Academics Push for Sustainability, But do They Live and Work It? - A blog by Leon Kaye

Academics Push for Sustainability, But do They Live and Work It? - A blog by Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is editor and principal of, which focuses on CSR and renewable energy issues. He also writes for Most recently, he was invited by to report at the Global Reporting Initiative's biennial conferenc
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Academics Push for Sustainability, But do They Live and Work It?


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggers offer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.  

Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 11:39am


Attend a sustainability-themed conference or peruse through the web, and you will hear from academics who urge for companies to be more transparent in their business practices.  Much of the debate over issues like climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and what happened to global financial markets is due to the research and hard work of university academics.  For that enormous body of work, we should be thankful.  Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic now, especially after a certain spill in the Gulf.  And corporations’ behavior in the past has spurred this interest.

But when you urge organizations to clean their houses—shouldn’t you start with you own?

The recent controversy of Sarah Palin’s visit to Cal-State Stanislaus is a case in point.  A university can invite whoever it wants, in my view.  Too often universities became Petri dishes of political correctness, so if you do not agree with Sarah Palin, then you do not have to show up at her speech.  But for over a generation, the cost of college tuition has far outpaced inflation and the costs of other goods and services.  Students, faculty, and other stakeholders have the right to know how much they are paying the former governor, as well as the other expenses involved.  To that end, university fundraising deserves scrutiny.  If you are paying someone, say, $150,000 to raise--$175,000, I want to know.  If you are lassoing students to volunteer their time to call alumni for donations—you should disclose it.  So why didn’t the power-that-be at CSS just say how much it cost to have Ms. Palin show up?  And as someone who graduated from a large local private school, I would like to know not only how much money the school raises annually, but how much they spend to obtain it.

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