Christine Bader, author of The Evolution of the Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil, discusses the vital role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in global enterprises.
On CSR as an incremental process: “We are working on the thorniest issues at the heart of globalization. We have to recognize that this work is incremental, but believe that what we’re doing will make a difference. Unfortunately, we will take big steps backwards once in a while, but we need to have faith that overall we’re moving in the right direction.”
On the role of the individual in CSR: “I believe that each of us individually is part of the problem or part of the solution. And it’s often both. But we all really do have a role to play - in our day jobs, and as investors, consumers, neighbors and citizens.”
TALKING WITH…CHRISTINE BADER
Q: What was your first job?
A: Selling sneakers at a store in Manhattan.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
A: Never take anybody else’s advice. When people try to give advice in the form of “you should,” ask them to turn it around into “I did.” People’s stories are much more illustrative than their advice.
Q: If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be and why?
A: President Obama. Like the corporate practitioners I interviewed for my book, he’s clearly struggled with balancing vision and pragmatism, and I suspect has reflected in a way that would be helpful for all of us idealists.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: E.B. White’s quote, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”