Corporate social responsibility in focus
Updated: 2013-09-20 16:44
By Amy He in New York (China Daily)
Panelists at the State-Owned Enterprises discussion at the UN on Thursday included Huang Wensheng of Sinopec (right). Amy He / China Daily
Speakers from various nations, including China, discussed the importance of state-owned enterprises practicing corporate responsibility and sustainability at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2013 on Thursday.
The panel, hosted by the Department of Public Enterprises of India, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the UN, focused on how state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in various countries can implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives into their business strategies.
The panelists included Huang Wensheng, secretary to the Board of Directors of Sinopec; A.K. Pavadia, joint secretary of the Department of Public Enterprises of India; and Jeanette Iren Moen, state secretary of the Ministry of Finance of Norway, among others.
"The post-2015 era presents an historic opportunity for the international business community to contribute to global sustainability and development objectives, and governments are uniquely positioned to guide further action by companies toward sustainable development," reads a statement on the Leaders Summit website.
Discussing Sinopec's priorities in corporate responsibility, Huang emphasized that the original purpose of Sinopec was "to serve the people". The company served the people by providing fuel and transportation for their clothes, their food and their livelihood, Huang said.
"We started our business to build the communities first," he said. "We pay great attention to the people's needs, rather than the profits of the shareholders."
Huang also mentioned employment opportunities that Sinopec has provided, as well as how Sinopec's taxes contribute to the Chinese government. They currently employ one million people and the taxes they pay account for 3 percent of the government's budget, Huang said.
Sinopec has a social responsibility committee and is the first SOE to have such a mechanism in place, Huang said. The committee reviews Sinopec's social responsibility issues and now, "some 80 percent of SOEs in China have this kind of arrangement", he said.
Being an energy and chemical enterprise, Sinopec is also focused on environmental issues. "We take environmental protection and caring for the climate as a priority," Huang said.
Huang mentioned Sinopec's new Clean Water and Blue Sky Project, which Sinopec implemented in July. The project focuses on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and ammonia to the national standards, according to their website. Sinopec will invest 22.6 billion yuan in the project and "aims to create a better living environment for the neighborhood so as to reach a harmonious and win-win ecological relation".
"Companies can make profits and protect the environment at the same time through responsible investment and production," Fu Chengyu, president of Sinopec, said.
"Enterprises are the major players to solve global environmental issues," said Georg Kell, executive director of the UN's Global Compact. "The companies can improve green technology and promote its application through their efforts."
(China Daily USA 09/20/2013 page1)