(Seoul) – The first Global Compact China-Japan-Korea Roundtable Conference was held today to further advance corporate responsibility in the region. The Roundtable, jointly organized by the Global Compact Local Networks from each country, provides the opportunity for formal collaboration between the Northeast Asian Networks to intensify.
At the Roundtable Conference, which brought together more than 150 business executives, academics, government officials and civil society leaders, the three Local Networks announced a joint research project on the materiality of corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives within the region. The research project will be presented at the Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010 (24-25 June, New York). The second Global Compact China-Korea-Japan Roundtable Conference will take place in the second half of 2010.
H.E. Mr. Shin Kak-soo, Vice Minister of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, delivered the conference’s keynote speech and welcomed the launch of the Roundtable. He conveyed his hope that the Roundtable “will generate valuable insights on how to best integrate the principles of the UN Global Compact into the business environments and with the values of our region”.
Mr. Toshio Arima, Executive Board Member of Fuji Xerox, underscored the importance of regional cooperation, stating: “We need mechanisms to gather our voices and amplify them. We need mechanisms to take actions in collaborative ways. I strongly believe that the Global Compact has a lot to offer in this regard.”
“Cooperation between China, Japan and Korea to promote the Global Compact should give rise to a more advanced CSR model that combines Asian values with Western CSR principles. The Roundtable today gives us a great opportunity to make the first strides toward that goal,” said Mr. Chey Tae-won, Chairman of SK Group.
Ms. Chen Ying, Director of the Beijing Rong Zhi Institute of Corporate Social Responsibility, noted that “the first Global Compact China-Korea-Japan Roundtable is held in a very timely manner and is a historic step towards strengthened cooperation among three networks.” She urged Roundtable participants to “be innovative, be forward-looking, be ambitious and demonstrate leadership”.
Mr. Arima, Mr. Chey and Ms. Chen are all members of the UN Global Compact Board and attended the Roundtable Conference on behalf of their country’s Local Network.
The conference provided participants with an opportunity to discuss the role of the Global Compact in fostering responsible business practices and nurturing ethical business leadership in the region. Stressing common challenges, such as climate change and the financial crisis, participants identified ways to further integrate practices such as ethical business leadership, transparency, sustainability, and partnerships for development into the region’s business framework.
“The three Northeast Asian Networks are very vibrant and rapidly growing, they represent nearly 500 participants,” said Mr. Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. He added, “ I very much welcome the launch of the Global Compact China-Korea-Japan Roundtable and hope that this platform for collaboration will serve as an inspirational example for how Global Compact principles which are rooted in universal values can bring neighboring countries closer together.”
The Roundtable Conference was co-hosted by the Global Compact Networks in China, Japan and Korea.
* Remarks – H.E. Shin Kak-Soo, Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea
* Remarks – Mr. Toshio Arima, Executive Board Member of Fuji Xerox
* Remarks – Mr. Chey Tae-won, Chairman of SK Group
* Presentation – Global Compact Network Korea
Head of Local Networks