Last Tuesday our staff attended the “Launch of Corporate Social Responsibility Starter Kit” event organized by BENCHAM (BENELUX Chamber of commerce in China) at the Sofitel Shanghai.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs is financing this 2010 CSR program in China. The CSR Starter Kit provides an overview of the complexities companies need to consider when setting up in China. It provided basic ideas regarding responsible practices in the workplace, community and the environment. Furthermore, it covered issues such as health and safety, business practices and product stewardship.   A lot of old ground was covered but it is always interesting to do a little internal auditing and double check our standards.

The event kicked off with the Consul General for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Shanghai, Mr. Eric Verwaal, addressing the audience. Ms. Gerdien Dijkstra (Project Manager at CSR Netherlands) gave a presentation on CSR & sustainable sourcing in China. After that, Mr. James Zhang (Regional Director at Purspective) gave a presentation to emphasize the importance of supply chain’s role in CSR.

Here are the main topics tackled:

  • Overview of standards and legislation related to CSR in China:
  • The China context
  • Business benefits
  • Being responsible to your staff and workers
  • Reducing accidents
  • Looking after the environment
  • Caring for your community
  • Delivering safe and responsible products to your customers
  • Avoiding bribery and corruption
  • Communicating your performance
  • Self Assessment Check List
  • Using Local Resources

After the conference people were invited to discuss on the topic with the speakers and participants. It was a great opportunity to meet people from different industries.

As a buying office we have to deal constantly with our suppliers and make sure they will provide the best service. The promotion of Corporate Social Responsability is very important for ODM since it can be a key determining factory to get better employee relations, better customer loyalty, better brands for our investors and new customers etc…

CSR is important in reducing non financial risks, buiding more robust internal processes and helping to manage liabilities.   Civil society groups, Charities and NGOS in China have become incresingly outspoken and sometimes target businesses in making their views known.  Consumers and regulators have growing expectations and demands on private sector behaviour.

For most of those present, the key reward for being a social compliant factory in China is the chance to become a preferred supplier for major corporate accounts – thus increasing their business.