World news story

International Sustainability Conference held in Shenzhen

The Conference explores how to deliver world-class development along the Belt and Road.

The British Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward delivered a speech.
The British Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward delivered a speech.

Today (23 November) marks the launch of the inaugural “International Sustainability Conference in Guangdong: Building a World-Class Business Environment across the Maritime Silk Road” in China’s innovation capital, Shenzhen.

Sustainability is critical for corporate development and encompasses issues as diverse as greening the supply chain, staff engagement, talent management, corporate governance and responsible investment.

Businesses robustly addressing these issues have seen their market-shares grow and reputations enhanced, making it easier to tap into opportunities in the global market. In this context, the Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to deliver a new wave of development and economic growth.

Launching the conference, the British Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward said:

We are committed to a long-term, sustainable trade relationship with China and the rest of the world, so we place increasing emphasis on the “triple-bottom line”: social and environmental performance as well as financial profit.

This helps spread the benefits of trade as fairly as possible in communities. As more and more customers want products that are responsibly sourced and sustainably produced we can create a win-win between sustainable supply and sustainable demand. Increasing international cooperation is seen as vital to achieving these goals.

Studies show that gender inequality holds back social development and economic growth. There is a positive link between gender diversity and corporate sustainability. If women were operating at their full potential, and playing the same role in labour markets as men, an estimated $28 trillion or 26% which could be added to global GDP in 2025, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. Organisations with strong diversity and inclusive policies in place find it easier to attract a wider customer base, meet regulatory requirements and find, attract and retain world-class talent.

Today’s event illustrates what can be achieved through innovative partnership. To achieve further progress it is vital that we continue to work through multi-stakeholder initiatives to realise our ultimate objective of a sustainable world for all.

More information about the Conference (PDF, 619KB, 2 pages)

Published 23 November 2017