About the Peterson Series

The Peterson Series is the Center for Responsible Business’ flagship speaker series.  It convenes future business innovators, forward-thinking academics, and distinguished business leaders to discuss and move us forward toward a sustainable future.  Each semester has a theme that explores emerging areas requiring vision and leadership from Berkeley-Haas MBA students, corporate partners, and faculty members.

The Peterson Series was created in 1997 through a generous gift from Rudolph Peterson (1904-2003), a 1925 UC Berkeley graduate and former CEO and President of Bank of America.  All throughout his career leading Bank of America onto the global stage in the 1960s and heading the United Nations Development Programme in the 1970s, Mr. Peterson never lost sight of what was really important: helping those with less.  He became a notable philanthropist later in life, bringing integrity and dedication to his pursuit of serving others.

The Peterson Series is an embodiment of the man it is named for: bold, forward-thinking, and possessing a resolute view that businesses should be productive and ethical contributors to society.

Spring 2015: The Role of Multinational Corporations in Improving Human Rights

Two years ago, the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing more than one thousand people, revealing the poor conditions for factory workers in the region. Since the incident, two brand-backed initiatives have helped change those conditions. With the support of international brands such as The Gap Inc. and H&M, The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety have inspected almost two-thirds of the country’s factories and improved their safety standards. Not surprisingly, a recent study released by Globescan and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) shows that human rights and labor rights are viewed as top priorities by sustainability leaders and those working in CSR. 

What is the role of business in promoting human rights abroad?  How can multinational corporations have a positive impact on human rights and minimize their negative impact? 

This semester our Peterson Series will explore the impact of human rights in global supply chains and the role of government and civil society organizations as they work with businesses to promote human rights initiatives. The series will feature vice presidents and c-level executives from Levi Strauss & Co., IKEA (retired), and Fair Trade USA, as well as thought leaders from BSR and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Our speakers will address how companies can go beyond an attitude of compliance to create programs that improve workers’ well-being in their factories and communities.

Please check the Upcoming Events page for up-to-date event details.

Past Peterson Events

For detailed event descriptions, go to our Past Events page.


About the Peterson Series