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Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Forum and Exclusive Roundtable Discuss the Major Trend of the International Community and Corporate Promotion of SDGs

The Forum included international speakers from the three top accounting firms, from left to right with Dutch PwC Partner Mr. Schoolderman, China EY COO Brian Ho, and Deloitte Hong Kong’s Vice CEO Chieh-Chung Weng 

After the Tenth Annual 2017 Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Awards (TCSA) Ceremony, at 11 am on the same morning and also in the 2nd Floor Convention Hall of the Howard Civil Service International House, the attendees took part in the 2017 Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Forum hosted by the TCSA organizer, the Taiwan Academy of Corporate Sustainability (TACS), which extended invitations to international speakers from the three major accounting firms to present lectures discussing promotion of SDGs trends, corporate strategic responsive measures and business opportunities.

The Dutch PwC Sustainability and Climate Change Division Partner Hans Schoolderman expressed that as there is an ever increasing demand for energy, materials, food and water resources, there is a concomitant urgency for new business models and modalities to enhance efficacious resource use optimization, and thus the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are all the more imperative for mankind; according to PwC analysis, it is forecast that by 2030, agricultural production value will have increased from 2015 levels by US$2.3 trillion, with energy and resource demand growth forecast to be US$4.3 billion, while urban infrastructure will represent a future market of US$3.7 trillion, there are thus replete emerging business and employment opportunities, which are concomitantly emerging with future business and market trends.

EY China’s COO Brian CK Ho shared about recent years’ trends for sustainable development in China; at the end of 2015 the“13th Five Year Plan Guidelines for the National Economy and Social Development” announced that China desires to “work together to create our world”, which correlate well with the SDGs; assiduously endeavoring in the diplomatic arena to participate in global governance activities and realize global responsibilities, while internally establishing a balanced economic development, social development and environmental protection, so as China responds to climate change, besides comprehensive public policies and regulatory environment mandates for corporate carbon emission reduction and ameliorative measures, there is also promotion of green finance to stimulate and foster corporate green transformation and endeavor to generate a new era in China’s sustainable development.

Deloitte Hong Kong’s Vice CEO Chieh-Chung Weng , began by explaining the different regulations affecting publication of corporate reportage in Taiwan and Hong Kong, then elucidated the common risks faced by corporations including financial risk, economic and operational risks, management risks, and credit risk, taking the major China cellphone firm Hua Wei as an example by noting their stakeholder communications and supply chain dimension management modalities. Finally, he discussed how sustainable development requires new cognition of integrated corporate response to incipient risk management, which can allow for discernment of the order of precedence and priorities in addressing environmental, social and corporate governance issues, along with eliciting appropriate responsive strategies.

Following on the tremendous participation in the Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Awards and Forum, in the afternoon the meeting moved to the Sherwood Taipei Third Floor Banquet Hall where the Taiwan Academy of Corporate Sustainability and the Taiwan Center for Corporate Sustainability (CCS) jointly hosted the Corporate Sustainability Exclusive Roundtable with some 120 CCS corporate members and TCSA judging volunteers for in-depth sharing about the SDGs by the three international speakers from the Forum.

The TCSA Convenor and TACS Chairman Dr. Eugene Chien expressed his appreciation and gratitude for this year’s 88 academics and experts and 261 volunteer judges, ensuring the TCSA enjoyed robust and stringent judging, for which he recognized the volunteers contributions were essential to helping realize corporate social responsibility.

Mr. Schoolderman began by introducing the SDG Selector tools, which can help countries prioritize their sustainability issues for development, while concomitantly analyzing corporate promotion of sustainable goals’ order of precedence. In terms of Taiwan, he recommended beginning with an emphasis on working towards Good health and well-being (SDG 3), Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and Life below water (SDG 14). According to PwC global data, corporate sustainability reportage corresponding to SDGs remains low, so even though 90% of those corporations reportage includes sustainability mission statements and directions, only some 70% further mention quantified sustainability KPI efficacy, indicating that for the future corporate sustainability reportage still has room for improvement and progress.

CEO Brian Ho noted that the Chinese government has been working with alacrity to respond to climate change and strengthen carbon emission management, with publication this year of the “2017 Report on China’s response to climate change policies and activities”, along with environmental protection laws requiring corporate reduction of pollution generation, which will increase corporate operational risk, among which, there is required comprehensive pollution permit processes, ensuring greater corporate environmental management, while assuring the relevant information will be transparent and open.

Vice CEO Chieh-Chung Weng expressed that as sustainability business value becomes more apparent, 90% of CFOs believe that corporations must endeavor to promote sustainable development, resulting in more visible operational efficacy, and statistics indicate that 77% of the public are willing to buy products produced by outstanding socially responsible firms, and while corporate sustainable development goal establishment remains the duty of Boards of Directors or Sustainability Committee members, it is imperative to deploy innovation, marketing and efficacious operations for optimal sustainability solutions.

The Exclusive Roundtable event was moderated by CCS Secretary General Dr. Yuh-Ming Lee, with sharing of viewpoints among the three international speakers

The event was moderated by Dr. Yuh-Ming Lee, Secretary General of CCS, who shared with those present about how Taiwanese business had responded to the Chinese regulatory environment, considering the quandaries implicit in establishing corporate goals and civic objectives for mutual synergy and coalescing for consensus, with the lecturers responding with diverse points of view; Mr. Schoolderman of PxC explained that for corporations and the public the 17 SDGs may have diverse orders of priority, and corporations must effectively engage in communication to ensure issues are properly elucidated and their scope well delineated. COO Brian Ho of EY expressed how when corporations expand their business operations, they must be aware of local regulations, and ensure proper orders of priority towards those entities responsible for the environment and finance; while Deloitte’s Vice CEO Chieh-Chung Weng recommended that when corporations establish their sustainable development strategies, they must amply and aptly consider the business perspective, ascertain and revaluate the risks involved, and robustly enhance the disclosure of non-financial information.

At the end of the Roundtable event, Secretary General Dr. Yu-Ming Lee remarked about the example of AU Optronics to encourage all those present, that even industries with heavy resource consumption and water use, can reduce their environmental burdens, through development and integration of technologies to achieve zero wastewater release, while thereby creating new business opportunities, for which AU Optronics Chairman of the Board and CEO, Shuang-Liang Peng, was recognized this year with the TCSA Outstanding Sustainability Leader Award, rightly honoring his position as a role model for sustainability.

At the end of the Roundtable, TACS Chairman Dr. Eugene Chien, CCS Secretary General Dr. Yu-Ming Lee, and the three international speakers join in a group photo