Discussion on “how to balance and drive profits with CSR”
At the recent U.N. General Assembly, many in the consumer industry were heartened by China's climate change goals for 2030 and 2060 while "green recovery" has become the hottest keyword in many global discussions since the outbreak. On the one hand, as the world sees significant improvements in the way the environment is being protected, Chinese customers are experiencing an organic, inexpensive and quick adaptation into an environmentally friendly market. On the other hand, being in an industry with great social and environmental impact, consumer brands has social responsibility (SR) to realize the sustainable development in all aspects and hence gained more and more attention from the industry and the public.
To build around this subject, an alumni delegation led by University of Manchester China Centre Director Sherry Fu visited alumni company Good Group on 8th April 2021. Reid Lu, GMBA alumnus, student representative of his intake and VP sales at Good Group welcomed everyone for coming and led a tour around the company where exclusive peeks were offered into the collection of creative products made for international brands. Alain Chan, the creative VP elaborated on trends of product and design, new material application under the sustainable principle.
Eagle Wang, the marketing director shared the story of how sustainable brand of KAFFTEC maximizes its expertise in consumer industry to offer affordable solutions to transform the waste into premium & high-performance recycled materials at scale. When the numbers were presented -over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide everyday, creating 22,500 tons of waste from coffee grounds- everyone among the delegation started to wonder not only how many millions in disposal fees coffee waste cost businesses but more importantly how much harms our planet through associated methane emissions are done. As the coffee industry continues to boom, the environmental sustainability of the business has become a rising concern. Alumni engaged in heated discussion on how enterprises with strong social responsibilities could achieve a circular economy through innovations in identifying, recycling and re-imagining materials.
Aileen Wei, GMBA alumnus, co-founder of University of Manchester China Centre alumni marketing club, founder of Zero Waste Beauty and SAFONE emphasized the importance of both education to inspire and the business of holistic management we need for meaningful change. Gillian Sun, BD manager from Impact Hub Shanghai talked about her events on various topics around the Sustainable Development Goals. Karen Jin, a strong advocator for education to carry out the mission to inspire and save the environment shared her personal experience growing up having the habit of sorting trash and how this influenced her consumer behavior and her startup idea.
In the end, Sherry Fu gave an overview of China Centre alumni engagement in SR over the years and encouraged alumni to execute their own charitable initiatives, “Through visits to alumni companies, our alumni engagement in social responsibility is extended to a wider audience where we could connect alumni across industries and share experience and insights when addressing some issues in CSR such as the one question raised during Q & A that inspired a 30-min discussion on how to balance and drive profits with CSR, i.e., how to run a more eco-friendly yet lucrative business” said Fu.