Best Practices for Corporate Social Responsibility (ELI Master Class)

July 22, 2020 12:00 pm — 4:30 pm
Webinar only

Co-sponsored by the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Community; American University Washington College of Law; Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; Women In Government Relations; American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL); Environmental Law Network

An ELI Master Class

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and professional responsibility impacts companies, nonprofits, and employees alike. Businesses are increasingly turning to CSR to make a difference in society and build a positive brand around their company. This ELI Master Class discussed valuable tools and approaches for successfully implementing and reporting CSR.


12:00 - 12:15 PM

Opening Remarks

John J. Forrer, Director, Institute for Corporate Responsibility; Research Professor, Strategic Management & Public Policy; and Associate Faculty, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University

12:15 - 1:30 PM

Panel 1: Introduction & Foundations of CSR tackled the bases of how corporations can best implement CSR through socially responsible business practices. The bedrock of a successful CSR program is a strategic alignment with the company’s business model. Panelists explored the foundations of CSR programs, the evolution and current state of CSR programs, how CSR has changed the industry, and what is on the horizon for the future of CSR practices.

  • Nicoline Good, Postgraduate Researcher, University of Edinburgh, Moderator
  • Emily Smith Ewing, Executive Director and Senior Fellow, Corporate Social Responsibility, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, Fordham Law School  
  • Roger Martella, General Counsel, Environment, Health and Safety, General Electric
  • Brendan McCarthy, ESG Research Analyst, Calvert Research and Management

1:30 - 1:45 PM


1:45 - 3:00 PM

Panel 2: CSR Diligence & Maintenance focused on the obstacles and opportunities that arise from establishing and upholding effective CSR initiatives. In order to ensure continuous support and growth of CSR programs, companies often find a need to expand and evolve their definition of CSR. Panelists explored the innovative opportunities and obstacles of maintaining sustainable business practices including purchasing source materials, examining environmental impacts, finding areas of collaboration to foster multi-stakeholder benefits, and more.

  • Angela Ortiz Sedano, ESG and Sustainability Manager, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), Moderator

  • Kendra Abkowitz, Director, Office of Policy & Sustainable Practices, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC)

  • Ann Condon, Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute (ELI), formerly Director, Resource and Environmental Strategies, General Electric

3:00 - 3:15 PM


3:15 - 4:30 PM

Panel 3: Reporting & CSR provided an in-depth exploration of opportunities and challenges for CSR reporting in the United States. While many reporting frameworks exist and are used by large organizations, differences in reporting standards is a leading challenge faced by multinational corporations, investors, and stakeholders. Panelists tackled the challenges faced by CSR reporting and explored best practices to overcome these hurdles.

  • Cassie Phillips, Visiting Scholar, Private Environmental Governance Initiative, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator 
  • David P. Hackett, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • Ira Feldman, President and Senior Counsel, greentrack

NOTE: ELI members will have subsequent access to any materials/a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.

Additional ELI materials:
Is Corporate Social Responsibility Sustainable or a Pernicious Myth?, Bruce Rich (The Envtl Forum, Jan/Feb 2020)
Rise of the Shadow ESG Regulators: Investment Advisers, Sustainability Accounting, and Their Effects on Corporate Social Responsibility, Paul Rissman & Diana Kearney, 49 ELR 10155 (Feb. 2019)
The First Amendment Implications of a Mandatory Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure Regime, Rebecca Susko, 48 ELR 10989 (Nov. 2018)
Corporate Responsibility: Promoting Climate Justice Through the Divestment of Fossil Fuels and Socially Responsible Investment, Josepine M. Balzac, 47 ELR 10151 (Feb. 2017)
More Walk, Less Talk: Comment on How Cheap Is Corporate Talk?, Alan Horowitz, 47 ELR 10689 (Aug. 2017)
A Bridge Too Near: Response to How Cheap Is Corporate Talk?, Jeffrey A. Smith, 47 ELR 10691 (Aug. 2017)
Puffery or Promises: When Is Cheap Talk Actionable?, Brian J. Wong, 47 ELR 10694 (Aug. 2017)


Webinar CLE Attendees (you must have selected CLE info when you registered by the CLE deadline of July 17):

  • When watching the webinar you will need to have the webinar at the forefront of your computer screen as GoTo webinar software will be tracking attentiveness and creating an attentiveness report.
  • You will need to be watching the webinar for a majority of the time to receive CLE Credit.
  • We will email you the CLE information and certification within one week of the event.