GoldenBee Insights

ESG competitiveness fuels sustainable economic globalization

source:goldencsr    date:2024-07-08 10:19:34

Since President Xi first proposed “new quality productive force” in September 2023, its development has been planned at the Central Economic Work Conference, its connotation has been systematically elaborated during the 11th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in January 2024, and for the first time, it was listed as the primary task in the Government Work Report in 2024 to “strive to modernize the industrial system and develop new quality productive forces at a faster pace”. New quality productive force has not only become a buzzword in the international community, a topic for discussion and layout across various industries, but also a key term for China to achieve high-quality development.

The vigorous practice of productive forces calls for the theory of productive forces to keep pace with the times. The trend of sustainable development is gaining momentum, and new quality productive force offers more new expectations, new opportunities, and new drivers. It can be said that new quality productive force is not only a thought force leading practical development and catalyzing conceptual innovation, an innovative source driving corporate management reform and improving efficiency and quality, a green productive force delivering the concept that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets”, but also a good centripetal force for achieving common prosperity and meeting people’s pursuit of a happy life. The 19th International CSR/ESG Forum, hosted by GoldenBee ThinkTank with the theme of “New Quality Productive Forces Driving Sustainable Development”, opened in this context, discussing new developments, observing new practices, looking forward to new trends, and contributing to new developments.

Mr. Yin Gefei, Chief Expert of GoldenBee ThinkTank and Founder of GoldenBee Consulting, delivered a keynote speech at the forum titled “ESG Competitiveness Fuels Sustainable Economic Globalization”, sharing the eight characteristics of sustainable economic globalization.


Here are the bullet points of the speech:

From economic globalization, which began in the 1970s, to the deglobalization of this century, and now the new round of economic globalization characterized by sustainable development, which we call “sustainable economic globalization”, the change is mainly manifested in two aspects: first, the industry of sustainable development is increasingly showing its vitality globally; second, sustainable management and operation methods are becoming the greatest consensus among enterprises, governments, and all aspects of society.
Understanding “sustainable economic globalization” can be deepened through the following eight characteristics:

Characteristic 1:
The Global Goals
United Nations  Sustainable Development Goals

On September 23, 2015, 193 United Nations member states unanimously passed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, proposing 17 goals and 169 targets for global development over 15 years to enter the track of sustainable development. It was the first time that humanity has formed clear goals and reached a consensus on sustainable development, marking the entry of humanity into an era with clear sustainable development goals.

Characteristic 2:
New Rules for Sustainable Trade
Formation of Social Responsibility/ESG Rule System

According to tracking research on the social responsibility rule system, the current social responsibility/ESG/sustainable development has formed at least 436 rules, which can be divided into four categories: conventions and global initiatives, industry production codes and standards, multi-stakeholder codes and tools, and corporate conduct codes.
Although these rule systems do not belong to international trade rules, they have an increasingly significant impact on global economic activities. In our economic trade, these social responsibility/ESG/sustainable development rule systems have had a huge impact on economic activities at different levels, especially through the global supply chain, which has deeply penetrated many industries. On June 17, 2022, the WTO reached the first agreement with sustainable development as a key goal, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, prohibiting certain forms of subsidies for unsustainable fishing activities that threaten global fish stocks. It marked the introduction of social responsibility/ESG/sustainable rules into real trade rules. It is believed that more content from these four rule systems will become real trade rules in the future.

Characteristic 3:
Sustainable Development Policy Mechanism
Policies and regulations play a guiding and pacesetting role

Internationally, the European Union has introduced a systematic sustainability policy mechanism. Domestically, more and more government departments have joined the field of social responsibility/sustainable development, forming relevant functional departments.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology promotes social responsibility work by the Department of Industrial Policies and Regulations, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) has established a Social Responsibility Bureau, and the Ministry of Finance has also released a draft for comments on the Basic Guidelines for Sustainable Information Disclosure.
On December 29, 2022, the Ministry of Finance of China and the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS Foundation) signed a memorandum of understanding, and on June 19, 2023, the Beijing office of the IFRS Foundation was officially established.

Characteristic 4:
Sustainable Evaluation Global Mechanism
Global Practice of ESG/CSR Audit and Evaluation

The sustainable evaluation mechanism promotes the implementation of the social responsibility rule system. Taking the social responsibility audit of EcoVadis as an example, its audit involves more than 130,000 companies in 180 countries, including more than 1,100 large companies that use it as an audit standard.
In addition, more than 65,000 companies worldwide have passed the ethical audit of Sedex’s responsible supply chain.
The mainstream global index companies all have launched a series of sustainability indices, such as S&P Dow Jones, Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) indexes, Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index Series, etc.
The results of social responsibility/ESG audits and evaluations are not only applied to international trade but also play a role in the capital market.

Characteristic 5:
Sustainable Investment and Financing Mechanism
ESG/Responsible Investment Becomes a New Trend

Currently, 122 partner exchanges worldwide have joined the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, involving 63,095 companies with a total market value of more than 126.9699 trillion US dollars.
Another set of data shows that as of December 31, 2023, 5,372 organizations worldwide have joined the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), with the total assets managed by the signatories exceeding 121.3 trillion US dollars, accounting for more than half of the global professional asset management scale, of which one-third of the assets have been carried out according to the relevant responsible investment rules. Domestically, according to the latest incomplete statistics, by the end of 2023, China issued 3.62 trillion yuan in green bonds, 30.08 trillion yuan in green credit, over 525.6 billion yuan in ESG public funds, and 29.06 trillion yuan in inclusive finance, with the amount of sustainable capital market reaching 63 trillion yuan, marking China’s share in the sustainable financial market as an indispensable position.

Characteristic 6:
Sustainable Consumption Mechanism
Guiding the Transformation of Responsible Production Methods

Responsible product certification has become an important basis for green consumption, sustainable consumption, and responsible consumption. It is an important measure for companies to convey their commitment to consumers and enhance consumers’ trust and recognition of their products.
The Credit Suisse Research Institute’s (CSRI) comprehensive research data on 10,000 consumers aged 16 to 40 from 10 countries around the world shows that by 2024, 69% of young consumers will be willing to choose a more sustainable lifestyle for the environment. China ranks third at the overall ranking of young consumers’ participation in sustainable development.
With the gradual change of social concepts, sustainable consumption will become an important force in promoting the transformation of  responsible production methods, and more and more companies will also participate in the era of guiding the transformation of responsible production methods.

Characteristic 7:
Sustainable Information Disclosure Mechanism
Changes in Information Disclosure from IASB to ISSB

The development of the sustainable information disclosure mechanism will gradually be similar to the financial information disclosure mechanism for companies, forming a unified set of global rules and standards.
China is also deeply involved in this process. On April 12, 2024, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE), the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) and the Beijing Stock Exchange (BSE) officially released draft guidelines for corporate sustainability disclosure for A-share listed companies; on May 27, 2024, the Ministry of Finance of China released the Corporate Sustainability Disclosure Standards - Basic Standards (Draft for Comments), proposing that by 2027, China’s basic standards for corporate sustainability disclosure and climate-related disclosure standards will be successively introduced, and by 2030, the national unified sustainability disclosure standard system will be basically established.

Characteristic 8:
Sustainable Win-Win Mechanism
ESG Competitiveness Becomes the Core Competitiveness of the New Era of Sustainable Economy

The new round of economic globalization needs to achieve competitive win-win outcomes, which requires both competition and the formation of win-win situations. Under the new competition rules, the ESG competitiveness or sustainability competitiveness of companies will become the core competencies in the new era of sustainable economy.
For companies, building responsible competitiveness, ESG competitiveness, and sustainability competitiveness is not only about creating new quality productive forces but also promoting the development of sustainable economic globalization.
They should integrate the principles of ESG, social responsibility, and sustainable development into their business philosophy, functional department management, and production processes, thereby shaping the core competitiveness of the new round of sustainable economic globalization and making new contributions to a more sustainable world.