Sunday, February 22, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I've recently been contacted by one of the local media company that has been outsourced a job from a medium sized city to set up a showcase event to attract FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to their city.
They obviously came to me since I had credible contacts at different country's chambers of commerce in China and my simple answer was "no" to them and I gave a reason that this is not my scope of business and that I cannot utilize my contacts for other reasons.
Then they came back to me few days later with a concept of "Eco-City" and justified my involvement as Environment is one of the issues that we do deal with. Now, I must confess that although we deal with it, it's done through our partners and also we usually take care of the overall marketing/communications side of it, rather than technical side, hence I did not see a correlation between the concept of "Eco-City" and my firm. However, it was an interesting topic in a long run and I decided to utilize the chance to learn. Afterall, if it turned out to be a good project, I can simply toss it on to our environmental consultacy partners.
They requested a proposal and an overall explanation/examples of eco-cities to show to the Gov leaders at that city. While I was working on the Proposal and different research on eco-cities, I found out that there were a lot in development, not only outside of China but also with-in China. Dongtan, in Shanghai was a big issue till the leader of the gov was jailed for corruption/ Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City is becoming a big issue with an initial investment of 8billion RMB, and there were at least 3-4 others that were preparing themselves to be eco-cities.
Tonight, Since we take part in the environment consortium project of the German Chamber in Shanghai, I had a chance to attend a media appreciation dinner. Unlike other press conferences and media appreciation dinner, we decided to brainstorm and ask the reporters about "Green Industry" to understand their perception towards the industry and the German green technologies. Out of many interesting things we found out, there was a comment on the eco-city; that it will never pay off and that ROI is expected to be negative.
That got me thinking of the Eco-City project proposal. Perhaps the concept of the eco-city is unrealistic? No doubt that it will take years to break even and that it is a long-term project. So should this trend continue? Not to mention the current situation of the financial crisis? I am curious to find out other successful cases but all of them seem to not have clear answers. Perhaps we need to wait few years to find out. Currently, my thoughts are more supportive of reporters....
Monday, February 9, 2009
Steve Lydenberg is the latest to confirm participation in CSR International's Online Dialogue series. Steve, for those don't know him or his work, is Chief Investment Officer of Domini Social Investments and Vice President of the Domini Funds. He has been active in social research since 1975.
Steve has written numerous publications on issues of corporate social responsibility. He is the author of Corporations and the Public Interest, co-author of Investing for Good, co-editor of The Social Investment Almanac and co-author of Rating America’s Corporate Conscience.
I look forward to welcoming him (and you!) to our virtual platform on 6 October.
For a full list of upcoming Online Dialogues, see
Friday, February 6, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
1. CSR Masterclasses - 1-day events in the fourth week of every month, usually on a Friday in London (except in April where we run 3 in a row). We will probably introduce these in an online webinar format for global participants starting in May.
2. CSR Thought-Leader Webinars - run online every Tuesday, alternating between 9 am and 4.30 pm UK-time slots (to ensure as much global participation as possible)
3. CSR Networking Meetings - evening events (6-8 pm) run on the first Wednesday of every month in London (we will add more organically as the CSR International City Hubs get established around the world)
To see the specific dates and who we have lined up for the Webinars (people like John Elkington and Stuart Hart), download the CSR International 2009 Calendar:
Monday, February 2, 2009
Montek Singh AHLUWALIA (Indian economist): Confidence grows as slowly as a coconut tree, and falls as fast as a coconut.
Kofi ANNAN (Former UN Secretary-General): The status quo cannot work.
Kofi ANNAN (Former UN Secretary-General): We need to ensure the poorest in the planet - who will be hardest hit by the financial crisis - are not forgotten.
Tony BLAIR (Former British Prime Minister): The free enterprise system has not failed; the financial system has failed.
Richard BRANSON (Founder of The Virgin Group): In times of recession there are massive opportunities and fortunes to be made, so for new up and coming entrepreneurs, this is the time to go and start a business.
Gordon BROWN (British Prime Minister): The policy of doing nothing will allow this crisis to start a retreat from globalisation with huge implications for prosperity in every part of the world in the years to come.
David CAMERON (British Conservative Party Leader): It's time to place the market within a moral framework - even if that means standing up to companies who make life harder for parents and families.
David CAMERON (British Conservative Party Leader): The best chapters in our economic history are those that embrace the many, not the few.
Richard EDELMAN (CEO of Edelman): Business really has to work its way back. It has to re-earn the trust of its broad sets of constituents.
Richard EDELMAN (CEO of Edelman): I think we have moved from a shareholder society to a stakeholder society, and that has massive implications.
Bill GATES (Founder of Microsoft): Philanthropy is fun and fulfilling.
Bill GATES (Founder of Microsoft): The poor can't wait. Philanthropists needed to carry on being generous.
Rick GOINGS (CEO of Tupperware Brands Corp): The last thing to cut is your talent.
Stephen GREEN (chairman of HSBC): There are no magic wands and even crystal balls are in short supply.
Stephen GREEN (chairman of HSBC): Banks have clearly done things wrong. Some of the practices did not contribute, by any reasonable standards, to human welfare
Al GORE (Former US Vice-President) on finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol at a
Alex HEIDEGER (Member of the Davos Green Party): It's the same people who came last year and said the world economic situation is fine, and now we're in a financial crisis. Now it's the taxpayer who has to solve the whole problem.
Wen JIABAO (Chinese Premier) on the causes of the financial crisis: Inappropriate macro economic policies in some economies, characterised by [a] low savings rate and high consumption [and] failure of financial supervision and regulation to keep up with innovation which allowed financial derivatives to spread.
Vaclav KLAUS (Czech President whose country holds the EU Presidency): I don't think there is any global warming. I don't see the statistical data for that.
Christine LAGARDE (French Finance Minister): Social unrest and protectionism are the two major risks of the world economic crisis.
Doris LEUTHARD (Swiss Economy Minister): The opening up of markets is the best [thing] we can do to fight the crisis.
Hans-Rudolf MERZ (Swiss President): The notion of more of the same, must be replaced with more of something better.
Rupert MURDOCH (Chairman of News Corporation): Don't let's lose sight of what creates wealth. It is open markets, it is capitalism.
Raila ODINGA (Kenyan Prime Minister) on Mugabe’s regime in
Alessandro PROFUMO: (CEO of Unicredit): There is a real willingness to understand where we made mistakes and what we have to change in the future in order to improve our reputation on the one side, and the credibility of the whole industry on the other.
Kenneth ROGOFF (Harvard professor and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund): Worrying about inflation now is like worrying about the measles when you might get the plague.
Nouriel ROUBINI (Economist who predicted the credit crunch): Capitalism is the worst system except for all those others that have been tried. (variation on a Churchill quote)
Desmond TUTU (South African Archbishop): We worshipped in the temple of cutthroat competition, and so some cooked the books, because the treasure is so great.
Desmond TUTU (South African Archbishop): We spend billions on banks when we know that a fraction of this money could save all the children in the world.