The Centre for Global Management and Responsible Leadership (CGMRL), XLRI – Xavier School of Management in collaboration with La Trobe Business School, Melbourne, Australia recently organised ‘International Conference on Responsible Marketing’ on January 23-24, 2017.
The two day conference was inaugurated by Mr. Anand Sen (President, TQM and Steel Business, Tata Steel). In his address, Mr. Anand Sen emphasized the need to promote responsible consumption and reduce wastage. Key note addresses were delivered by Fr. Oswald Mascarenhas, S.J. (JRD Tata Chair Professor of Business Ethics at XLRI), who spoke on the topic of “Responsible Marketing in a Turbulent market” and Mr. B. Hariharan (Vice President, ITC Hotels) who explained how ITC is “Designing & Marketing Responsible Luxury”.
Elaborating about the conference, Dr. Pingali Venugopal, Coordinator, Centre for Global Management and Responsible Leadership at XLRI and the coordinator for the conference said, “Sustainability has become a major concern for the UN. Marketing is being blamed for all the ills in society – be it excessive consumption, environmental degradation or unethical behaviours such as price wars, selective advertising, and deceptive marketing. It is in this context, we had organised the conference with the aim to consolidate research in this area and develop a framework for Responsible Marketing.”
“Socially responsible marketing is critical of excessive consumerism and environmental damages caused by corporations. It is based on the idea that market offerings must not be only profit-driven, but they must also reinforce social and ethical values for the benefit of citizens, including those in the bottom of the pyramid. Responsible Marketing also means that these values are communicated and enforced by everyone in the organization. While, marketers who are pursuing a socially responsible agenda understand that such efforts do not automatically translate into increased revenue or even an improved public image, research and experience suggest that organizations that consistently exhibit socially responsible tendencies may eventually gain a strong reputation that could pay dividends in the form of increased customer loyalty”, he further added.
On the occasion, Mr. Anand Sen and Fr. E. Abraham, S.J. Director, XLRI launched an ‘e-waste Policy’.This e-waste policy has been developed by the Centre for Global Management and Responsible Leadership, XLRI as an offshoot of the Conference on e-waste Management organized by CGMRL, XLRI in January 2016. XLRI has tied up with JUSCO to dispose its e-waste in an environmentally friendly manner. After the launch of the e-waste policy, X-Lead and Sigma the student bodies would spearhead the e-waste collection and disposal drive in XLRI.
Fr. E. Abraham, S.J. Director, XLRI said, “We are happy to associate with the La Trobe Business School, Melbourne, Australia for the conference. Like XLRI, the first B-School in India to endorse the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) under the UN Global Compact, La Trobe Business School is the first in Australia to sign PRME.”
The conference discussed about the theoretical underpinnings of the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability, the ethical issues of buyer and seller information asymmetry, the consumer awareness, knowledge and behaviour towards sustainable consumption. Subsequently the conference focussed on the experiences of the companies involved in responsible marketing as well as the involvement of larger organisations in Cause Related Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility. In addition, organisational issues for building a culture in the organisation and sectorial applications were discussed.
Around 56 papers, from different business schools in India, Australia, USA, Canada and the neighbouring countries were presented at the conference. The researchers felt that consumers are aware of sustainability and environmental concerns, however, price still governs behaviour and there is a need to work on better technologies and education to promote sustainable consumption. Companies on their part are working towards building a culture of sustainability within their organisations though there could be a conflict with short term profitability. Strategies to build sustainable practices in organisations were discussed.
CGMRL which organised the conference was formed in 2010 with the objective of promoting global, ethical, and sustainable business practices through the development of the requisite academic, curricular and outreach support for students and executives interested in global ethical business. CGMRL conducted two National Conventions during 2012 and 2013 to ‘share case studies on Responsible Leadership’. Case studies from the two conventions were analysed to develop a framework for Responsible Leadership. Subsequent to the insights gained from the two National Conventions on Responsible Leadership, conferences focusing on sectorial issues were conducted; the first on “Agri-input Management strategies for Sustainable Agriculture” was held in 2014-15 followed by a conference on e-waste management in 2015-16.
A two day Faculty Development Programme on Responsible Marketing was also conducted to help faculty and doctoral students develop curriculum and cases for teaching Responsible Marketing. The faculty development programme attended by 19 participants was conducted by faculty both from XLRI and LaTrobe University.