Corporate Social Responsibility: Moving Beyond Philanthropy
Against the backdrop of the ongoing financial crisis, The 5th Multinational Corporations Leaders Roundtable has provided a timely boost to sustainable development efforts, with companies being encouraged to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through their overseas operations. The launch of this annual event was co-hosted by UNDP and the China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporations (CICPMC) and was followed by a number of separate events on the status of world economic development and the need for companies to ensure that their business activities in developing countries focus not just on their own needs, but the overall sustainability of the environment and communities they operate in.
In a speech delivered on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNDP Country Director Mr. Christophe Bahuet expressed confidence that the private sector can play a vital role in pushing technological boundaries, providing affordable and environmentally-friendly goods and services, and creating jobs that reduce poverty for billions of people around the world. Later in the event, he also spoke of the benefits that companies stand to gain through engaging in CSR, including enhanced branding and consumer confidence. The event was attended senior government officials and business leaders including Mr. Zheng Wantong, Vice-Chairman of the CPPCC, Mr. Steve Orlins, President of the National Committee on US-China Relations and Mr. Regis Calmels, Senior Executive Vice President of Veolia Water. Professor Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics and senior economist Cheng Siwei were among the economic experts present at the event.