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2023 top 10 CSR events in China


2023 was a year full of twists and turns. 

In a year of change and challenge, the world was facing a set of uncertainties and risks, and relations between major countries were still complex. Amid the turbulent international situation, the world was also confronted with a number of difficulties and tests.
2023 was also the first year to fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress.
In the face of a complex world, China has firmly sounded a clarion call of the times for the Chinese people forging ahead on a new journey toward Chinese modernization, actively promoted scientific and technological innovation and industrial upgrading, and constantly accelerated the pace of digitalization and low-carbon development, steadily marching towards a brighter, opener and more prosperous future.
To answer the questions of the times, China has actively engaged in global governance and contributed more Chinese wisdom and strength to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity and the promotion of global sustainable development through a positive and inclusive path.
China has also ushered in a new phase of more diversified CSR development. Beyond traditional commitments to low-carbon environmental protection and social welfare, companies in China have increasingly invested in fields including resilient supply chains, sci-tech innovation, as well as employee well-being, extending the reach of social responsibility. This not only reflects China's maturing perspective and deeper thinking on CSR issues, but also injects a new impetus to the sustainable development of the society.
Since 2006, the China Sustainability Tribune has been selecting and publishing the annual list of top 10 CSR events for 18 years. As the first step in 2024, it selected the 2023 top 10 CSR events in China (in chronological order) to review and solute all efforts in social responsibility development and welcome a better sustainable world.
At this dynamic and challenging time, those CSR events are China’s answers to the questions of the times, indicating a fresh start for a promising and pioneering new era.
01 SAMR guides industry associations to issue a joint initiative to stop food waste
On March 8, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) guided China Cuisine Association, China Hospitality Association, China Chain Store & Franchise Association, and China Private-Owned Business Association to issue a joint initiative to catering service providers, practitioners and consumers across the country. The joint initiative encourages consumers to establish a civilized, healthy, rational and green consumption concept and properly order or pick up food by their personal health, eating habits and dining needs when dining out or ordering food online.
Reason for selection:
Rising people’s living standards draws wider attention to promote sustainability in daily life, which is also an important part of consumption upgrading. This initiative has triggered a shift in focus on daily catering consumption beyond mere concept promotion. It leverages the active role of industry associations to help consumers make a start in changing seemingly trivial catering habits across the catering industry. Concrete measures have been taken to guide consumers to establish rational ordering and picking up habits and encourage the whole society to reject food waste in practical actions, thus making a difference in the entire catering service chain.

Listed events:
· On May 16, the Administrative Measures for the Use and Reporting of Disposable Plastic Products by Business Operators, jointly released by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), puts forward standardized requirements for the use and reporting of disposable plastic products by business operators in commodities, e-commerce, food and beverage, lodging, and exhibitions.

· On December 11, the Specification for Green Food Delivery Management, published by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), clarifies that takeaway meal operators should reduce their uses of various packaging materials and replace them with eco-friendly ones to avoid or reduce environmental pollution.

· On December 15, the Action Plan for Advancing the Green Transformation of Express Packaging, jointly issued by eight central departments including the NDRC, proposes that a green packaging standards system for express deliveries shall be established on all fronts by the end of 2025.
02 Eleven central departments jointly release the Guidelines for the Establishment of a Standard System for Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutrality

On April 22, 2023, the Guidelines for the Establishment of a Standard System for Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutrality, jointly issued by eleven central authorities including the National Standardization Commission, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, proposes that a carbon peak and carbon neutral standard system will be fundamentally built around basic general standards, as well as the development needs of carbon emission reduction, carbon removal, and carbon market. The Guidelines also notes that by 2025, no less than 1,000 national and industry standards (including foreign language versions) will be made and revised, full coverage of standards will be achieved for carbon accounting verification in major industries, and energy efficiency standard indicators for key industries and products will be improved steadily. Moreover, substantive participation shall be taken in no less than 30 international standards in relevant green and low-carbon fields.
Reason for selection:
The Guidelines, which is an important component of China’s national quality infrastructure, strongly supports the efficient use of resources, green and low-carbon development in energy, in-depth industrial restructuring, transformation of green production and living styles, and comprehensive green transformation of the social and economic development. To realize the goal of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, it is necessary to build a targeted standard system with a reasonable structure and clear levels that is adapted to high-quality economic and social development.
The Guidelines proposes a “construction plan” for the preparation and revision of the carbon peak and carbon neutrality standard system in the next three years, which clarifies the basic structure of the standard system in China and the focus in the work of dual-carbon standardization. This will provide important support for China’s key industries and carbon-neutral work, and significantly enhance China’s green and low-carbon international standardization level.
Listed events:
· On February 17, 2023, the Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Completely, Accurately, and Comprehensively Implementing the New Development Philosophy and Providing Judicial Services for Actively and Steadily Promoting Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutrality was released. The Opinions is the first normative document on carbon peak and carbon neutrality issued by the Supreme People’s Court.
· On December 12, 2023, the NDRC released a list of the first batch of pilot cities and high-tech industrial development parks that will aim to peak carbon dioxide emissions, covering 25 pilot cities including Zhangjiakou and 10 high-tech industrial development parks like the Changzhi High-tech Industrial Development Area.
· On November 23, 2023, the Guidance on Accelerating the Establishment of a Carbon Footprint Management System for Products, jointly issued by the NDRC and other government organs, outlines that by 2030, carbon footprint accounting rules and standards for approximately 200 key products will be introduced at the national level.
· On December 6, the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee and the Hangzhou Asian Para Games Organizing Committee announced that the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Hangzhou Asian Para Games were the first events to achieve carbon neutrality in the history of the Asian Games and Asian Para Games after the accounting and evaluation by third-party authoritative institutions.
03 SASAC publishes the Bluebook on Supporting Rural Vitalization by Central State-Owned Enterprises

On May 8, 2023, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) convened a rural vitalization conference for central SOEs, on which the Bluebook on Supporting Rural Vitalization by Central State-Owned Enterprises was released with 47 excellent cases and 17 exemplary projects. The Bluebook, prepared and published by the Bureau of Social Responsibility of SASAC for the first time, fully reviews the overall work and practical progress of central SOEs in facilitating rural vitalization, and summarizes a number of work methods and practical initiatives with the characteristics of central SOEs.
Reason for selection:
The implementation of rural vitalization strategy is a major decision-making deployment for China to usher in a new phase towards integrated urban-rural development and modernization. The Party Committee of SASAC, which serves as an important, special and reliable force to promote rural vitalization, has guided central SOEs to invest and introduce a total of RMB 9.14 billion of non-reimbursable funds and RMB 49.35 billion of reimbursable funds in the targeted counties since 2021, making an outstanding contribution to consolidating and extending the results of poverty eradication and comprehensively pushing forward rural vitalization.
The focus of rural development has shifted from satisfying basic needs to more comprehensive and abundant livelihood needs and more long-term industrial development needs. At this time, central SOEs need to highlight the needs and expectations of targeted assisted areas and their resource endowments, and explore a new model of mutual benefits and win-win results with the assisted areas, on the basis of the functional positioning of central SOEs.
Listed events:
· On February 13, 2023, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council jointly released the “No.1 central document” for 2023, namely the Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Comprehensively Promoting the Key Work of Rural Revitalization in 2023. The Opinions, which outlines 33 articles in nine sections, primarily proposes that China shall firmly hold the bottom lines of ensuring national food security, strive to promote rural vitalization and make more efforts to enhance various forms of supports.
· On June 9, 2023, the 18th International Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also the First Industrial Development and Rural Vitalization Forum, was successfully held, co-hosted by GoldenBee ThinkTank and the China Sustainability Tribune. Representatives from six organizations or enterprises, including China Foundation for Rural Development, China National Petroleum Corporation, China Mobile Limited, China Petrochemical Corporation, China National Nuclear Corporation, and Joyvio Group, shared their innovative practices, achievements and experiences in contributing to rural vitalization.
04 IFRS Foundation opens its Beijing office

On June 19, 2023, the IFRS Foundation opened a new office in Beijing for supporting the ISSB’s work. The Beijing office, established as a representative office in China, will serve as an exchange and cooperation center, a capacity-building center and an innovation and practice center, with staff focused on leading and executing the ISSB’s strategy for emerging and developing economies, acting as a hub for stakeholder engagement in Asia, facilitating deeper co-operation and engagement with stakeholders, and undertaking capacity-building activities for emerging economies, developing countries and SMEs.
Reason for selection:
The opening of the Beijing office of IFRS Foundation, an important platform for the formulation of international accounting and sustainability standards, highlights China’s position as the world’s second largest economy and a crucial link in the global supply chain, promotes the application of global sustainability-related disclosure standards in China by introducing advanced international standard, and enhances the ESG governance level and competitiveness of companies in China. It is also conducive to make the country’s innovative practices more global and realize the leap from “watching international practices, benchmarking with the global standards and becoming the international influencer by actively participating in the development of international financial accounting and sustainability standards.
Listed event:
On December 9, 2023, the Research Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility of Chinese Sociological Association was established. It is the first sociological institute focusing on the collaboration among industry, university, and research institution.
05 SASAC further standardizes ESG disclosure for listed companies controlled by central SOEs

The General Office of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) issued a notice to forward the Study on ESG Special Report Compilation for Listed Companies Controlled by Central Enterprises to provide suggestions and references for listed companies controlled by central SOEs to prepare their ESG reports and enhance the quality of compilation of relevant special reports. To this end, three core annexes were provided: the Report on the Preparation and Study of ESG Special Reports of Listed Companies Controlled by Central Enterprises, which serves as a comprehensive outline; the Reference of ESG Indicators System for ESG Reports of Listed Companies Controlled by Central Enterprises, which provides the most basic indicator reference for listed companies; and the Template Reference for ESG Reports of Listed Companies Controlled by Central Enterprises, which offers the most basic format reference for ESG special reports.
Reason for selection:
Global consensus has been reached on developing a system of high-quality benchmarking standards for sustainability-related disclosure. With the progress in the building of an ESC indicator system with Chinese characteristics, SOEs, as the decisive pillars of the national economy, should highlight their exemplary role.
The Notice specifies the positioning, framework and preparation requirements of ESG reports of listed companies controlled by central SOEs after fully absorbing and positively responding to international ESG concepts and standards, with a special focus on close ties between ESG disclosure and the national development strategy. It is the first time that the state has been made a unified deployment for the compilation of ESG reports of central SOEs. This will help fully cover the ESG special report disclosure of listed companies controlled by central SOEs in 2023 and lead more enterprises to implement ESG concepts throughout their business development, making ESG an important handhold and pathway for the high-quality development of companies in China.
Listed event:
On June 13, 2023, China Central Radio and Television, the SASAC, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) and other institutions and departments jointly released the Annual ESG Action Report and announced the “China’s ESG Listed Companies Pioneer 100” list.
06 SGCC unveils the Report on State Grid’s Contribution to Global Development Initiative

As reported by People’s Daily on September 25, 2023, during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC or State Grid) released the Report on State Grid's Contribution to Global Development Initiative at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. It is the first report on the contribution of a central SOE to the implementation of global development initiatives, as well as the second time that State Grid launched a report in the UN since the first report on green and low-carbon development by a central SOE was released at the 27th Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022.
The Report is composed of six parts: Preface, Global Development Initiative, State Grid and the GDI, Key Measures and Innovative Practices of State Grid in Implementing GDI, Outlook and Preparation Description. It systematically elaborates on the background and concept of State Grid’s active response to GDI. Drawing upon its industry properties and development strategy, it effectively coordinates the nexus between the performance of its "three responsibilities" in politics, economy, and society and the implementation of GDI. The Report also describes in detail State Grid’s innovative initiatives, practice cases and performance in implementing GDI.
Reason for selection:
Since energy is an important material basis and power source for global economic and social development, its reliable and sustainable development is of great significance to the realization of SDGs. State Grid is leading the global energy revolution as a “national team” of energy and power in China. To actively respond to global development initiatives, it has insisted on integrating the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into its practices of serving high-quality economic and social development, and explored a series of innovative modes and experiences. The Report not only displays State Grids’ practices to answer the “question of the times” of how to realize sustainable development globally, as well as its concept and wisdom to help global development, but also reflects a responsible image of China’s socially responsible pioneer enterprises as an active participant, resolute implementer and powerful promoter of the GDI.
Listed event:
· On September 26, 2023, the State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power Co., Ltd. released a report on the implementation of the GDI. The Report introduces the SDG index and fully interprets the development concepts, paths and experiences of the enterprise in promoting high-quality development of energy and responding to the GDI during the period of 2021-2023.
· On September 26, 2023, a report on its contributions to sustainable development (1993-2023), released by China Three Gorges Corporation, systematically summarizes the comprehensive economic, social and environmental values that the enterprise has actively created in the aspects of dedicating to clean energy, promoting economic growth, responding to climate change, preserving biodiversity, eradicating poverty and hunger, enhancing people’s well-being and improving common prosperity.

07 Central financial work conference: channel more financial resources in green development

The central financial work conference was held in Beijing from October 30 to 31, 2023. It was stressed at the meeting that significant efforts should be made in the areas of technology finance, green finance, inclusive finance, pension finance, and digital finance, and it was essential to optimize the structure of fund supply and channel more financial resources into promoting technological innovation, advanced manufacturing and green development, and supporting small, medium-sized, and micro enterprises.

Reason for selection:
A strong supporting role of finance is required in either solving the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development, or building a modernized industrial system, as well as continuously improving the quality of people’s life.
Keywords outlined in the five takeaways from the conference specify directions for the transformation of China’s economic growth mode and high-quality development and clarify key points for the financial industry to undertake to help optimize the economic structure in the future, which guides the future monetary policy and key work of financial institutions.
As China is accelerating the building of a strong financial country, higher requirements on the financial industry have been put forward to ensure that finance should provide high-quality services for economic and social development. Instead of simply providing financing, more efforts should be taken to effectively strengthen the provision of high-quality financial services for major strategies, key areas and weak links, improve the quality and effectiveness of financial services for the real economy, and better satisfy diversified financial needs of the people and the real economy.
Listed event:
On October 11, 2023, the Implementation Opinions of the State Council on Promoting the High-Quality Development of Inclusive Finance proposes optimizing products and services in key fields of inclusive finance by such means as supporting the sustainable development of micro and small business entities, assisting in the effective implementation of the national strategy for rural revitalization, improving the quality of financial services in the field of people's livelihood and maximizing the role of inclusive finance in supporting green and low-carbon development.
08 ESG Value Accounting Report for Chinese Listed Companies released

On November 16, 2023, the China Association for Public Companies (CAPCO) released the ESG Value Accounting Report for Chinese Listed Companies (2023). GoldenBee Consulting, the Member Unit of its ESG Committee, provided technical support. Based on ESG value accounting methods, new indicators such as ESG net value and ESG value for risk and opportunity are adopted to assess A-share listed companies. Among them, 1,456 companies with positive ESG values were identified in 2022, compared to 1,115 companies in 2018.
Reason for selection:
The uniqueness of this report has created a new approach for ESG evaluation of Chinese listed companies. ESG value accounting is of great significance for enterprises and investors, not only helping to evaluate the corporate capability of sustainable development, but also providing important reference for investment decisions. The monetization of ESG value can better integrate with corporate valuation models. Accordingly, it reflects the conductive impact on the future financial performance of the enterprise and providing more valuable reference information for investment. The ESG data foundation of enterprises will be further improved, and the methodology of the ESG value accounting system will also further mature. This series of developments will contribute to the formation of a world leading ESG evaluation system with Chinese characteristics, providing strong support for the development of global sustainable investment and financing.
Listed event:
On December 21, 2023, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers released for the first time a set of ESG standards for the automobile industry, including the Guidance on ESG Information Disclosure for China Automotive Industry, the Evaluation Guidance on ESG of China Automotive Industry and the Evaluation Guidance on ESG of China Automotive Industry: Requirements with Guidance for Use.

09 CR Group releases the first social responsibility indicator system of a central SOE covering general industry and sub-industry indicators

On December 22, according to its official Weibo account, China Resources Group has always taken the initiative in driving theoretical research on social responsibility and actively participated in formulating ESG standards. CR Group introduced the first social responsibility indicator system of central SOEs that encompasses general and sub-industry indicators, namely the Regulations on the Management of Social Responsibilities of CR.

Meanwhile, CR Group has also contributed to SASAC’s ESG research, and initiated to develop a digital social responsibility platform, a pioneering tool that digitalizes their social responsibility management.
 Reason for selection: 
The Regulations on the Management of Social Responsibilities of CR is the first social responsibility indicator system of a central SOE that encompasses general industry indicators and sub-industry indicators. It covers 147 indicators of social responsibility general indicator system and 118 indicators of social responsibility characteristic indicator system of China Resources Group. The indicator system, while considering broad applicability and universality, also highlights the value-creating capability of the industry, representing a new level of theoretical innovation of central SOEs in social responsibility management.
However, how to promote and implement such a broad and detailed indicator system and indicator management also tests and essentially reflects the management level of an enterprise. Therefore, China Resources Group has taken the initiative to develop a digital social responsibility platform so as to achieve a comprehensive integration with all aspects of business operations through the digitalization of the refined indicator system. China Resources Group has won unanimous praises from the outside world for its innovation on social responsibility management and building of a social responsibility platform. The best evidence is that recently, China Resources Group has won the Central Enterprise ESG·Pioneer 30 Index for two consecutive years.
Listed event:
On December 13, the Capitals China Hub released the Chinese version of the online course “Valuing Nature and People to Inform Business-making”, with aims to help enterprises understand and manage their impacts and dependencies on natural, social and human capitals.
10 Revised China Company Law encourages corporate social responsibility reporting

The Company Law of the People’s Republic of China was revised and adopted at the Seventh Session of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress on December 29, 2023. In accordance with the Law, when conducting business operations, a company shall fully consider the interests of the company’s employees, consumers and other stakeholders and other stakeholders and ecological and environmental protection and others public interests, and assume social responsibility, and the state encourage companies to participate in public welfare activities and publish social responsibility reports.
Reason for selection:
As is well-known, companies are the most important market entities, and the Company Law is the fundamental law of the socialist market economy system. On the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Company Law, the sixth revision of the law was announced to mark the end of the year, outlining CSR in particular. This not only highlights the significance of the fulfillment of CSR by enterprises in perfecting the modern corporate system with Chinese characteristics and promoting the high-quality development of the economy, but also echoes the vigorous development of CSR in recent years at the theoretical and practical levels. Meanwhile, it reveals that the social responsibilities will be increasingly important in sustaining healthy socio-economic development in the future.
Listed events:
· As reported on April 18, 2023, the Measures of Hangzhou for Supervision and Administration of Online Catering Takeaway Delivery would come into effect on May 1 the same year. The Measures stipulates the rights and interests of network delivery workers in terms of contracting, training, insurance, remuneration, compensation, inquiries, the right to know about important matters, anti-fatigue, the system of counting laws and regulations, complaints, care funds, etc., and emphasizes the establishment of a trade union organization applicable to the new forms of employment, encouraging the establishment of industry self-governing organizations and the formation of a comprehensive protection system.
· On April 26, 2023, a law to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau was passed at the Second Session of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People's Congress. The law requires the protection and restoration of glaciers and frozen soils, rivers, lakes, grasslands, forests and wetlands, as well as the conservation of biodiversity in the region. As the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau serves as the origin of several major rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, and Lancang-Mekong rivers, the law also stipulates consolidating protection of key areas such as the Sanjiangyuan area. Another measure implemented by the law is requiring protecting rare, endangered or endemic wild animal and plant species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
· On September 1, the Law on the Building of a Barrier-Free Environment came into force, marking the arrival of a new stage in the field. It is the first time that China has enacted a specialized law on the building of a barrier-free environment.
About the “2023 Top 10 CSR Events in China”

As an annual record of the CSR policies and practices, China Sustainability Tribune has been selecting and publishing the annual list of top ten CSR events for 18 years since 2006.

In order to ensure a more comprehensive, accurate, open and transparent selection, we seek opinions from external experts from governments, companies, universities and research institutions in the field of CSR to ensure the professionalism, authority and transparency.
Experts participating in the selection of the “2023 Top 10 CSR Events in China” and putting forward opinions and suggestions include:
· Guo Xiuming, former Associate Counsel, Department of Policies, Laws and Regulations, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
· Xia Guang, Deputy Head of All-China Environment Federation
· Lei Hong, former Vice President of Chinese Sociological Society, Dean of HUST-GoldenBee CSR Research Institute
· Chen Yuanqiao, Researcher at China National Institute of Standardization
· Cheng Duosheng, former Director of Innovation Working Department of Chinese Enterprises Federation
· Liang Xiaohui, Chief Researcher of Social Responsibility Office, China National Textile and Apparel Council
· Qian Xiaojun, Professor, Associate Dean of Academics at Schwarzman College, Director of Research Center for Green Economy and Sustainable Development, Tsinghua University
· Xue Dayuan, Professor and Doctoral Supervisor of Minzu University of China
· Li Li, Professor of the University of International Business and Economics, Expert of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Sustainability Advisory Committee
· Guo Yi, Professor of School of Economics, and Director of Business Environment Research Center,Beijing Technology and Business University (BTBU) 
· Zhang Jiutian, Executive Director of Green Development Institute at Beijing Normal University 
· Yu Zhihong, President and Editor-in-Chief of China Sustainability Tribune
· Yin Gefei, Chief Expert of GoldenBee Thinktank
· Guan Zhusun, Executive Dean of HUST-GoldenBee CSR Research Institute
Thanks to experts who participated in the selection of “2023 Top 10 CSR Events in China”.
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