China, with the rest of Asia, has become the engine of growth that can fuel recovery in Europe and North America. It is imperative that a new mutually enhancing partnership is forged by governments and business based on sustainable economic, social, ethical and environmental practices.
The role of business, however, in making this sustainable growth a reality is absolutely critical.
It demands commitment to improving labour standards and working conditions, managing natural resources and the environment with care and responsibility, and putting integrity and transparency at the heart of business transactions and relationships.
For the past 5 years, the International Business Leaders Forum and the Renmin University of China have provided the opportunity for both Chinese and foreign businesses to meet regularly in Beijing and Shanghai under the banner of theChina Business Leaders Forum, to share experience and to develop common approaches to responsible business standards and governance.
Funded initially by the British Embassy and a group of multinational companies, the initiative has now developed to the stage where a new China Centre for Corporate Sustainability was launched last year as a local vehicle through which the work of the China Business leaders Forum can be driven forward. The Centre will draw on international standards of best practice to develop frameworks, and practical support on sustainable business practice for companies doing business in China and for Chinese companies operating internationally.
Instead of a total focus on trade and currency disputes, let us hope that the issues of sustainability