Chinese manufacturers scale up sustainability drives
ProcurementLeaders.com - Dec 14th 2011, 10:27
State policy encouragement, together with the growing prestige of corporate sustainability, is pushing Chinese manufacturers to scale up their operational and supply chain sustainability programmes, new research reveals.
The study from research and business membership organisation, The Conference Board, found that cost concerns remain the strongest barrier to the implementation and expansion of sustainability programmes in China. However, government directives, at both local and central levels, are often a decisive factor in defining corporate sustainability strategies.
The study, entitled Business and Sustainability in China: Company Responses to a National Priority, was based on a poll of 476 firms encompassing over 2,250 offices and production sites. It revealed that companies are expanding their definition of sustainability beyond environmental concerns alone to include corporate governance and labor and workplace welfare issues, among other topics.
David J. Vidal, director of The Conference Board Center for Sustainability and one of the co-authors of the report, said: " Business and Sustainability in China is a landmark report because it captures the singular blend of business and government thinking that will be defining sustainability in China.
"How China continues to grow its economy in a more environmentally and socially responsible way is an issue of concern wherever China has an economic impact and, today, that is almost everywhere. We believe this report gives business leaders with an interest in China a view of the nuances of this key question as seen by Chinese peers. It is a touchstone for further discussion, debate, and collaboration."
He added that sustainability reporting and communications is an area where Chinese-run companies have significant opportunity for improvement. In general, companies were found to be uncertain about the costs, benefits, and overall effectiveness of their sustainability initiatives.
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