Sustainable development a common concern

The sustainable development of China is not only an issue cared about by the government but is a common concern of China's business community.

That was according to delegates in a meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), held in Beijing yesterday.

It was also the latest reaction of China's business circle to Premier Wen Jiabao's recent confession that the Chinese Government failed to achieve certain environmental targets during the 10th Five Year Plan.

"Business and government sectors, together with relevant institutions and social communities, should join hands for the common goal," said Wang Jiming, Executive Chairman of the Chinese Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD) and Vice-Chairman of Sinopec Corp.

Wang pointed out that as they are the backbone of China's economy, the contribution made by Chinese enterprises to this matter has a bearing on China's future.

He emphasized that Chinese enterprises, especially big ones, should incorporate sustainable development into their long-term strategies and roll out this philosophy in all walks of life.

Furthermore, the enterprises should turn the sustainable development concept into day-to-day action to try to guarantee sustainable development and our historical responsibility.

Yesterday's meeting of delegates was jointly held by WBCSD and CBCSD.

According to Chen Jinhua, chairman of China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) and China Enterprise Directors' Association, entrepreneurs have more important functions than ever.

CEC expects Chinese entrepreneurs, especially the really influential ones, to not only do a good job in their own businesses but also set an example and take a leading position in their industries. They should integrate related principles into their own development strategies, operational philosophy and corporate behaviour in order to fulfil their corporate social responsibility.

Companies work with CEC to promote sustainable development. Currently, such prominent Chinese companies include Sinopec, CNPC, Baosteel, Haier, COSCO, and China Railway.

Advanced experience from foreign counterparts is also a good remedy.

Arcelor was the first steelmaker to sign a worldwide agreement on the principles of corporate social responsibility with the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF).

It encourages Chinese companies to pay attention to production risks and work safety management, protect the environment and preserve scarce resources.

It also urges them to talk to stakeholders and focus on the development of skills and innovation to create value and support sustainable development.

It tells them to adhere to corporate governance rules.

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