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‘Responsible Business in a Time of Crisis’…Webinar from Professor Alex Edmans
Date: 2020-08-24  |  Read: 30

Yonsei University School of Business and Yonsei Business Research Institute began a Webinar Series organized by YSB Professor Jun Kyung Auh of Finance in May to study the current and future socioeconomic changes caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and propose alternative strategies to deal with them.

World-renowned experts have predicted that this pandemic, even after it is controlled, will have  tremendous permanent impact not only on everyday life but also on all dimensions of society. Out of a sense of social responsibility, YSB has undertaken the series to study its impact and search for strategies to cope not only with the current crisis but also with Covid-19’s long-term economic and societal impacts.

 

[ From left, Professor Jun Kyung Auh and Professor Alex Edmans ]

The first webinar was held May 14 under the theme of "Responsible Business in a Time of Crisis" by Professor Alex Edmans, a professor at the London Business School. More than 120 participants attended.

Professor Edmans used Vodafone's launch of M-Pesa Kenya, a mobile phone-based service for money transfers, as a positive example of corporate social responsibility, explaining that the service has benefited numerous tenant farmers in Kenya, which in turn has led to high profits for Vodafone. Having studied the relationship between corporate profitability and social responsibility extensively, he argued that when companies make decisions, it is important to consider and pursue social values rather than merely considering the net present value (NPV).

To achieve this, he emphasized that it is necessary for companies to have clear goals. For example, when the French power company Engie decided to shut down the Hazelwood power plant, despite the unemployment that would result, the decision reflected a higher priority given to solving a serious pollution problem. Professor Edmans emphasized that when a company undertakes positive social values with a specific purpose, it can achieve both social values and corporate profits.

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