Jagdish N. Sheth is Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Business in the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Prof. Sheth has over 50 years of combined experience in teaching and research at the University of Southern California, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia University, MIT, and Emory University.
Professor Sheth is the recipient of all four top awards given by the American Marketing Association: the Richard D. Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator Award, the Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for market research, the P.D. Converse Award for outstanding contributions to theory in marketing, and the William Wilkie Award for marketing for a better society. He is also a Fellow of the AMA, ACR, AMS, and APA.
Professor Sheth is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Science, awarded by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2016), and Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, awarded by Shiv Nadar University (2017). In 2019, he was presented the Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest faculty honor at Emory University. Professor Sheth has authored or coauthored more than three hundred papers and several books. His latest book is Genes, Climate and Consumption Culture: Connecting the Dots (2017) and most recently, The Sustainability Edge, which he presented to PM Modi.
Founder and Chairman of Sheth Leadership Academy, Prof. Sheth was in Bangalore/India recently. Dr. Anil Jaggi, CSR Expert & Executive Editor, had opportunity to meet and interact with him on various pressing issues on CSR & Sustainability, sharing glimpses of his Interview.[divider][/divider]
Q: What is your say on 21st Century business models, emerging trends in new borderless world & relevance of Sustainability?
I think India’s bold move to levy 2 percent tax on corporate income for CSR is probably a new norm for the world. It may be more appropriate to tax corporate wealth as well as personal wealth.
Q: As a Marketing Guru, you consider Sustainability just as subject, strategy or it should be Integral part of business DNA.
Q: Would you like to share some information about your book “The Sustainability Edge”, which you presented to PM of India Mr Narendra Modi.
This is because there is lack of awareness about the positive economic consequences if we embrace sustainability. Unfortunately, it has to be a collective effort and a global movement by all stakeholders. Sustainability is also a marketing problem. Therefore, business needs to advocate sustainability to all stakeholders. We have identified nine stakeholders: consumers, customers, and employees are those who make a direct impact; suppliers, investors and communities are what we refer to as enablers; and NGOs, government and media who make an indirect impact. The book provides a road map of how to engage each of the nine stakeholders in the sustainability movement.
Q: Do you feel Business fraternity can contribute to achieve UN –SDGs, just by behaving responsibly or need to play proactive role.
Q: What is your opinion on New Company Act 2013 of Indian Govt. , making CSR spending mandatory & tangible progress, if any, in the past 5/6 yrs as CSR compliance country?
While it may be abused (which is true of any form of tax) or not delivered the promise, CSR has made businesses realize that the purpose of business is more than business. As I mentioned earlier, I prefer a wealth tax on corporations as well as individuals. It is the wealth disparity which is as critical as income inequality.
Q: Despite of India’s economic growth, we still lag behind with languish ranking at 130 out of 189 nations at Human Development Index (HDI) as measured by the United Nations (UN), how this picture is going to change?
What is missing are the initiatives by faith-based organizations. Indian faith emphasizes self-improvement through devotion and Bhakti. If it can be catalysed to serve the disadvantaged, India can achieve significant progress in human development.
Q: What are your suggestions for young age startups & VCs. Do we need to set some benchmark for them on Sustainability on the line of UN PRI (Principle of Responsible Investments)?
Q: How Consumer behaviour & strategic ‘stakeholder engagement’ can be competitive advantage for Responsible businesses in India, compare to other developed nation & economies.
To me, Capitalism is a force similar to id in Freud’s theory. The entrepreneur is the ego. If you allow ego to use the force, it may be self-destructive. The ego needs a superego (social norms) to channel ego’s energy in the right direction. To take another analogy, capitalism is like a wild river which can flood and destroy the inhabitants. It needs to be banked or tamed to be useful to society.
Q: Your suggestions for young entrepreneurs & VCs for top-line growth and bottom-line results.