Doing Good Is Good Business

Denise Kleinrichert

The Center for Ethical and Sustainable Business (CESB) helps make real for San Francisco State University students the theories they learn through their studies by offering first-hand experiences outside the classroom, says Center director Denise Kleinrichert, a professor of management and ethics.

“We want to showcase that businesses can positively affect society in terms of the well-being of the community — socially and environmentally,” Kleinrichert says.

Hands-on opportunities organized and offered by CESB range from talks with business leaders representing orga- nizations such as Genentech, Lyft and Clorox to an annual face-off between student teams debating a business ethics case study.

For the 2016 debate, three teams considered a proposal to create a clone of John Lennon from DNA extracted from his tooth (based on a true situation).

“You can monetize someone’s DNA,” Kleinrichert explains. “If you have a celebrity you clone, who owns the clone? What if the clone’s owner puts him in an ad for some- thing [the singer] would have opposed?”

The debate is offered during CESB’s flagship program, Business Ethics Week. Each fall, Business Ethics Week brings to campus professionals, including transportation engineers, diversity officers and recycling experts, who talk about busi- ness challenges. A mini film festival is also part of the line-up.

Other notable programs organized by the Center are the Ethics and Compliance Workshop Series and the Summer High School Sustainability Camp. For one recent work- shop, security experts from banking and health care talked to students about privacy issues and what it takes to protect consumers. The free summer camp lets faculty and CoB stu- dents give back to the community by introducing business sustainability issues to juniors and seniors attending public San Francisco high schools.

They’re among efforts that have garnered CESB recognition from a United Nations initiative, Principles of Responsible Management Education.

“It lets our students know they should be proud and can say ‘Hey, I went to a great university,’” Kleinrichert says. “These are the things they were doing outside the classroom.”


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