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What happens with CSR when the textile business goes west? Seminar on 11 April

On the 11 April, the CSR Centre at the Swedish Embassy in Beijing, together with the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) held a seminar in order to present a study they jointly conducted on the implications on CSR as the textile industry in China experiences a move further west in the country.  The SSB program supported the event. 

There  was a great interest for the matter and around 70 participants from different companies and organizations in China came to hear the presentation and the following panel discussion regarding the topic. Media representatives were also there and showed their interest in the matter.

The seminar began with Anders Wollter, Head of the CSR Centre at the Swedish Embassy in Beijing, saying some welcoming words and presenting the collaboration with CNTAC. He also emphasized the importance of CSR in China today and the comparative advantage this can give companies in the industry.

Further, there were some opening remarks given by Mr. Sun Ruizhe, Vice President of CNTAC and Mr. Cheng Duosheng, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact in China Network. Mr. Sun spoke about how the textile industry was the forerunner when it comes to CSR practice in China and that they have accomplished much but there is still work to be done, for example regarding the issue of overtime work.
 
Next, it was time for Mr. Liang Xiaohui, Chief Researcher at CNTAC, to share the findings from the study they performed together with the CSR Centre. One of the main implications of the move west is the positive effect on social demands, such as workers not having to migrate and they can stay closer to their families. This will have a positive impact the local economic and social vitality and will also give more opportunities for female workers since trends in the past show that they often move back to their hometowns to start families and therefore leaving their jobs in the eastern regions. One other positive remark is that the gap on awareness of social responsibility between the regions will become smaller. A more negative aspect of the move is that the supply chains in the west are lacking in experience and quality, which might be costly for the companies and cause shipments of goods to increase back and forth between the regions. There will also be a need for the local governments to implement sustainable local policies which focus on CSR and the protection of environment and not only on the economical aspect.

The seminar continued with an interesting and engaging panel discussion featuring Mr. Yang Jun, Deputy Secretary of CNTAC, Mr. Chen Hui´An, Vice President and Secretary of the Shannxi Garment Industry Association, Mr. Yu Jiaming, Director of President´s Office and HR department of the Zhejiang U-Sun Group and also Ms. Wang Lin, Sustainability Manager of Greater China IKEA Trading. They all agreed with the report but they could also see tendencies for the industry making decisions not to move west but to stay in eastern China and take more advantage of the business synergies created there. As for the implication the move will have on CSR, they all agreed and they also emphasized the earlier mentioned guidance and support the western regions will need to implement this in a good manner. Finally they all expressed positive feelings towards the industry transition and that this will benefit and strengthen the whole textile industry.

Similar presentation of the study was made in Beijing earlier this week, also with the same great interest from the participants.

For more information on this event, please contact Hanna Elving, Project Manager of SSB, hanna.elving@business-sweden.