D'Amore-McKim's International Business & Strategy academic group and Northeastern University's Center for Emerging Markets co-sponsored a multi-day conference on “multinational companies and sustainability in global supply chains” last week in Charleston, South Carolina. The event was hosted by the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, with Villanova University and Groningen University playing important roles as additional co-sponsors.

Valentina Marano, an associate professor in the IB&S group and an associate fellow with the Center for Emerging Markets, chaired the conference alongside University of South Carolina's Tatiana Kostova. The event attracted a diverse group of 43 scholars from 24 universities and 12 countries.

Conference participants dug deeply into the shifting role multinational corporations play in addressing grand societal challenges; including, notably, the diffusion of sustainable practices in their global supply chains. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of the average company's impact on the environment, society, and governance stem from its suppliers, according to a recent McKinsey report. Moreover, with pressure mounting on multinationals to play ever larger roles, they clearly face reputational risks in mismanaging suppliers.

With this in mind, conference organizers combined practitioner and academic contributions to more fully examine the orchestrating role multinational companies might play. Forty-three scholars representing from the fields of business ethics, corporate governance, strategy, supply chain management, political science, and international business convened to present cutting edge research on this topic. Their work shed new light on some of the challenges and opportunities for promoting sustainability within global supply chains, as well as the role novel public/private governance arrangements play alongside various national and supranational policy initiatives. The cross-disciplinary backgrounds of conference participants allowed for productive conversations that moved beyond the traditionally siloed nature of much extant research in this area.

In addition to Marano's contributions, D'Amore-McKim was well represented with presentations by Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra (International Business & Strategy Group), Sheila Puffer (International Business & Strategy Group), Nada Sanders (Supply Chain Management Group, who delivered the keynote address), and Jack Cordero, an exceptional undergraduate student who co-presented the findings of an ambitious research project with Puffer.

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