​Corporate social value vital to future sustainability

By Li Huiru
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, March 29, 2019
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Chairman of SK Holdings Chey Tae-won speaks during the "Social Value and the Role of Business Community" session at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference on March 27, 2019. [Photo: www.boaoforum.org]

Social value should be an important measure in evaluating a business, said government officials, experts and entrepreneurs at the "Social Value and the Role of Business Community" session of the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference on March 27, 2019. They expressed that favorable interactions among government, corporations and society, as well as management measures that carry social value, are two indispensable conditions for future sustainable development. 

"Society provides fertile soil for companies' sustainable development. Companies grow because they create wealth, and gain value because of their contribution to society. As the main body of market economy competition, enterprises have an unshirkable responsibility to promote sustainable development," said Xiao Yaqing, chairman of China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC). 

Xiao presented the practical work that SASAC has done in urging state-owned companies to observe their social responsibility in recent years, such as formulating guiding opinions and organizing training exchanges. Early this year, SASAC and SK Holdings jointly launched a research project on corporate social value. And this sideline forum during the 2019 BFA Annual Conference is another effort.

Chairman of SK Holdings Chey Tae-won said that value should be an important gauge in evaluating a business. He said that SK Holdings regards social value and economic value as a game of short-term benefits with long-term gain. 

"In promoting business model innovation and ecosystem construction, SK regards social value and economic value together as the double bottom line of corporate performance," Chey said. He noted that enterprises should not only make the creation of economic value for shareholders and customers their sole development goal; they should also expand the scope to the government and ordinary people. These "groups of concern" are not the "direct audiences" of the enterprise's products and services. However, their growing influence will help the society and the corporations deliver value. 

During the round-table discussion session at the forum, guests shared their views and experiences on how to balance the development of businesses with creation of social value. For example, it is inevitable that the focus on corporate social value will at times conflict with the economic value pursued by the enterprise itself. 

Justin Yifu Lin, honorary dean of the National School of Development at Peking University, believes that for private companies, the key to achieving sustainable development goals is to realize their social value so that they can drive the change. 

"Companies play an important role in fulfilling the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030, set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015," Lin said. "For example, for achieving the goal of sustainable development, technological and green innovation of enterprises are the key points. Green innovation and green industrialization of enterprises will create employment, which is a benign cycle." Lin also mentioned that this virtuous cycle requires sufficient incentives to be promoted. 

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