Taipei forum discusses innovative approaches to sustainability and CSR

Key speakers at the 2nd day of the GSCF included Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang, and Chairman of the Alliance for Sustainable Development Eugene Chien

Digital Minister Audrey Tang addresses the 2018 GCSF

Digital Minister Audrey Tang addresses the 2018 GCSF (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the second day of the 2018 Global Corporate Sustainability Forum in Taipei, a workshop was held on sustaining s' enterprise competitiveness, via corporate social responsibility.

Notable speakers that shared their insights included Eugene Chien, Chairman of the Alliance for Sustainable Development, along with Taiwan's Digital Minister, Audrey Tang.

Tang's discussion entitled “Developing Social Innovation Through Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) focused on how to integrate rapidly improving computing and communications technologies into business and governance to benefit society.

In her discussion, Tang emphasized concepts of “collaborative learning” and “synergy” to facilitate social innovation. She emphasized that responsible governance should form a crucial link between society and business, and ensure that the two are working together, rather than against one another, towards mutually beneficial results.

To spur social innovation over the coming decades, Tang takes an optimistic view of transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (or assisted intelligence). With these tools available to society, Tang is confident that society's “collective intelligence” can be better utilized to address the challenges the world is facing.

With AI integrated into the social and business environment, human society will be better equipped to ensure reliable data, and put it use in ways that ensure optimal outcomes, say Tang. She referred to what has been called the “triple bottom line” which is to say that the best business practices are those that are equally beneficial for society, the environment, and the company's financial situation.

Following Tang, the Chairman of the Alliance for Sustainable Development, Eugene Chen gave a presentation entitled “Enterprises' Strategies and Trends of Developing SDGs.”

Alliance for Sustainable Development, Chairman Eugene Chen address the 2018 GCSF (Taiwan News Image)

Chien said that the period from 2015 to 2030 will be a very crucial period for social transformation. During this period, cultivating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will be absolutely critical to ensuring that SDGs can be achieved.

Chien emphasized to the CSR professionals at the workshop that the only way the world will meet the global SDGs by 2030, is if the concepts of CSR and the SDGs can be fostered from within corporate culture across the globe.

Companies can not be continually coerced or forced to participate in CSR reporting, said Chien. When a company feels burdened or overly pressured by outside forces, it is not likely to yield long-term success in CSR or achieving global sustainability goals.

Instead, companies must gradually develop a respect and appreciation for responsible corporate governance. The most successful transformation begins from within a company, Chien insisted, not as an outside force.

This understanding of how to encourage CSR puts more emphasis on the role of companies and nations with high-performing CSR programs and reporting as leaders and role models to inspire change from within corporate culture of other companies, industries, or even nations.

In Taiwan's case, Chien remarked that the country has actually done better than originally anticipated in terms of implementing CSR and promoting socially responsible corporations. This is an encouraging indication of how rapidly CSR can bear positive results across a given society.

At the GCSF on Thursday, other presenters also remarked on how Taiwan has entered as "era of socially responsible investment” and is quickly becoming a role model for Asia and the world in terms of pursuing SDGs.