McElhany, Kellie. "Corporate Responsibility Leadership." Presentation to the Value of Values conference, Santa Clara University, May 14, 2010.
Presentation slides here.

(Rough notes by Lloyd Kurtz, I apologize for inaccuracies or errors of emphasis. - lk)

McElhaney is Faculty Director of the Center for Responsible Business at the Center for Responsible Business, Haas School of Business, at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of Just Good Business, a practical manual for managers implementing CSR initiatives.
  • “I teach this from a corporate strategy perspective... [There’s a lot of CSR in the world] but there’s not a lot of good CSR in the world.” CSR is “not a passing fad or trend – it creates and protects wealth.” CSR is about using business to improve the world. “We need smarter CSR.”
  • CSR strategy must fit both core business objectives and core competencies. She highlighted KFC’s tie-in deal with a breast cancer charity as a bad fit because of the unhealthiness of KFC’s offerings (particularly the new Double Down), and suggested that a partnership with a hunger organization would be more appropriate.

She introduced a hierarchy of CSR – from lowest to highest with my own illustrative quotes:
  • Defensive – ‘we have to make up for the oil spill’
  • Compliance – ‘the government says we have to do this’
  • Managerial – ‘this complies with ISO 1401’
  • Strategic – ‘this fits our core strategy and furthers our business objectives’
  • Civic (Civil?) –

McElhaney related how a journalist had written of her that, although she seemed well-intentioned, he had the strong sense she was teaching students to increase firm value. Kellie viewed that as a fair characterization. When asked about her positive view of Wal-Mart given their issues over the years, she pointed out their best-in-class sustainability program. She also argued for CSR based on facts, not subjective judgments about intention: “Forget motivations,” she said, “look at the outcome.”