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Beijing, 29 June 2007—An International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate citizenship was held today in Beijing, featuring over 500 prominent business leaders, government representatives, civil society leaders and academia. Jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC), the event provided a unique platform to exchange experiences between domestic and multinational companies operating in China and showcase the powerful contributions that businesses can make in building a harmonious society through the integration of the Principles of the United Nations Global Compact into the company’s strategic vision and operating practices.
“The forum will provide participants with practical direction and tools to improve their organization and its contributions to building a harmonious society, said Zhang Yanning, Executive President of CEC at the opening ceremony.
Highly refined and solutions-oriented, this event was an opportunity for peer-to-peer interactions and exchanges on pragmatic solutions and operational toolkits for challenges and dilemmas facing the corporate community in China, such as CSR as a tool to enhanced business performance and competitiveness, CSR from a branding perspective, how to integrate CSR into corporate strategies, and the practical meaning of responsible corporate citizenship.
“Business, trade and investment are essential pillars of peace and prosperity. As a major component of society, business has a vital role and a clear responsibility to help address the world’s most pressing challenges and improve lives of the poor, said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordination and Resident Representative in China during the open ceremony.
Malik stressed that this year marks the midway point in the efforts to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by world leaders six years ago to rid the world of poverty, and to promote human dignity, equality, peace and environmental sustainability by 2015.
“The Millennium Development Goals can not be achieved without the private sector participation,” he said.
This CSR conference in Beijing was a prepatory meeting for the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit to be held on 5-6 July in Geneva, Switzerland, which is expected to be the largest and most significant global event on the topic of leadership and corporate citizenship.
“The leaders’ summit would drive home the message that adhering to its core human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption issues would better position corporations and organizations in navigating the challenges of globalization. Today, more than 4,000 companies from over 120 countries have participated in the Global Compact – including 116 companies from China,” said Malik.
More than 80 Chinese business leaders will participate in the Leaders Summit, which is the largest group for Chinese business to take part in a high-level global CSR event.