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The CSR Asia Summit 2012 successfully holds in Beijing

CSR Asia
2012-09-24 18:09 1505

Responding to Global Challenges Through Innovation and Social Responsibility

BEIJING, Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The CSR Asia Summit 2012 held on 18th and 19th September in Beijing was a great success. At the two-day conference, more than 450 delegates comprising Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) experts, governments, NGOs, enterprises, and academics participated in discussions around "Local Innovation for Global Challenges".

Opening the conference, Mao Yu-shi, Economist and Founder of Unirule Institute of Economics, Tang Min, Counsellor of the State Council and Executive Vice-Chairperson of China Social Entrepreneur Foundation, Michael Schreiber, Co-President of GBCHealth, and Richard Welford, Chairman of CSR Asia delivered opening remarks, encouraging delegates to think more deeply about their social responsibilities.

Many of the discussions were about China playing a different role in the world: moving from being the "world's factory" to a key market, a major global economy and home to an increasing number of world-class companies.

Along with these changes, the CSR landscapes in China and Asian countries have been changing too. Greater emphasis by governments to encourage CSR through regulation and voluntary initiatives has increased the number of companies adopting and reporting on their CSR initiatives.  An increasingly vocal and sophisticated stakeholder base also means that companies are experiencing increasing pressure to demonstrate social responsibility. An increasingly affluent customer base is developing and many consumers are increasingly interested in green and ethical products. The rising popularity of the social media has facilitated public awareness and discussions about social and environmental issues. All these changes are challenging enterprises in Asia to develop CSR strategies and corporate communications to meet higher expectations and promote sustainable development. 

Richard Welford, the Chairman of CSR Asia, said in his opening remarks: "China is facing the most dramatic changes in economics, politics, culture and social development since the reform of market economy 20 years ago. The rapid development of the Chinese economy and changes in society is having a huge influence on the economic landscape of the entire world. This is one reason why we wanted to have the leading Asian CSR event in Beijing this year. China has a significant role to play in promoting CSR in China and across the whole of Asia. Businesses will respond to these changes and will develop new and innovative strategies around CSR. CSR Asia hopes to gather CSR leaders together to discuss the role of business in finding solutions to the challenges of sustainable development." Economist Mao Yu-shi also said, "In China, we are facing rapid economic development. Stakeholders want to understand how business and government can work together to contribute to sustainable social development."

The 2012 CSR Asia Summit included roundtable discussions linked to four themes: CSR Problems and Challenges, Stakeholders, CSR Information Disclosure, and Solutions. Topics included: Water Recourses, Climate Change, Energy Issues, Public Health and CSR Strategy. The challenges associated with sustainable development were debated and the role of multinational and local companies discussed.

Valuable experiences of CSR practices in businesses were shared too. Addressing to the Local Innovations for Global Challenges, Director of Sustainability at Coca-Cola, Aurora Chen introduced in a roundtable meeting about their "5 BY 20" programme - involving 5 million women by 2020.  She said: "Women around the world are already pillars of our business system. We are building on that foundation by implementing programmes to help 5 million women entrepreneurs throughout the Coca-Cola value chain to start their own business. Through the "5 BY 20" programme, we hope to provide women with training, financing services and other help, to help them develop their own business."

"Problems and Challenges"

In the session on "Problems and Challenges", discussions included tackling enterprises' water management, adapting to climate change, exploring efficient energy, and contributing to disaster preparedness and public health systems. Companies shared their experiences and provided practical suggestions and ideas on natural resource management. Many delegates saw water as an important part of every company's value chain. No matter whether it is in production, operations, transportation, or consumption, water is becoming a big issue. Thus, proper water management was seen as useful and valuable to every enterprise.

In addition, discussing post-disaster reconstruction in Japan, participants raised their views and opinions about how disasters were changing enterprises' awareness and understanding of responsibility, as well as how companies could establish and roll out disaster prevention and response systems when needed.

"Information Disclosure"

The Summit gave special attention to how social media impacts on the trends associated with CSR. The emerging social media is rapidly growing and involving more and more people. This has led to more participative discussions about the social and environmental aspects of sustainable development. We can see that across Asia people now have access to move information and have an effective way of communicating about social and environmental challenges. The "Information Disclosure" session discussed the most material issues that are concerned to the public. It also discussed new trends on reporting and the establishment of new types of information disclosure utilising social media.

Jean-Michel Dumont, Chairman of Ruder Finn Asia, hosted the workshop discussing he challenges of the social media and links to CSR. He said: "With a wide range of different stakeholders more involved in CSR practices, it is important for companies to work closely with other stakeholders, creating partnerships for change. In the era of the new social media, enterprises in the future can becomes advocates for change and can work with government and others to encourage better public discussions and involvement in finding sustainable development solutions. Speaking about how an enterprise should disclose the information to the stakeholders, Tencent's strategic cooperation with the World Food Programme (WFP) was given as an example. Tencent showed how they use social media platforms to encourage people to participate in the projects in an effective way."

"Stakeholders" and "Solutions"

Globalisation is providing opportunities and challenges for businesses. The session on "Stakeholders" addressed the expectations of governments, civil society organisations and examined how to develop effective partnerships with stakeholders.

In the final session about "Solutions", delegates discussed how innovation and CSR was playing its role in economics, in social development and in establishing sustainable value chains. Discussions in this session included the sustainable sourcing of raw materials and crisis management for companies.

During the Summit, more than 50 local social enterprises, NGOs, and foundations took part in the CSR Marketplace, showcasing their innovative solutions around sustainable development, and communicating and discussing with representatives from enterprises about their projects and programmes.

The Summit was not only a great platform for various organizations to understand and analyse issues associated with CSR, it also highlighted some of the most important CSR trends in China and the rest of Asia. This provided CSR experts with insights into new and innovative ideas for their own performance, as well as contributed to China's CSR development.

CSR Asia is pleased to recognize PR Newswire Asia as the Official Newswire Partner of the CSR Asia Summit 2012

About the Organiser: CSR Asia

CSR Asia is the leading provider of information, training, research and consultancy services on sustainable business practices in Asia. Focused on sustainable business practices, CSR Asia provides to enterprises and their stakeholders the cutting edge information, training, study and consultation services and promotes a balanced and sustainable development between Economics, Environment, and Society across the Asia Pacific region.

www.csr-asia.com

About the Communication Partner: Ruder Finn

Ruder Finn Inc. is one of the largest independent integrated communication firms in the world, with offices and branches around the world. Through these offices and its affiliates worldwide, the agency serves the global and local communication needs of over 250 corporations, governments and non-profit organizations.  In China, Ruder Finn is the first PR agency that established a professional team for CSR consultancy and dissemination.

http://cn.ruderfinnasia.com/

Media Inquiry:

Ruder Finn Public Relations Consulting CSR Asia
HouXiaoying Vivian Zheng
Tel: +86-138-1061-0929 Tel: +86-138-1081-5480
E-Mail: houx@ruderfinnasia.com  E-Mail: vivian.zheng@csr-asia.com 
Source: CSR Asia
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