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2020 Top 10 International CSR Events

2021-01-13GoldenBeeGoldenBee0


The COVID-19 swept the world, the international supply chains were interrupted, economic development stagnated, and the climate crisis intensified... the year 2020 is therefore marked by disasters. However, crises and opportunities coexist. The international community has deeply reflected on the unsustainable development path in the past. The belief in the transformation to resilience, green and low carbon has been strengthened, and the related government and corporate actions have continued to emerge. Sustainable development and corporate social responsibility have become the consensus of all mankind.
 
Since 2006, we have been selecting and publishing the annual list of top 10 CSR events for 15 years. As the first step in 2021, China Sustainability Tribune (formerly known as China WTO Tribune) selected the 2020 Top 10 International CSR Events (in chronological order) to review and solute all efforts in social responsibility development in the world in 2020, and hopes to welcome a better 2021.
 
No. 01 66 organizations issue a joint appeal for responsible procurement
 
 
On April 22, 2020, 66 global industry organizations including China National Garment Association, China Home Textile Association, and the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT, representing the global fashion, textile, footwear and travel goods industries, together made a joint appeal that,


- governments, with the support of international financial institutions, must enact temporary stimulus measures to ensure liquidity;
- governments should undertake temporary duty deferral and tariff relief to support liquidity and cash flow, and keep workers employed;
- governments should refrain from imposing new trade restrictions and should not impede production or delivery of PPE, its intermediate products, and raw materials.
 
Reason for listing:

The COVID-19 swept the global market and caused the European and American retail markets to be completely shut down. A large number of offline stores were closed, and the production of clothing and footwear was also cancelled or suspended, which led to great losses for foreign trade supplies in China and many Southeast Asian countries. The signing of this joint appeal by industry organizations strengthened the regional cooperation and risk management, and timely reduced the impact of the pandemic on the Asian textile and apparel industry.
 
No.02 UN Global Compact calls for renewed global cooperation

 
On June 15, 2020, the 2020 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit marking the 20th anniversary of the Leaders Summit was held online, with the theme of 'Recover better, recover stronger, and recover together' from the COVID-19 crisis. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for global businesses to make “big decisions about our future”, and that “companies need to address environmental, social and governance risks holistically and move beyond business-as-usual”.

On September 21, 2020, Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director of United Nations Global Compact presented the Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation to the UN Secretary-General to “unite businesses for a better world”, winning the support from more than 1,000 CEOs of over 100 countries in the world.
 
Reason for listing:

The signing of this statement by CEOs is another major step taken by the business community to promote the participation in global development and social governance following the signing of the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation by 181 top CEOs at the “Business Roundtable” on August 29, 2019. It demonstrates the business community's recognition, responsibility and support for enterprises to play an important role in promoting social progress and ecological harmony.

 
No.03 Facebook boycotted by well-known companies

 
On June 30, 2020, a number of organizations in the United States jointly launched a campaign called “Stop Hate for Profit”, urging companies to stop paying for ads on Facebook in July to protest the platform’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. 90 companies including Verizon, American Honda Motor Company, Patagonia, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, and Levi’s, responded to the protest, which led to the 8% drop of share price because of the huge shrink in advertising revenue. After about USD 55.8 billion in market value evaporated, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally stated that the company will change its policy to prohibit hate speech in advertising.
 
Reason for listing:
 
New media relying on Internet technology has frequently encountered problems such as public opinion guidance, politically sensitive topics, incitement to discrimination and violence, which has triggered reflections on how social media and its partners can provide better accountability and transparency. The media of the  Internet age have played a warning role in enhancing the awareness of responsibilities, standardizing the application, and developing in the right direction.
 
No. 04 COFCO signs sustainability-linked loan with international bank consortium

 
On July 16, 2020, COFCO International signed a USD 2.1 billion sustainability-linked loan contract with a consortium of 20 banks as its core financing facility. This loan mechanism is linked to the company's sustainability performance evaluation objectives, that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) performance indicators are expectd to be improved year on year, and the assessment will be carried out by Sustainalytics, a top ESG research and rating agency. The traceability of agricultural products should also be improved, especially the sustainable sourcing of soybeans in Brazil.
 
Reason for listing:

By introducing key sustainability performance indicators into core financing tools, COFCO international demonstrates to the world that it strives to achieve a high level of transparency in the weak links of the agricultural value chain. Financial institutions guide and support enterprises for sustainable business transformation through innovative financing mechanisms , which serves as a model for organizations to fulfill their responsibilities and promote sustainable development.
 
No. 05 Apple pledges to be carbon neutral for its supply chain and products by 2030

 
On July 21, Apple unveiled its plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030. In its 2020 Environmental Progress Report, Apple detailed its plans to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 while developing innovative carbon removal solutions for the remaining 25 percent of its comprehensive footprint.
 
Apple’s 10-year roadmap will lower emissions with a series of innovative actions, including:


- low carbon product design
- expanding energy efficiency
- renewable energy
- process and materials innovation
- investing in environmental protection projects
 
Apple is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations. “With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change”, said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.
 
Reason for listing:
 
In 2020, many global business giants including Apple committed to be carbon neutral, revealing the ambition of business in tackling climate change. Apple’s carbon neutrality plan not only covers its own production and operation but also involves the whole supply chain, playing an exemplary role.
 
No. 06 South Africa announces procurement plan to drive gender equality

 
According to the citizen.co.za on August 10, 2020, in a virtual address commemorating Women’s Day, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government planned to ensure that a portion of public procurement from government departments was sourced from women-owned businesses. According to President Ramaphosa, South Africa has joined a global campaign to create gender equality by 2030. Also, the government has formed an ‘Action Coalition’ together with the society and the private sector to safeguard women’s rights and combat gender violence.
 
Moving forward, South African government intends to implement a national strategy to expand women’s access to economic opportunities. It includes ensuring up to 40% of public procurement is from women-owned businesses. Other plans include speeding up the process of providing women with access to assets such as land, and adopting international protocols minimizing gender-based violence in the workplace. ()
 
Reason for listing:
 
In many countries, women still face unfair treatment in terms of family, employment and wages. This is not only a gender issue but also an economic problem. By aiming to encourage the society and private sector to create more opportunities for women to participate in economic, social and international affairs, South Africa’s actions lead the way in Africa and contribute to the global gender equality.
 
No. 07 Thirty of the world’s largest investors set five-year portfolio decarbonization targets


 
According to the news on October, 13, the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, composed of thirty of the world’s largest investors has published the Draft 2025 Target Setting Protocol, establishing five-year portfolio decarbonization targets. Alliance members will set individual portfolio targets during the first quarter of 2021, resulting in emissions reductions between 16-29% per member by 2025 from 2019 levels.
 
Convened by the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance represents USD 5 trillion in assets and brings together institutional investors committed to transitioning their investment portfolios to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
 
Reason for listing:
 
In this Protocol, alliance members need to adapt themselves first and to modify their business models by cooperating with businesses. As net-zero economy will bring profound changes and opportunities, the signing of the Protocol will push governments to take actions, helping promote and lead international cooperation.
 
No. 08 CSR Europe starts European Pact for Sustainable Industry

 
On October 26, CSR Europe held the 2020 European SDG Summit. At the summit, CSR Europe issued the White Paper 2020, naming The European Pact for Sustainable Industry 2030: Making the Green Deal a Success, which indicates that ambitious leadership is of utmost importance for EU green transition. The five attributes – Purpose, Plan, Culture, Collaboration, and Advocacy – together underpin best practice for corporate sustainability leadership. CSR Europe is now actively inviting enterprises, industrial associations and policy-makers to implement this Pact.
 
Reason for listing:


The EU Green Deal has become a new standard for sustainable development in the European Union. A series of specific plans in the industrial and transportation sectors will be introduced. It is urgent for business to take practical action. CSR Europe's call for greater cooperation is a useful step to drive the implementation of the EU Green Deal and help enterprises meet challenges and accelerate transformation.
 
No. 09  75 leaders announce new commitment and plans for carbon emission reduction

 
On December 12, the United Nations 2020 Climate Ambition Summit was held on the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement. 75 leaders worldwide unveiled new commitments and plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among all, China announced a series of new commitments of nationally determined contributions.
 
At the summit, countries representing more than 65 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70 percent of the world economy pledged to ‘net zero’ or carbon neutrality. Leading businesses including Apple and Amazon appealed for a carbon-neutral economy. Amazon announced 26 new utility-scale wind and solar power projects to reach net zero carbon in all business lines by 2040.
 
Reason for listing:
 
This summit reviewed all countries’ implementation of the Paris Agreement and received positive responses from 70 countries and international organizations. Under this trend, businesses are bound to make boarder and deeper commitment and take actions to promote green and low-carbon transformation.
 
No. 10 China, EU complete investment agreement negotiation

 
On December 30, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen via video link in Beijing. During the meeting, President Xi and European leaders announced that the two sides have completed investment agreement negotiations as scheduled.
 
President Xi highlighted that China and Europe, as two major global forces, markets and civilizations, should demonstrate a sense of responsibility and take active steps to contribute to global peace and progress. Xi urged the two sides to enhance dialogue and mutual trust, deepen cooperation, properly manage differences, and work together to nurture new opportunities and open up new prospects. In particular, President Xi called on the two sides to:


- coordinate efforts to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
- jointly promote economic recovery
- synergize development strategies
- speed up green development
- strengthen multilateral cooperation
 
The core of the investment agreement covers four areas – investment protection, market access commitments, investment regulation and sustainable operation.
 
Reason for listing:

The investment agreement is a high-level, forward-looking and sustainable development-oriented one. It serves as a model for the reform and upgrades of the international investment treaty system and helps provide multinational companies with a transparent, stable and predictable business and investment environment to strengthen their confidence. It will also greatly boost global economic recovery in the post-pandemic era.
 
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