Magazine article New Zealand Management

MANAGERS ABROAD : Nicki Black, London-Based Sustainability Consultant

Magazine article New Zealand Management

MANAGERS ABROAD : Nicki Black, London-Based Sustainability Consultant

Article excerpt

You are just about to move jobs. Tell us how that came about?

Since finishing my PhD in strategic management at Waikato University last September I have worked with business, civil society and policy organisations as an independent research consultant, based in London. In both my research and as a consultant, I work to promote more responsible enterprise, particularly in areas affected by conflict.

Recent projects have included writing a guidance document for companies and investors on responsible business in conflict areas for the United Nations Global Compact, an assessment of the possibilities of doing business responsibly in North Korea for a large consumer goods company, and a benchmarking of social performance on luxury global jewellery brands. As a result, I have been recruited by De Beers, the worldCOs largest diamond company, as their corporate citizenship manager. I will be working on supporting the integration of sustainability and corporate responsibility issues across the entire diamond value chain Co from mine to storefront Co in the De Beers family of companies.

How does that move fit into your career path?

As a New Zealander born and raised in Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK, I have an international outlook and have always been passionate about global issues. I also have a human sciences degree from Oxford and a Masters in political sociology from McGill, Canada. In my graduate work I have focused on the changing responsibilities of business, civil society and government under globalisation, first in the area of humanitarian advocacy and then in relation to the roles and impacts of global business in areas of very weak governance and conflict. For my PhD I analysed corporate citizenship in the oil and gas industry in Myanmar (Burma), interviewing more than 100 people in seven countries from 2006-2009.

That sounds like a challenging job.

Responsible enterprise is a rapidly emerging field, spanning corporate, policy and civil society action at both local and international levels. Keeping track of what is going on and identifying how best to engage as a scholar and advocate is a challenge. As a normative exercise, the most desirable outcome can be as much in debate, as how to reach it. Working across organisations with very different aims, objectives, cultures and ways of interacting is both a challenge and a joy. …

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