Social Responsibility. Required.

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While it may be glorious to get rich, blind greed is not welcome in China these days – according to a report in People’s Daily, quoting Cheng Siwei, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress:

    “The practice is serious and widespread among Chinese firms. Like other countries, China can no longer tolerate it”.

It is suggested that some form of legislation may be considered to ensure corporations take social responsibility seriously. And the message was not just intended for the domestic audience (where mining accidents, contaminated food and environmental scandals have threatened social harmony):

    “Even in developing countries, foreign companies that turn a blind eye to their social responsibilities will be kicked out of the market.”

These are pretty strong words, and may be considered another swipe at foreign firms, who have been hearing a lot of similar rhetoric of late (and some of whom, such as Apple, have already suffered bad CSR press. Cheng added:

    “Prompted by both ethics and the law, I believe more and more companies and entrepreneurs will shoulder their share of responsibility to society”.

My advice is to take heed of the suggestion – but some are ahead of the game, and provide ready-made pointers. All Roads Lead to China has announced the set-up of a CSR network, and bimonthly newsletter, in Shanghai for the growing number of CSR professionals. The opening event attracted representatives from “companies like KPMG, Edelman, B&Q, APCO, Shangri -La, and Corning… all organizations who have all worked to introduce CSR programs into China. In addition, members of the EU Chamber and AMCHAM were also in attendance, and representatives from Hands On Shanghai and Roots & Shoots represented the NGO side.”

The blog also highlights some online CSR resources, including:

Foreign companies operating in China should be aware of the changing political wind in relation to investment, wealth, and the harmonious society and should note that, even before the current round of policy initiatives, the government has always looked “in the round” at foreign companies’ activities. Good deeds are noted, and a bank of these can, of course, be useful. However, the real long-term benefit is likely to come from the understanding and trust that engagement with workers, customers and communities can bring.

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3 Responses to “Social Responsibility. Required.”

  1. Archive » CSR On Trial| China Business Blog Says:

    […] a the all-powerful National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC) recently said that it is a requirement. This message was re-iterated at the recent National People’s Congress w […]

  2. Archive » | China Business Blog Says:

    […] h behaviors”. (Poor things!). Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is very much on the political and corporate agenda. While foreign firms are getting a lot of the public flak (as in […]

  3. Archive » Another Bite at a Bad (CSR) Apple| China Business Blog Says:

    […] the truth, it is clear that CSR is an issue in China, and that foreign firms are likely to attract attention. So, whether for pure – or purely […]

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