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September 6, 2017

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EU business chamber rewarding sustainability

THE EU Chamber of Commerce’s Shanghai Chapter will present its “2017 Sustainable Business Awards Innovation, Responsibility and Sustainability” at a ceremony on September 12 at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The awards presentation will be preceded by a CSR forum.

As the independent voice of European business in China, the EU Chamber of Commerce in China is dedicated to facilitating and fostering communication between our members and multiple stakeholders to ensure a positive and healthy business environment.

Since its establishment in 2005, the chamber’s CSR Forum has attracted more than 250 European companies including both multinationals and small and medium-sized enterprises from a wide range of industries and various business units.

The 2017 Sustainable Business Awards aim to acknowledge innovation leadership achievements, raise sustainability awareness, and share the responsible business model experiences with organizations looking to embrace responsible business competition in China.

The European Chamber believes that there is an urgent need for European enterprises to integrate social and environmental responsibilities into commercial activities and make competitive responsibility a strong driver for future development.

To raise the awareness of Sustainability Return on Investment in China, the European Chamber chose to cooperate with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to conduct evaluation for its awards.

GIZ is a provider of international cooperation services for sustainable development and international education work with over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment, energy and the environment, and peace and security.

“Generally, it is complex to quantify the value of sustainability, as it can often be defined in various ways, ranging from raising awareness and improving health to reducing pollution,” Phillipp Kruschel, Executive Director of Emerging Market Multinationals Network for Sustainability at GIZ. “To deal with this difficulty, the concept of Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI) was introduced to the EU Chambers assessment methodology.”

SROI finds and combines each stakeholder’s input, activity, output and outcome, and measures changes caused by sustainable investment by finding the appropriate equivalents as well as summarizing various quantitative and qualitative information and financial data.

What is important to note is that applying this methodology also includes the people in charge of finance talking to the people in charge of sustainability in the respective companies.

“We are honored to be the technical partner to European Chamber on the 2017 European Chamber Sustainable Business Awards Shanghai,” Kruschel said. “We know that the chamber plays an important role for European companies in China, as well as the fact that the chamber attaches a lot of importance to the sustainable performance of companies.”

Lu Jianzhong, founder of CSR Thought Lab and Partner at Brunswick, is also committed to promote value-driven CSR practises.

Founded six years ago, CSR Thought Lab has gathered a group of CSR managers, practitioners and researchers from MNCs, domestic companies, social organizations and CSR institutes, with the common goal of creating business and social values, building up positive influences and developing professional careers and capabilities in the CSR area.

“The concept of CSR evolves from basic ‘being good business’, compliance driven to more strategic and integrated approach in companies' business operation, becoming widely embraced as business practises,” said Lu. “It moves towards sustainability that linked organically to the business core values and strategies. CSR managers can become more professional working more closely with other business units and gained significant improvement in their skills.”

He said China is the most active country adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the trend of CSR is moving towards comprehensive integrated sustainability strategy aligned with SDGs and national priorities, focusing more on the responsible role of business and how it gets played in the societal progress, demonstrating company’s financial values alongside their social values.

“For foreign invested business in China, aligning with the host country strategic priority, responding the host country's new market demand, carefully working out their social relevancy, is the right starting point to consider their strategy for growth and sustainable business success,” Lu said. “Having a solid and well integrated CSR system, process and measures is the key to ensure robust implantation. Then making strategic efforts in communicating and engaging with stakeholders are essentially necessary.”

Shanghai Daily is also a partner with the Chamber for the awards.


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