We are delighted to announce that our founders Dr. Costantino Grasso and Dr. Donato Vozza have participated in the summer school "Corporate Sustainability: From CSR to ESG" at the Università degli Studi di Padova.
Our founders - Dr. Costantino Grasso (Associate Professor in Business and Law at the Manchester Law School) and Dr. Donato Vozza (Lectured in Criminal Law at the University of Roehampton) - have participated in today's work of the multidisciplinary summer school "Corporate Sustainability: From CSR to ESG," which has been organized by Prof. Maurizio Bianchini and Prof. Alan Palmiter at the Università degli Studi di Padova.
The event received also honorary patronage from the Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Blog, which is our partner platform devoted to promoting analysis and discussion of corporate social responsibility and business ethics issues around the world.
Dr. Costantino Grasso gave a lecture entitled "Technology and Irresponsible Corporate Behavior: A Dangerous Combination." In his speech, he explained that there is no zero risk associated with the adoption of any new technology and that the adoption or implementation of technological developments is capable of taking courses of action whose reason may be unfathomable even to the system’s designers and the implications of the related corporate decisions may be hard to predict (i.e., the predictability issue). In particular, the lecture focused on the pharmaceutical sector, where breakthroughs may present risks of potential downsides, which pose danger to human lives.
To support his arguments Dr. Grasso presented three case studies: (1) the case of Thalidomide, which represents a landmark case in such a context that was not only a tragic medical mishap but also an extremely relevant event in the matter of corporate social responsibility, with the actions of the involved firm, Grünenthal, that can be considered as the quintessence of irresponsible corporate behavior; (2) the case of irresponsible behavior of Johnson & Johnson in relation to the presence of asbestos in the baby talc as emerged from the Reuters' investigation; (3) The U.S. Opioid Crisis and the related abuse of technology and pathological pursuit of profits that resulted in (estimated) 450,000 Americans that have died because of the opioid crisis from 1999 to 2016.
Dr. Donato Vozza offered a lecture entitled "International Tax Avoidance and Corporate Social Responsibility: What Role for Law and Accounting Firms?" The lecture aimed at casting light on the complex relationship between tax evasion and corporate crime as opposed to the relationship between tax avoidance and corporate social responsibility. He highlighted the lack of clarity of and vagueness around the boundaries between blatant criminal practices and merely unethical and non-criminalized ones.
To support his arguments, Dr. Donato Vozza illustrated several examples including the revelations that emerged from a series of leaks and scandals (e.g., Panama Papers, Luxleaks, Pandora Papers) which demonstrated how elites and major corporations are deeply involved in obscure tax abusive schemes that are rarely criminalized.
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