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Firms urged to mind more social duties
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-21 22:47

Top multinationals called upon Chinese enterprises Thursday to take more social and environmental responsibility.

"The business of business is business mantra, focusing solely on maximizing profits for the sake of shareholders, has put a high price on the development of societies and resulted in the degradation of ecosystems," said Tachi Kiuchi, chairman of Future 500.

Future 500 is an international corporate organization that advocates a socially responsible approach to business to create social, environmental and economic wealth simultaneously. More than 300 multinationals, including Coca-Cola, Shell, General Motors, Mitsubishi and HP are members.

The organization, based in Tokyo and San Francisco, held the Future 500's China Forum 2004 in Beijing, sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and two other think tanks.

Kiuchi said a socially responsible approach to business is more successful and competitive in the long run.

He hoped the Chinese Government would put in place a market framework to facilitate a shift towards a globally competitive, socially responsible and environmentally sound economy.

"China is badly in need of implementing the strategy of scientific development set by the central government in the level of enterprises," said Cheng Siwei, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress yesterday in a written statement.

"When we talk about sustainable development, we must pay attention to the three dimensions it includes: environment, economics and society," he said. "The business approach advocated by the Future 500 is in accordance with China's strategy of scientific development."

Jin Zhouying, a professor of economics from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the two-day forum was aimed at familiarizing Chinese enterprises with the standard set by the Future 500 and prompting them to shift business modes to implement the Chinese Government's scientific development strategy.

Zhang Jianhua, vice-president of China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Corp.), a leading state-owned enterprise ranking 53rd in the Fortune 500 in 2004, said his company is firmly committed to its social and environmental responsibility.

By 2003, Sinopec had closed oil-refineries with a production capacity of 10 million tons per year because they did not meet environmental standards.

The Rate of Loss in petroleum processing in 2003 has dropped by 61 per cent compared with 2001.

Li Kecheng, vice-president of the state-owned Guodian Nanjing Automation Company (GNAC), said Chinese enterprises are to shoulder more social responsibility in the future as the Chinese Government is carrying out reforms to cut its administrative organs towards the goal of "small government, big society."

Sinopec and GNAC are the first two Chinese enterprises that have passed the requirements and become members of Future 500.

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