"Companies need to closely examine their business. Simply engaging in marketing campaigns is not enough," comments Prof. Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, holder of the Chair for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the University of Mannheim. The academic was appointed to her position at the renowned University of Mannheim in 2016, where she collaborates intensively with the local economy. "Customers, employees, media, the general public, and other stakeholders today expect companies to live up to their social responsibility," she comments with conviction. Companies looking to remain successful in the long term therefore cannot afford to simply avoid finding ways to meet this requirement. The question is no longer whether companies should assume social responsibility, but rather how they can do this prudently and effectively. Her knowledge and advice are in demand and on June 28 she was awarded with the 'Social Market Economy' 2018 Roman Herzog Research Prize, one of the most generously remunerated prizes in this field.
The Endowed Chair was financed by a crowdfunding campaign with companies from the Rhein-Neckar region, including FUCHS. "We consider it extremely important to academically support and underpin the anchoring of sustainability in companies," comments Apu Gosalia, Vice President Sustainability & Global Competitive Intelligence at FUCHS PETROLUB. "We have therefore also been providing financial support to the CSR Foundation Professorship at the University of Mannheim since 2016."
The cooperation with the CSR Chair, where FUCHS is a welcome guest, is therefore just as close as the 'Sustainable Business & Society' seminars that are regularly held at the institute. How can stakeholders from the fields of politics and society be won over to social innovation, sustainable production, and sustainable consumption? This question was the main focus of the event held at the Mannheim Business School Study & Conference Center in June 2018. "Here, I had the opportunity to host a 'Practitioner Roundtable' on the topic of 'Social Impact Valuation' together with the sustainability representatives from BASF, SAP, and Novartis, as well as to discuss approaches for evaluation of social commitment together with the students," comments Gosalia, looking back. "However, I am still skeptical as to whether a ‘M' for monetization of social sustainability is the right approach. I also do not consider this prudent from the perspective of ecological sustainability. Our focus with FUCHS sustainability is on the 3 M's, ‘Measure, Manage, Modify’ – and that is for each of the three sustainability dimensions of economy, ecology, and social aspects separately. “Within the ecological pillar, FUCHS is currently concentrating on quantifying the term sustainability through worldwide standards - something which has recently attracted a great deal of interest in the sector. Gosalia is confident that sustainability will soon become an additional specification component of lubricants – along with performance and price.