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Robert Strand - Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, CA, US

Robert Strand Robert Strand

Lecturer | Executive Director, Center for Responsible Business | Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley


Leading expert on Nordic sustainable business and Nordic capitalism


Areas of Expertise (4)

Nordic Sustainable Business

Nordic Capitalism

Corporate Social Responsibility

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


Robert Strand is the Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Business and Lecturer at the Berkeley Haas School of Business. His research and teaching compares U.S. and Nordic approaches to sustainable and socially responsible business. He has more recently turned attention to contrast varieties of capitalism in the U.S. and Nordic contexts and is currently working on the book project "Sustainable Vikings." He was a United States Fulbright Scholar to Norway.

Prior to joining academia as a professor with the Copenhagen Business School, Strand spent a decade in industry with IBM and Boston Scientific in a range of roles in manufacturing, supply chain, marketing, strategy, and investor relations. He holds a PhD in corporate social responsibility from the Copenhagen Business School, an MBA in international business from the University of Minnesota (completed at HEC-Paris), and a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin. With his wife Sarah, he is the proud parent of two wonderful boys.





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Beyond Yourself — Advancing Human Rights in Business Robert Strand interviews Patagonia President CEO Rose Rose Marcario Keynote: Robert Strand on Sustainable Vikings


Education (3)

Copenhagen Business School: PhD, Doctoral School of Organization & Management Studies

University of Minnesota: MBA, International Business

University of Wisconsin: BS, Industrial Engineering

Honors & Awards (9)

Berkeley Haas Case of the Year Award 2019

for "Patagonia's Path to Carbon Neutrality by 2025"

Berkeley Haas Case of the Year Award 2017

for "Patagonia: Driving Sustainable Innovation by Embracing Tensions"

Nykredit CSR Research Talent Award


Society for Business Ethics Founders’ Award


Next Generation Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Scholar Award


Bush Leadership Fellow & Award, Archibald Bush Foundation


Society for Business Ethics Emerging Scholar Award


Net Impact Distinguished Member Award


U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Norway


Positions Held (1)

At Haas since 2014

2014 – present, Executive Director, Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business 2014 – present, Lecturer, Berkeley Haas 2012 – 2014, Assistant Professor of Leadership & Sustainability, Copenhagen Business School 2009 – 2012, Ph.D. Fellow, Copenhagen Business School 2006 – 2009, Principal Market Planner, Boston Scientific Corporation 2005 – 2006, U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Norway 2003 – 2005, Industrial Engineer, Boston Scientific Corporation 1999 – 2003, Industrial Engineer, IBM Corporation

Media Appearances (15)

Business schools wake up and smell the (ESG) coffee

Financial Times  online


Berkeley Haas is launching a new course on how to integrate sustainability into business strategy. Robert Strand, executive director of the Center for Responsible Business, says the pandemic has put “stakeholder capitalism on steroids.” It has “exposed and worsened inequalities, but it’s also an opportunity to change the narrative of capitalism, and redefine the purpose of a corporation,” he said.

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Corporate America's response to restrictive voting laws in Georgia and Texas isn't benevolence. It's about economics and profit, experts say.

Business Insider  online


Executives from more than 200 countries have spoken out against Georgia’s new restrictive voting laws. But Lecturer Robert Strand, executive director of the Center for Responsible Business, said sometimes the message is more for the company’s employees than an actual moral stance because “increasingly, employees of these companies expect their leaders to take a stand on matters of societal importance,” he said.

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Hail the Era of Activist CEOs - When Purpose and Platform Converge

Triple Pundit  online


Successful leaders, including an emerging group of activist CEOs, can use their platform to shine a spotlight on important sustainability issues—and when times are tough or challenges too great to solve alone, they form cross-sector alliances with unconventional partners to get tough things done. Lecturer Robert Strand, executive director of the Center for Responsible Business, calls this the Scandinavian cooperative advantage, which is enshrined in the Scandinavian culture.

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Covid-19 proves the Nordics have an edge in building silent societies

Nordic Business  online


The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how fragile our societies are. But the Nordic economies and businesses are better positioned to emerge from the crisis because they've long focused on building resiliency, says Robert Strand, executive director of the Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business.

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Coinbase’s rejection of corporate social responsibility creates a stir, but it shouldn't be a shocker

San Francisco Business Times  online


Coinbase's CEO has pledged the company will remain focused on profit, with no distraction from the interests of other stakeholders or corporate responsibility. Robert Strand, executive director of the Center for Responsible Business, disagrees with the stance, arguing "Friedman’s dogmatic assertion that the purpose of business is profits is like saying the purpose of life is to breathe oxygen," said "They are both necessary for survival but represent a pretty lousy thing to live for."

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Companies Are Failing To Deliver On Stakeholder Capitalism

Business Because  online


Last year, the Business Roundtable (BRT), a nonprofit association of CEOs from major U.S. companies, issued a statement that businesses should bring value to all stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, communities—in addition to shareholders. Robert Strand, executive director of The Center for Responsible Business (CRB) at Haas, said that CEOs must advocate for changes to support this stakeholder view. "COVID-19 has exposed the incredible fragilities of an American model of capitalism and we need business leaders to step up and advocate for smart policy measures to build a more resilient society," he said.

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Post-Coronavirus: Sustainability-Focused Investment As The New Normal?

Forbes  online


They reflect the Nordic philosophy that’s still in evidence today, says Robert Strand, executive director of the Center for Responsible Business at Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.

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Coronavirus: How one small San Jose business came back from the brink

Mercury News  online


In the past two weeks, about one-third of small companies in the U.S. have temporarily shut down and about one in five small businesses say they are two months or less away from closing permanently. But Lecturer Robert Strand, executive director of the Center for Responsible Business, believes the challenges brought by the crisis could foster solidarity.

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US can learn from Nordic countries’ response to COVID-19, UC Berkeley experts say

Daily Californian  online


A group of academics, including Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School Laura Tyson and Lecturer Robert Strand, the executive director of the Center for Responsible Business, came together to discuss the response of Nordic countries to the pandemic. While all the countries differ, access to health care is likely to play a large role in economic recovery from the pandemic.

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Under pressure on all fronts to move beyond ‘profits at all costs’, business schools are making sustainability part of the core MBA curriculum

Find MBA  online


Strand says that MBA students look deep into a companies’ ethos and strategy to ensure they are “walking the talk”. “If a company has a recycling initiative, that wouldn't qualify as a social initiative in the minds of our students,” he says.

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AI is coming. What does that mean for business education?

Poets & Quants  online


Robert Strand, Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Business, warns students can be too focused on the undeniable power of machine learning, and not the risks. "My concern involves the unintended consequences of AI – the aspects that were not by design but nevertheless are an outcome in a world where AI is everywhere," he said.

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Jeans giant adopts new operating model

Innovators Magazine  online


Robert Strand, executive director for the Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business, added: “This is a significant win for the industry. It’s inspiring to see how LS&Co. used constraints to drive innovation, paving the way for a more sustainable apparel industry. This is an important step forward that I hope others will follow.”

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MBA Application: 6 Of The Best US Business Schools For Social Impact

Business Because  online


Of the school’s commitment to addressing social and environmental challenges, Robert Strand, executive director of Haas’ Center for Responsible Business said: “We live and breathe social impact at Berkeley. Berkeley-Haas is a pioneer innovating social impact solutions, from our longstanding Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) to our expansive curricular opportunities, which include our Social Lean Launchpad course and our hosting of the annual Patagonia Case Competition.”

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How CEOs Decided Trump Is a Bad Investment

Fortune  online


CEOs have been rapidly fleeing President Trump’s business councils. The CEOs of Merck, Intel, Under Armour (UAA, +1.46%)—and now 3M (MMM, +0.88%) and Campell’s Soup (CPB, -0.59%)—are all gone. I just got up to get a cup of coffee. Did I miss anything? Oh, the president disbanded the business councils altogether. Hold on—another update: United Technologies (UTX, +1.72%) CEO Greg Hayes just resigned from the council. Sorry Greg, you’ve got to move a lot faster than that to stay ahead of the perpetual turmoil that is Donald Trump.

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How Businesses Can Profit with Purpose

San Francisco Chronicle  online


How do you motivate someone to work?

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Selected Papers & Publications (10)

Patagonia: Driving Sustainable Innovation by Embracing Tensions

California Management Review

Robert Strand and Dara O’Rourke


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Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in Scandinavia: An Overview

Journal of Business Ethics

Robert Strand, R. Edward Freeman, and Kai Hockerts


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CSR and Beyond. A Nordic Perspective

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

Mette Morsing, Robert Strand


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Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage: The Theory and Practice of Stakeholder Engagement in Scandinavia

Journal of Business Ethics

Robert Strand and R Edward Freeman


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Strategic Leadership of Corporate Sustainability

Journal of Business Ethics

Robert Strand


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The Chief Officer of Corporate Social Responsibility: a Study of Its Presence in Top Management Teams

Journal of Business Ethics

Robert Strand


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Toward Sustainable Sustainability Learning: Lessons from a U.S. MBA study abroad program to Scandinavia

Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability

Robert Strand


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Exploring the Role of Leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review

Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics

Robert Strand


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Corporate Responsibility in Scandinavian Supply Chains

Journal of Business Ethics

Robert Strand


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The Stakeholder Dashboard

Greener Management International and The Journal of Corporate Environmental Strategy and Practice

Robert Strand


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Teaching (3)

Sustainable Business in the Nordics


Sustainable Business in the Nordics

MBA 292C

Sustainable Business in the Nordics