Driven by global crises in financial, economic, and governance systems, companies all over the world devote massive resources to their corporate social responsibility. But what is CSR? What does it mean, and what does it involve? Do stakeholders really care, and if they do, how should companies communicate with them? Today, CSR is a crucial driving force of a (r)evolution in business.

About the course

If you are interested in the relationship between business and society, this course is for you! It is especially relevant for industry, public policy, and academic professionals working on CSR, as well as students following a traditional business curriculum who are interested in key value questions. The content is also accessible for consumers who are curious about how to make informed decisions while pursuing their own well-defined, long-term, responsible consumption goals.

This course addresses CSR in two ways:

  • As a reflection of corporate self-awareness;
  • As a source of innovation and a means to deal with heightened competitiveness, demands for sustainable development, and shifts in international governance.

By presenting insights from CSR experts, from both academia and practice, this course provides a way for managers, consumers, and citizens to acquire in-depth insights and critical perspectives on companies’ CSR activities and communications. The multi-industry case study structure of this course enables participants to confront the challenges facing today’s managers as they seek to develop and communicate their own CSR initiatives. Dedicated discussion forums also are available for participants to present personalized CSR cases.

To help participants manage and communicate about CSR with various internal and external stakeholders, this course seeks to:

  • Support current and future business leaders in their efforts to make responsible leadership, sustainable production, and consumption central to their corporate vision;
  • Help citizens to function more effectively as informed watchdogs and responsible consumers.

What you will learn

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the multidimensional nature and content of corporate social responsibility;
  • Adopt a critical perspective on managerial practices related to societal issues;
  • Stimulate and manage impactful changes in organizations, toward more responsible postures;
  • Reconcile multiple stakeholders’ interests (and understand the importance of doing so), into a clear, persuasive, smart action and communication plan;
  • Recognise the risks of CSR washing, as well as the opportunities related to a strong CSR communication strategy.

About the instructor

Valérie Swaen is professor of corporate social responsibility and marketing at the Louvain School of Management of the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and at IESEG School of Management (France). She is the head of the Louvain CSR Network of the Louvain School of Management and has held different chairs in CSR (with Belgacom, GDF SUEZ, Solvay, and the Philippe de Woot Award for the best Master’s thesis related to CSR). She has published extensively on matters relating to CSR, spanning different management fields (marketing, organisational behaviour, strategy, and accounting), though her main research interest centres on stakeholders’ reactions to CSR communication.

Duration: 8 weeks, 4-6 hours per week

Language: English

Instructor: Valérie Swaen

Institution: Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)