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Doubters Alert: If even now you think CSR/Sustainable Development isn’t for real and isn’t here to stay, reflect on what’s happening in China

Those of us who remember CSR’s early days will recall that it was somewhat optimistic to think that the business model would be established generally  — and certainly not in Communist China. Now, we have to think again.

What makes this topical today is the just-published the report that: “Fosun Pharma Ranked First in the Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility of China’s Pharmaceutical Companies” by Southern Weekly.

Significance: Not only has CSR/SD been so globally-established that is has penetrated business in this Communist country, but that it apparently has been so widely accepted in China that CSR surveys are now possible by industry sector.

Actually, we shouldn’t be surprised. The premier global CSR/SD organization, the UN Global Compact, has made impressive progress in China in introducing its ten principles of management in environment, human rights (sic), labor rights and anti-corruption. The Compact has some 200 member companies in China and that number is growing. 

There’s more, of course. We are getting quite accustomed to companies owned totally or partly by the Chinese government seeking capital on Western stock exchanges (think Alibaba’s  current IPO). These companies must develop, and feel comfortable with, a degree of transparency and accountability not found in their former DNA. Western service companies — including, I’m proud to note, global public relations firms such as Ketchum — are playing a vital role in this stage of evolution of business management and ownership in China and in other centrally-owned countries as well.