A school of management as the locomotive for outstanding corporate social responsibility practices in China
Prof. Qingyun Jiang, School of Management Fudan University, reveals how an educational institution can help drive corporate social responsibility in China with a unique and innovative award delivered to best performers in the corporate world.
Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is often a topic of lively debate in the western world – and indeed, many of us tend to perceive CSR as an inherently western concept. However, let’s get things straight – not only is CSR very much alive in China, despite its huge, traditionally-based economic growth in the last fifteen years or so, the country is among the world leaders in the sustainability side to CSR, especially in terms of wind and solar energy and electric transportation.
In the forefront of advances in this area is one of Asia’s leading educational institutions, School of management Fudan, the business and management school faculty which is part of the wider Fudan University in Shanghai.
Social Value Co-creation
At the cutting edge of this drive towards CSR, and co-hosted by School of Management at Fudan University and China-Chile Guan Aitong, a top Chinese HR consulting firm, is the “ai Social Value Co-creation” Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Practices in China initiative. Essentially, the school of management and its corporate partner have taken the initiative to develop and implement a CSR practice evaluation system from the perspective of “social value co-creation”. This is proposed to the corporate world both for collecting firms’ CSR practices which are presented in case study format, and serving as a framework for selection and subsequent award. The framework uses long-term tracking of progress in CSR practices in China and focuses on improvement of CSR evaluation mechanism and standards.
An outstanding case
The initiative is the first case study evaluation system designed by a management school on CSR performance and sustainability strategy in the country, and the Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Practices in China event has been successfully held twice to advocate the idea of social value co-creation. ‘Without the support of School of Management at Fudan University, this academy award would not exist,’ states Qingyun Jiang, professor of Marketing at Fudan and visiting scholar to prestigious establishments outside China such as Bocconi in Italy and MIT in the US. ‘As the organiser of the event, our school’s role is to provide the case evaluation theory and methodology, organise the academic committee across schools, and publish and present excellent cases. We also help enterprises to improve CSR strategy and process management, as well as publishing and communicating a performance audit.’
The School took the lead in inviting 15 prestigious professors from over 10 top universities in China to serve as the evaluation experts, redefining CSR and reshaping the global perspectives of Chinese enterprises. ‘On the basis of the “ai CSR event”, we developed an MBA elective course on ‘Social Enterprise’, adds Prof. Jiang.
Cultivation of social responsibility has always been one of the priorities of School of Management at Fudan University. According to Prof. Qingyun Jiang , it has integrated many concepts and practices of social responsibility within the school’s curriculum. ‘There are not only courses centered on sustainable development, but cases on social responsibility are also introduced in other courses such as finance, accounting, marketing and supply chain, to mention but a few. For Prof. Jiang, the event has enriched both the content of the school’s research and its teaching activities.
Walking the talk with its students
But that is not all. Not content to bring academia and the professional world together for the benefit of CSR, School of Management Fudan walks the talk by actively proposing extra-curricular projects to its students for the benefit of the common good. These include poverty relief initiatives, voluntary teaching in remote mountainous areas and caring for the aged. ‘This,’ states Prof. Jiang, ‘encourages undergraduates and postgraduates to step out of campus and shoulder social responsibilities. There are also many student organisations and associations focusing on social responsibility in Fudan University, the school’s parent institution.’
School of Management Fudan’s students will become China’s future professional managers, senior executives and entrepreneurs after graduation. For Prof. Qingyun Jiang, without awareness of social responsibility during their studies, students wouldn’t recognise and undertake CSR practices in their future careers – all the more a reason why the school’s philosophy and practice maintains its link to social responsibility and counts on keeping the “ai Social Value Co-creation” Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Practices in China event resolutely on the yearly agenda.
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The Council on Business & Society (The CoBS), visionary in its conception and purpose, was created in 2011, and is dedicated to promoting responsible leadership and tackling issues at the crossroads of business and society including sustainability, diversity, ethical leadership and the place responsible business has to play in contributing to the common good.
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