A unique sustainability culture is developing in China, guided by state control, independent domestic organisations and international partnerships
At some stage in the next decade and a half, China is expected to overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy. This is a return to the long-term norm. For the first 18 of the past 20 centuries, China was the world’s largest economy. Hence, rather than referring to China as one of the “emerging markets,” we should more properly talk of the re-emergence of China. This Chinese renaissance will impact not just international relations and economics, but everything from fashion to sport.
It is inconceivable that this will not also include the theory and the practice of corporate responsibility. To western eyes, there is no shortage of responsible business issues in China today. These include issues such as working practices, health and safety, collective bargaining rights, corruption, food safety, water usage, the treatment of migrant workers, social inequalities, technologies for and management of “smart cities”, the rapid ageing of the Chinese population, and the respect of intellectual property rights.
Greater attention to corporate responsibility (or CSR as it is still more commonly referred to in China), both by Chinese companies and by companies from the rest of the world doing business in China, is being driven by numerous...