Thursday, March 24, 2011

1+3: Partnering for China

It has been three years since the China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD) launched its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) “1+3” project. The CBCSD has worked together with BASF and 14 other member companies and their “1+3” teams, actively exploring and promoting both a local and international approach to social responsibility in China.

The CBCSD is a coalition of 75 leading Chinese and foreign enterprises in China. Officially established in 2003, the CBCSD recognizes the importance of sustainable development and aims to nurture closer cooperation, dialogue and exchange between business, government and other likeminded organizations.

Under the CSR “1+3” initiative, member companies are expected to train three or more of their partners from their supply chain, based on their own experiences with CSR. Issues addressed include environmental protection, labor issues and human rights protection. Thirty-six companies joined the first phase of the program under the guidance of 11 multinationals, including BASF, and several Chinese multinationals, including Sinopec and COSCO.

The CBCSD is continuing the in-depth development of the project’s first round and launching the second round, expanding its influence, organizing “1+3” project partner enterprises to take part in energy and climate change projects and other key activities, and further deepening the implementation of CSR practices in member companies.

The CSR “1+3” project has achieved remarkable results at home and abroad with its implementation in nearly 120 domestic enterprises, with coverage and recognition by over 100 domestic media.

“The project helps BASF to gain an additional platform for mutual exchange with its business partners, reducing risk and strengthening long-term strategic partnerships,” said Dr. Zheng Daqing from BASF Greater China.

This innovative approach to integrating CSR into business operations has supported the rapid development of small- and medium-sized Chinese enterprises. To date, the CSR “1+3” project has reached 120 domestic companies, and was regarded as the best CSR practice case by the United Nations Global Compact.

The CBCSD is also active in other areas of the sustainability agenda. On energy and climate, the CBCSD’s Corporate Energy Conservation and Climate Change Project aims to bring together government and business to exchange information and develop cooperation around greenhouse gas and other emissions. The CBCSD is also actively developing and disseminating various frameworks, calculation methods and guidelines around CO2 and other emissions, as well as on health, safety and environmental issues.

This article was first published in the November 2010 edition of Sustain magazine by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.