Mellon executive discusses social responsibility

By Julian Routh | The Duquesne Duke

Fred Blauth | Photo Editor

John Buckley, managing director for corporate social responsibility for BNY Mellon, brought his presentation, “What Color Is Your Corporate Social Responsibility?”, to the Bayer Learning Center on Wednesday afternoon.

Buckley spoke to a group of more than 100 students, faculty and guests in the Pappert Lecture Hall as part of the Beard Institute’s Distinguished Ethics Speaker Series in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. The Beard Institute is a part of the business school that focuses on business ethics. The series, in its 24th year, brings distinguished lecturers to the University to discuss business topics in relation to business ethics, sustainability and responsible financial management.

After a welcome from Bill O’Rourke, executive director of The Beard Institute, and an introduction from assistant professor Paul Klein, Buckley began his presentation with a background of where he came from, acknowledging his Episcopalian faith and experience with change management.

Afterwards, Buckley displayed images of company logos on a screen behind him. He then opened up the lecture to audience participation, encouraging the crowd to describe each company’s corporate social responsibilities towards humanity.

Buckley summarized the importance of managing social responsibilities by asking, “What are you doing for human beings?” He proceeded to direct the question towards his own company.

BNY Mellon, the largest employer in Downtown Pittsburgh, manages $29.7 trillion in assets; something that Buckley said makes them the “investments company for the world.” To display their social responsibility, Buckley brought up the company’s actions in wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“After Hurricane Sandy, a lot of our employees couldn’t get to work,” Buckley said. “Instead, we said, ‘Go help your neighbor and we’ll give you $20 per hour for volunteering to Red Cross.’”

He also said BNY Mellon was one of the first organizations to give $1 million to the relief effort.

To end the presentation, Buckley asked the audience what they are doing to fulfill their social responsibilities. After a handful of responses, Buckley concluded with a summary of what it means to be socially responsible in the current climate of business and management.

“Companies, yes, are about profit to a certain degree. But it’s not all about the money,” Buckley said. “It’s about being authentic, excellent and caring and doing the best you can.”

Reflecting on the event, sophomore financing and accounting major John Kariss said that it “went really well.” As for what he learned, Kariss took away one significant aspect from Buckley’s lecture.

“The fact that ‘money isn’t everything’ would be the basis,” Kariss said.

On the other hand, junior accounting major Rachel Eyles said the presentation had no relation to her classwork, and that writing an essay about it for class would be “difficult.”

“I’m here for my business ethics class, and it didn’t seem like [Buckley] talked about anything we learned in class,” Eyles said.

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