production were identified as some of the key areas the private sector should support.

Both the global commitments offered by the SDGs and the regional strategy laid down by the new ASEAN Community Blueprint identify an increasingly important role for the private sector beyond just driving economic growth.

Although corporate governance and responsibility is effective in addressing socio-economic issues in society at large, there is a growing number of companies incorporating good governance and responsibility into their core business activities. However, the current state of corporate governance and responsibility is still well below expectations. The understanding and implementation of corporate social responsibility, for example, is currently largely confined to philanthropic activities. 

As good governance and responsibility continues to flourish, academic attention increases, with corporate governance and responsibility developing into a research field in its own right. Business schools are also beginning to teach corporate governance and responsibility in undergraduate, graduate and MBA courses. Yet, teaching and researching corporate governance and responsibility is still a puzzle because of a variety of definitions, meanings and terms employed. 

Just as practitioners seek to understand and practise good governance and responsibility, a number of researchers have been striving to classify and conduct high quality research on corporate governance and responsibility. It is believed that good academic research should underpin public policies to support corporate governance and responsibility. At the same time, good academic research will also create greater awareness and demand for corporate governance and responsibility and feed into the actual practices of companies by providing companies with the know-how and means to be socially responsible.