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More and more international companies in China are shifting to a "greener" culture as the central government makes no bones about its resolution to create a more environmentally friendly economy, as discussed and determined at the recently concluded two sessions.
The global soft drink provider Coca-Cola Co unveiled a series of what it called "sustainable" and "socially-committed" events on March 19.
Marking the start of the campaign, the beverage company, in cooperation with Taiwan retailer RT-Mart, launched the use of fluorine-free environmentally friendly fridges that use carbon dioxide as a coolant at several Shanghai stores.
The company says it will also launch a fundraising project at 230 RT-Mart stores across China from April 10 to 23 to enable rural children to drink safer and cleaner water, after finding that nearly 3 million of China's rural population and 114,000 rural primary schools have insufficient safe drinking water.
We believe the healthy development of a community is the cornerstone of the sustainable development of every company, said David Brooks, president of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea Business Unit, at the news conference that launched the campaign.
The company promises to donate one yuan to the project, mainly for buying water-purifying facilities, for every bottle of designated Coca-Cola drinks sold.
"We believe that at the core of quantitative change to qualitative change is public participation," he said. This year marks the fourth year of Coca-Cola's active involvement, together with RT-Mart, in the sustainability campaign.
At the annual environmental protection event Earth Hour, when lights are switched off for an hour, the Hong Kong-headquartered Shangri-La Hotel gathered a world record of 508 people at its Shanghai Pudong hotel to each hold a candle and snuff it out at the same time in support of the event .
Fast food chain McDonald's, in addition to turning off lights in parts of its outlets and offices in Shanghai, announced it is planning to build its first "green" canteen in China with all kinds of state-of-the-art energy-saving facilities. It says it will gradually promote the idea all over the country.
While some question the validity of the event and campaigns of this kind, saying they are more a "show" by companies craving positive publicity, Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist from Shanghai Fudan University, argued that a "show" is better than nothing, especially if it's an inspiring one.
"The situation here is not that environmentally symbolic events are abused for commercial purposes. The public still needs these big company names to pay attention to ever-worsening environmental issues," Gu said.
A report released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences at the end of 2012 pointed out that international companies in China score lowest on the corporate social responsibility scale compared with State-owned and privately owned firms.
The paper, rating more than 300 major enterprises in the country according to their social security coverage, energy savings and emission reductions, claimed the average score of international companies' CSR is 13.2, while the general average is 23.1 on a scale of its own devising.
(China Daily 04/08/2013 page22)