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Transparency, integrity and impact at CSR Asia Summit 2018

by Bronwyn Alexander  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 26 September 2018

A mere four hours after the most intense typhoon in Hong Kong’s recorded history began to exit the city, we launched CSR Asia Summit 2018, the pre-Summit training and the annual gathering of the CSR Asia Strategic Partners. We convened to address Asia’s most pressing corporate and supply chain sustainability issues, and we were confronted yet again with a mega storm spurred on by warmer sea surface temperatures. Despite the logistical challenges, the Summit kicked off as scheduled with nearly everyone in attendance ― over 500 speakers and delegates from 23 other cities in Asia and around the world.  

This year’s theme was Transparency, Integrity and Impact – the foundations of responsible business. For the first time, CSR Asia Summit incorporated the content of The ELEVATE Leadership Series in Hong Kong, resulting in content deep on all parts of sustainability including supply chain. 

During two days at the Summit, we listened, we problem-solved, we reconnected, and we networked during 23 sessions and across three streams that covered business strategy and transformation, supply chain integrity and innovation, and emerging issues and impact.

Our keynote speakers set the stage for the two-day event. Shirley Yu, Visa’s Group Company Manager, Greater China, illustrated how transparency, integrity and impact could drive social progress in a digital economy. Based on Visa’s principles of deepening partnerships, security, and integrity, Shirley shared her thoughts about building a foundation of trust through responsible innovation and business practices to benefit individuals in underserved communities.

Robert Swan, OBE, the first person to walk to the North and South poles, evoked awe, admiration and laughter as he shared his story of determination in some of the world’s harshest environments. Calling us to “Sustainable Inspiration”, Robert advised on our own personal leadership. Have the courage to choose different people for your team who will challenge you, be a servant to your team, support and trust your team – and then allow them to lead on their own. Be positive. While it’s harder to be the positive one at the table, have you met anyone who inspired through negativity?!  

The Leadership Panel, led by CSR Asia’s Richard Welford, featured Ai Hua Ong, Group Company Chairman, Janssen Asia Pacific; David Harmon, Vice President Global Public Affairs, Huawei Technologies; and Ulrich Boettger, Senior Vice President Finance and Controlling Asia Pacific, BASF. The panel discussed how innovation, transparency and integrity are fundamental to achieving sustainability without greenwashing. We must partner together and share best practices to make progress, and business must work on issues that are material to their activities, keeping in mind that sustainability ultimately brings economic benefits.

ELEVATE CEO, Ian Spaulding, and panelists explored global trends in responsible sourcing, zeroing in on the top five: forced labor, rationalizing industry initiatives, the ESGs going mainstream, a focus on auditor quality and accreditation, and technology and predictive analytics.

These are only a few of the many conversations at CSR Asia Summit. The sheer diversity and talent of speakers this year widened our perspectives. Hailing from corporate sustainability, CSR, legal, finance, responsible sourcing, compliance, corporate communications, executive management and NGOs, the speakers revealed to us new ways to approach our initiatives and programs for impact.

What can you do to practice ‘Sustainable Inspiration’?

We have a few ideas.

  • As Rob Swan said, hold on to your dream. Your colleagues depend on this. Share with your workforce and networks what you learned at the Summit and what inspired you.
  • Janssen’s Company Group Chairman of APAC, Ai Hua Ong, who spoke on the Leadership Panel at the Summit, shared her Summit reflections with her LinkedIn network. Let it inspire you.
  • Connect with ELEVATE on LinkedIn and Twitter and be the first to learn about our 2019 Summit date and location.  
  • If you attended, help us further elevate your experience next year – please complete the feedback survey we emailed on 21 September. We too wish to continuously improve.
  • Connect with people you met at the Summit and continue the learning and networking. Consider joining CSR Asia’s Strategic Partner program.
  • Consider partnering with the amazing initiatives we learned about during the Investing for Impact session: The Plastic Collective, The Pulse’s Virtual Reality for CSR and supply chain excellence, and Community Connections.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter. Check out the Summit-related articles about the SDGs, Alibaba’s approach to philanthropy, gender equality in the workplace, no time (or plastic) to waste!, industry solutions to workplace violence, and more.  
  • Why not turbocharge your personal leadership capabilities, test your resilience, improve your knowledge of climate change and sustainability, and spend more time with Robert Swan and his son, Barney? Join ClimateForce: Arctic 2019 Expedition. You can reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and check out his website.  
  • Buy a carbon offset for your next flight!

This Summit―immediately following Typhoon Mangkhut―could not have happened without your resilience and dedication to being part of the CSR Asia Summit community. Thank you. And we also thank our CSR Asia Strategic Partners, Summit sponsors, and outreach partners including Visa, Huawei, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, State Street, Investing in Women, Baker McKenzie, BASF, Coca-Cola, Li & Fung, Prudence Foundation, C&A Foundation, City Developments Limited, CLP Power, Global Child Forum, Embassy of Sweden Beijing and partners, and more (see below).

See you next year!


Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

NGO Marketplace

Breakfast Roundtable Host


Silver Sponsors




Prudence Foundation

Session Sponsors


PR Partner

Digital Partner

Outreach Partners
Supporting Partners