SHANGHAI, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- "CSR and the China Dream" was the theme of the 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Conference of The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai) held on November 1, 2013 at the Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai.
With the economy in transition, new political leadership and other social-economic factors that are rapidly changing China's CSR landscape, leading experts from business, NGOs and academia discussed the intersection of CSR and Chinese government policies and priorities, as well as opportunities for business to address social and economic needs by creating shared value (CSV) in China.
This year's conference featured leading keynote and guest speakers on sustainability and corporate responsibility practices, including senior executives from Abbott, Coca-Cola, Edelman, ERM, Foundation Strategy Group (FSG), General Motors, InnoCSR, Intel, PwC China, SynTao and ZTE Corporation.
Kenneth Jarrett, President of AmCham Shanghai, said, "As government policy priorities increasingly focus on improving people's well-being through economic development, American companies, building on their strong legacy of making important contributions towards China's economic development over the past three decades, are well positioned to lead the way in promoting sustainable and responsible business practices. Doing so will not only contribute to further economic growth in China, but also bring social, economic and environmental outcomes critical to the improvement of people's quality of life."
Kicking off the conference, Dr. Simon Zadek, visiting scholar at the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University, remarked on recent government policy priorities in China. Zadek said, "It's clear that government regulatory policies are exercising a greater impact on how companies operate in China and deal with social and environmental issues. The move toward more liberalization in the China market opens door to more business opportunities, but it also makes it increasingly important for companies to practice responsible business … Policy innovations that support responsible business should be encouraged by the business community."
Speaking on shared value creation, Mark Kramer, Founder and Managing Director of FSG, a leading U.S. non-profit organization management consultancy, said, "Societal and corporate successes are inextricably linked. Business has an essential role to play in solving problems and doing so also serves the interest of companies themselves." Kramer cited examples of company investments in employee health and capacity building initiatives that make a positive impact on companies' bottom line.
"Creating shared value is about innovation in the nexus of business opportunity, corporate capability and social needs. Companies could create shared value through developing new products and services, redefining productivity in the value chain, as well as solving social problems that confine their business capabilities," continued Kramer.
The panelists also discussed how companies in China are increasingly reshaping their CSR strategies to meet rising market demands, opportunities and government policy as well as developing practical tools to "localize" and implement their China CSR plans.
Friday's conference drew more than 200 attendees, mainly senior professionals from companies, NGOs, non-profit organizations and academic research institutions. Also joining the event were 13 CSR fellows AmCham Shanghai selected from a very competitive pool of applicants across China, Europe and the United States to participate in the conference. AmCham Shanghai covered their fees for conference attendance.
The fellowship program aims to inspire and develop young professionals in a CSR career. AmCham Shanghai views developing new talent in the CSR field as critical to advancing sustainable practices in China. The fellowship program was established last year as part of the Chamber's newly created Business Council for Sustainability and Responsibility (BCSR). The mission of BCSR is to promote CSR, sustainability awareness and best practices; and advance public policies to ensure long-term social and economic well-being in China.
At the 2013 CSR Conference, AmCham Shanghai also kicked off nominations for the 2013–2014 CSR Awards in six categories -- Leadership, Innovation, Partnership, Employee Engagement, Practitioner and Entrepreneurship. Selection of awardees will be announced in spring 2014.
About AmCham Shanghai
AmCham Shanghai is known as the "Voice of American Business" in China, is the largest and fastest growing American Chamber in the Asia-Pacific region. Founded in 1915, AmCham Shanghai was the third American Chamber established outside the United States. As a non-profit, non-partisan business organization, AmCham Shanghai is committed to the principles of free trade, open markets, private enterprise and the unrestricted flow of information.
AmCham Shanghai's mission is to support the success of our members by promoting a healthy business environment in China, strengthening U.S.-China commercial ties and providing high-quality business information and resources.
Visit www.amcham-shanghai.org for more information about AmCham Shanghai.
SOURCE The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai