Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience

It’s finally here! After four years in the making, and due to the generosity of Harry Halloran of Halloran Philanthropies and chairman and CEO of the American Refining Group, CEBC launched the landmark book chronicling the history of corporate responsibility in the United States.

CEBC used the combination of events to begin to celebrate its 35th year anniversary. We were honored to have present the initial and most recent executive leaders of the center, Don Imsland and Bob MacGregor, respectively. Also sharing the experience were former and current CEBC board members, business leaders, donors, members, friends, faculty and students.A public forum facilitated by David Rodbourne, CEBC vice president, not only featured the keynote presentation from Ken Powell, but also insightful comments from the panel of the book’s authors, and reflective thoughts from a panel of seasoned business practitioners with decades of experience in the field.

The launch of the book provides scholarly research into how American business, government and civic leaders over the last few hundred years have sought to answer the question, “for whom and what purpose does business exist?”

The business voice was represented by Nate Garvis, founder of Naked Civics and former vice president of government relations for Target; Mary Pickard, principal advisor at Adler LLC and former vice president of community affairs at the St. Paul Companies (now Travelers); and David Etzwiler, executive director, Decade of Discovery, former vice president of community affairs and executive director of the Medtronic Foundation.

Each took turns peering into the lens of corporate responsibility and dramatic shifts underway. There is a deepening public expectation for corporations to be good stewards with a civic heart … not driven by laws which have physical and political borders, but by the expectations of trust and trustworthiness.

Ron James is President and CEO of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures