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It is over a year since the Elfenworks’s Center for Responsible Business (ECRB) was launched in March 2014. Since its launch, the center has been generating momentum to promote dialog and discussion in the area of responsible business (RB).  In this blog, I highlight our activities in the last academic year and our plans for the current one.


Last October, we held a panel on Responsible Investment with experts from Nelson Capital, Black Rock and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board discussing what constitutes responsible investing and how interested investors should approach it. Our first annual conference on Business and the Challenges of Inequality was held in March 2015. It featured a panel discussion on inequality from different perspectives: that of an economist, theologist and social entrepreneur; several workshops on different forms of inequality and ended with a keynote by the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor.  Videos of the panels and keynote can be viewed here. The center also assisted in connecting some of our faculty to community partners for student projects.


Last month, we cosponsored a talk on Climate Change: Challenges, Solutions and the Pope’s Call to Action. Later this month, the center is sponsoring a talk by the President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services on Business and the Common Good. Our Second Annual Conference will be held on April 1st, 2016.  The planning for this event is going on and we will post more details later.  ECRB will soon send out a Call for Applications to all faculty in Saint Mary’s College for a Research Award in the area of RB. The deadline for submissions is December 31st, 2015 and the award will be announced at the April 1st conference.


ECRB has made a promising start. But, sustained dialog and research on all aspects of responsible business, especially with regard to training future leaders to make responsible and ethical decisions is important. Recent scandals such Volkswagen’s tampering of diesel cars to pass the emission test or Turing Pharmaceutical price gouging for a drug used by Aids patients point to the importance of having “lead responsibly” as a guiding light so that business can in Pope Francis’ words, be a “noble vocation directed to producing wealth and improving the world.”

Saroja Subrahmanyan

Saroja Subrahmanyan

Executive Director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business and a Marketing Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California. Her current research focuses on consumer behavior of economically disadvantaged people, ethical consumption and business case writing.