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More domestic enterprises set sights on CSR

By Zhao Qian  (Global Times)

08:06, April 23, 2012

More Chinese enterprises, especially private ones, are likely to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities next year, a top UN official told the Global Times in an exclusive interview yesterday.

"Over 700 companies are expected to voluntarily join in the Global Compact, a global policy initiative focused on business areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption," Georg Kell, executive director of the United Nations Global Compact Office, told the Global Times at the 2012 Annual Summit of China Green Companies.

"One of the big incentives for Chinese companies to engage in the Global Compact is to understand the environmental, social and governance issues, because they will meet economic barriers if they are not familiar with those questions when they invest overseas," noted Kell.

The Global Compact, which is the world's largest corporate citizenship initiative under the United Nations, has over 7,000 company members worldwide so far.

A total of 260 Chinese enterprises have joined the Compact, only 15 of which are State-owned companies with the others being private, according to Kell.

Kell said "maybe in the future more State-owned enterprises will join in the Compact when they face more serious market-oriented competition."

Some private companies complained that the government has not offered enough material incentives for the companies who have focused on CSR activities.

"The cost of building low-carbon buildings will be higher, but we have not received material support including tax reduction, from the government," Tian Ming, chairman of Landsea Group Co, a developer focused on low-carbon buildings, told the Global Times at the forum yesterday.

Zhang Yue, president of Broad Group, one of the country's leading central air conditioner manufacturers, told the Global Times yesterday that the company would focus on lowering carbon investments in future, adding that Broad Group would stand to benefit as its consumers grew morw aware about CSR policies and their effects.

Although Kell said that government support is important, he said enterprises should push forward CSR activities ahead of time.

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