Pilot launches for global corporate-academic initiative

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A pilot project launched this week marks a major new step forward in what promises to be the world’s largest corporate sustainability research initiative. Golden, a global corporate-academic research center network, begins its first pilot with Codan based in Denmark. The company is Scandinavia’s third-largest insurer. The Interdisciplinary Centre for Organizational Architecture (ICOA) at Aarhus University in Denmark, a Golden network research center, is leading the development of the pilot.

“Codan is very committed to sustainability, and we believe that Golden is a very interesting and relevant project,” says CSR Manager Dorte Eckhoff, Codan. “We are particularly interested in the research questions about how to measure the impact of our sustainability initiatives and we will also assess whether the Golden project will give us new knowledge which we have not already collected through our internal and external auditing and reporting.”

The company participates in Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting. It has several key concerns within sustainability. One is the impact of climate change on house insurance. Another is measuring the impact of companies’ employee health programs on the health insurance.

“Codan’s focus on performance measurements of sustainability is very timely for many companies and totally in line with the research perspective that we have integrated into Golden,” says the ICOA Professors Kai Kristensen and Jacob Kjær Eskildsen. Along with the Visiting Professor Rick Edgemann of the University of Idaho, they are already researching the issue. Development of the relationship has been led by ICOA Head professor Borge Obel and Golden Communications and Corporate Engagement Coordinator Penille Kallehave who also is also ICOA Head of Development.

“This is an excellent example of how Golden can pull together several partners to accelerate corporate paths to sustainable business models and the knowledge necessary for their development,” comments Golden Academic Director Maurizio Zollo. “We are confident we will be at the leading edge of corporate sustainability.”

Golden will be announcing other pilot partnerships in the near future. These pilots will further develop the research strategy of Golden. Approximately half a dozen are anticipated to be completed by the middle of next year, when their findings will be integrated and applied with more companies, eventually numbering several hundred.

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