Download the Newsletter:, is now open. We invite you to register at www.cbern.ca/cbern_events/cbern2010/. The conference will be held at the Hotel Espresso in downtown Montréal on May 27-30, 2010.
CBERN Newsletter #12: Spring 2010
CBERN’s 3rd Annual Conference to take place in Montréal May 27-30, 2010
Registration for our 3rd Annual Conference
The program will follow the format of previous conferences, with the exception of the PhD Cluster Meeting/Workshop:
Thursday May 27: PhD Cluster Meeting and Research Workshop
A day long PhD research workshop is planned for Thursday, May 27. Fred Bird, a key participant in CBERN and a leading business ethics and CSR research scholar, and Charles Sampford, (Director of, the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, a joint initiative of the UN University, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, Convenor or the ARC Governance Research Network, and President, International Institute for Public Ethics) will be special guests and workshop participants.
Friday May 28: Public Dialogue - Theme Day "Human Rights, Resource Extraction and First Nation Economic Development
The day will begin with an exploration of emerging international perspectives on business and human rights led by Prof. Charles Sampford. This will be followed by MP John McKay, author of Bill C-300, (link) on the ethical responsibilities of Canadian mining companies engaged in resource extraction in developing countries with John Lewis from KAIROS Canada and Gord Peeling from the Mining Association of Canada.
Next a panel chaired by Jim Cooney and joined by Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Executive Director Jean Vavrek will begin the task of identifying where research is required to support current efforts to advance Canadian CSR initiatives particularly in the resource sector.
The afternoon will be led by Prof. Ben Bradshaw and feature an interactive discussion with Consultant Allen Edzerza on the new Impact-Benefit Agreement Community Toolkit with a particular emphasis on First Nation impacts of mining developments in the Schefferville area, an area of CBERN research activity.
Saturday May 29: CBERN Annual Meeting
Saturday morning will be devoted to a discussion of research activities in which CBERN is currently engaged. The day will provide a review of the CBERN Research, Capacity Building and Public Dialogue initiatives underway. Much of the afternoon will focus on CBERN policy issues, exciting website developments and a business agenda.
Sunday May 30: Special Research Project Planning
An opportunity to discuss special projects by the network and network members.
We look forward to seeing you in Montreal.
CBERN hosts PhD Cluster Workshop and Meeting at York University
On a cold snowy weekend in February CBERN welcomed ten German PhD students from the TransAtlantic Doctoral Academy on Corporate Responsibility to York University for a joint workshop with the CBERN PhD Cluster. The goal of the two day workshop was to facilitate discussion around the work of professors active in business ethics research from a European and North American perspective. Topics included political perspectives on the theory of the firm, sustainability and governance, and governance and human rights.
The event was the first of its kind in Canada. Many CBERN PhD Cluster participants expressed appreciation at being able to share the results of their research in a supportive atmosphere. Thanks to CBERN participant and TADA Supervisor Thomas Beschorner for assisting with the organization of the event.
At the conclusion of the event the CBERN PhD Cluster met separately, as a group, to designate a new Cluster leader and nominate a representative to the CBERN Advisory Board. The Cluster collectively decided that Claire Woodside would relinquish her role as Cluster leader to Sareh Pouryousefi. Claire’s nomination will now be acted on by the Advisory Board at the next Annual Meeting in Montreal. Thanks to Claire for all of her hard work on behalf of the PhD Cluster over the past two years.
More information on the PhD Cluster at www.cbern.ca/research/clusters/phd_cluster/
Business & Human Rights Symposium Provides Opportunity for Cross-Sectoral Dialogue
From February 25-28, twenty five prominent Canadian and International scholars convened at York University for CBERN’s first Business and Human Rights Symposium.
This event was designed to draw Canadian and International academics, who are engaged in research on business and human rights, into dialogue with each other and with non-academics actively engaged with human rights issues. The symposium was unique insofar as each participant was required to read all papers and commentaries prepared for the symposium, prior to the event itself. Participants had 10 minutes to review highlights of their paper with the bulk of the session given over to discussion.
Comments from the evaluation forms distributed at the end of the event included:
- “Loved the dynamic of the group. I really enjoyed getting to know the participants beyond a purely professional level.”
“A very good learning experience.”
“A well chosen group of experts who genuinely wished to cross disciplinary borders and engage in critically supportive discourse.”
A workshop grant was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council with additional support from Export Development Canada and York’s new Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.
More details at www.cbern.ca/cbern_events/past_events/business_human_rights/.
CBERN at the Society for Business Ethics Annual Meeting
Founded in 1980, the Society for Business Ethics (SBE) is an international association of scholars and others interested in business ethics. This year the Society will meet in Montréal on August 7-10.
The annual meeting provides an opportunity for SBE members to present their own research results, to become acquainted with the latest developments in teaching and research, to engage in the discussion of emerging business ethics issues, and to enjoy the fellowship of other scholars and professionals in the field.
CBERN is organizing a panel session on Ethics and Mining. A CBERN sponsored reception will follow the conclusion of the panel discussion. Keep an eye on our website for more details.
CBERN and the Social Investment Organization
CBERN is pleased to announce that it has obtained an Institutional Membership with the Social Investment Organization. Benefits of membership include access to the SIO Listserve, an information exchange for all organizational, professional, associate and sustaining members across Canada.
Established in 1989, the Social Investment Organization (SIO) is the national non-profit association for the socially responsible investment industry in Canada.
CBERN at ISBEE: A Follow Up Report
By Prof. Frederick Bird, CBERN Participant
For its meetings held in Cape Town, South Africa, in July, 2008, The International Society for Business, Economics, and Ethics (ISBEE) invited scholars to prepare a series of papers for a panel discussion looking at Fairness in International Trade and Investment from the perspectives of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America. Several of us at the University of Waterloo decided to respond to this invitation. Peter Woolstencroft from Political Science and Thomas Vance from the School of Accounting and Finance joined with me to undertake the relevant research, to write a paper, and present it at the ISBEE conference. We applied and received a small grant from CBERN to help cover costs both for some preliminary investigations by a research assistant and the costs for me to travel to the conference, where I presented a preliminary version of our paper. Our paper is entitled “Fairness in International Trade and Investment: North American Perspectives.”
This paper reviews the practices and differing sets of attitudes North Americans have taken with respect to fairness in international trade and proposes a set of common considerations for ongoing debates about these matters. After reviewing the asymmetrical relations between Canada, the United States and Mexico and the impact of multilateral trade agreements on bilateral trade between these countries, the paper looks at four typical normative views with respect to trade held by North Americans. These variously emphasize concerns for protectionism (traditionally the dominant view), liberal fair play (which has more recently become the prevailing established view), a concern for distributive justice (as articulated by Stiglitz and others), and dissent in the name of the environment or working classes. Acknowledging that these on-going debates over what is fair are not likely to be easily resolved, in this paper, we call for open political processes that allow these debates to proceed in ways that allow for reasonable political compromises. We identify five common points of reference that might usefully inform these debates. These include 1) respect for flexibility, 2) regard for the importance of institutions, 3) greater attention to the commutative justice principles for fair exchanges and corresponding guarantees so that all countries possess basic power to bargain effectively on their own behalf, 4) the need to find fitting balance between local, national, regional and international trade, and 5) more concern for the ways false pricing and abusive transfer pricing distort international trading relations.
In this paper we note the ways in which the larger multi-lateral arrangements of the WTO help countries like Canada and Mexico in their asymmetrical bilateral trading arrangements with countries like the United States. We call for a fuller explorations of the ways the principles of commutative justice, rightly understood, might usefully guide discussion not only about trade between nations but business ethics more generally. We especially argue issues with respect to abusive transfer pricing and mis-pricing have far too long been ignored or given too little attention both with respect to international trade and the role of international businesses in developing areas.
Our essay is being published in two places. It has been included in a special issue of the Journal of Business Ethics (Volume 84, supplement 3, 2009), edited by Geoff Moore and Christopher Stuckelberger on “Global and Contextual Values for Business in a Changing World.” All of the essays in this special issue were initially presented at the ISBEE conference. Our essay will also be included in a book soon to be published by Springer, edited by Geoff Moore, on “Fairness in International Trade.” This book also includes essays originally presented at the ISBEE conference, grouped into two parts: one focusing on “Economic development, wealth creation, and Africa” and the other part on “Fairness in international trade -- a global perspective.”
A World Wide Survey of Business Ethics
CBERN, in partnership with Globethics.net, is conducting research in Canada that will contribute to a comprehensive international survey of economic and business ethics activity in 2010.
For the purposes of this survey, business ethics has been broadly defined to include:
- Economic ethics and sustainability (macro-level),
Corporate responsibility and corporate citizenship (meso-level), and
Intra-organizational business ethics (micro-level).
The survey is being conducted in nine regions: Latin America, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, Central Asia, South & South-East Asia, East Asia and Oceania. Individual researchers and institutions (like universities, associations, centers, research institutes, and NGO’s) that are actively involved in the field of business ethics will be surveyed regarding:
- The terms they use to refer to business ethics in their national language(s),
The training programs they offer or facilitate,
The formal academic courses they offer or facilitate,
The research they conduct,
The publications they produce, and
The major challenges that they foresee in business ethics in the future.
By collating and comparing the above information from around the world a global profile of the field of business ethics will be generated.
This project will produce:
- A global report on business ethics as field of teaching, training and research (book project),
A special edition of an academic journal providing a global perspective on business ethics as academic field,
A global bibliography of business ethics books and journals,
A global directory of individuals and institutions with expertise in business ethics, and
A Global Handbook of Research in Business Ethics written by the nine regional coordinators. This handbook will identify broad patterns in approaches, methodologies and topics in business ethics research in each region.
For more information about the project, check the Globethics project page: www.globethics.net/web/business-ethics/mission
or visit the CBERN Project Workspace at
For more information about the Canadian contribution to this project, contact Hilary Martin.
CBERN 2nd Generation Website is now LIVE!
After a lengthy development process, CBERN is pleased to announce that our 2nd generation website is now LIVE at www.cbern.ca.
CBERN has worked closely with award winning, Toronto-based website solutions provider Intrafinity, Inc. (www.intrafinity.com/news/what_s_new_/) to develop a website that will be sure to provide a valuable resource for business ethics research activity and practice within Canada and beyond.
The features of the new website are many and include:
One of the key features of the new website is a suite of collaborative tools. These tools are available to CBERN members. If you are interested in utilizing CBERN' suite of collaborative Information Communication and Web 2.0 tools (document sharing, blogs, document repository, forums, chat, web conference, wikis, project websites, etc.) for your Business Ethics-related project or initiative, please contact Michael Windle (email@example.com) for further details.
The new website will continue to develop as we migrate over three years of content from our previous website. We also plan to launch a business ethics blog and will be developing satellite websites and project portals in the coming months. CBERN will announce an official website launch upon completion of content migration and enhancement in early Fall 2010. In the meantime, we invite you to explore the website and to update or add your profile and contribute resources here: www.cbern.ca/about_us/join/community_submission_forms/. For further information on CBERN’s website or to inquire about utilizing CBERN’s collaborative tools for your project or initiative, please contact Michael Windle at firstname.lastname@example.org.