Date : 2022-11-25 Source : New Taipei City Government
New Taipei City takes action to promote the UN COP 27 by joining together with CSOs to improve its ESG efforts
Echoing the theme of the United Nations Climate Change Conference this year, which is more commonly referred to as COP27, "Together for Implementation," New Taipei City joined efforts with Anchor Taiwan, an innovation ecosystem platform, and invited 20 chief sustainability officers to gather together on the final day of the summit on November 18, 2022. The participating companies were in industries ranging from traditional manufacturing to technology and of types ranging from foreign businesses to hidden champions, with a total market value exceeding NT$2 trillion.
These sustainability officers engaged in an afternoon of in-depth cross-industry, cross-regional, and cross-generational exchanges in the form of roundtable discussions and interactive workshops, where they jointly considered the positioning and future of Taiwan's businesses and government within global sustainability.
Cities' key role in sustainability
New Taipei City Secretary General Yao Ching-yu stated that her experience with diplomacy and international affairs has indicated to her that the charm and energy of cities may sometimes transcend national borders and have more varied influences over the global sustainable practices. She said, "On this year's Earth Day, New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih expressed his commitment to working with businesses to implement environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. Our city government is the first to offer a platform for corporate ESG initiatives on our bilingual SDGs website, which has facilitated dialogues with the private sector." This event, which was parallel to COP27, was intended not to be a formal forum; the purpose was to create a space for industry leaders to engage in closed-door talks and launch potential action-oriented partnerships.
What type of voice does Taiwan have on the world stage?
The host of this event was Anchor Taiwan founder and CEO Elisa Chiu. She stated that Anchor Taiwan has always been dedicated to developing Taiwan's value proposition and international visibility. Regarding the issues of sustainability, in addition to passively responding to the demands of international brands and regulations, Taiwan should consider how it can take on a more active role in promoting and leading sustainability efforts. She said, "For example, Giant has used its position as a leader in the bicycle industry and called on its global supply chain to form the Bicycling Alliance for Sustainability and buy carbon credits for bicycling. This is a great example of active participation."
How can businesses join forces with each other and cities for the common good?
The representatives at this meeting included holding groups in traditional industries that will soon be 100 years old. A representative reported, "We have to revolutionize ourselves." The representative of a semiconductor business, whose products are common but unnoticed in our daily lives, stated, "ESG goals are the interface through which we communicate with our stakeholders." A representative from the largest one-stop sports equipment retailer in Taiwan said, "Scope 3 accounts for 86% of the carbon emissions from our products. In addition to the supply chain, extending the lifespan of our products is a challenge we're tackling."
The representatives also brought an abundance of knowledge from their respective industries, which included software, textiles, electronics, passive components, finance, biomed, electromechanics, furniture, plastics, and construction. After the first round of roundtable introductions, cocreation workshops were held. The industry representatives were asked to engage in group discussions on the topics of "how will they voice for Taiwan if they are to participate next year in COP28," "opportunities for cross-industry collaboration," and "resources and assistance that local governments can provide."
Humility is key, and make changes from "yesterday"
The representatives, whose backgrounds include human resources, marketing, public relations, and risk control, engaged in discussions on how sustainability can be promoted from the perspectives of climate justice, biodiversity, and climate investment and financing. These representatives stated that more cross-industry collaboration should take place in the future. Of particular note is that women accounted for 80% of the sustainability leaders at this meeting. Sustainable practices are best implemented with effective communication, listening, and coordination. The chief sustainability officer of a company is typically subordinate to only one person but must demonstrate sufficient humility to ensure effective coordination among all departments and thus to identify a collective path forward.
"Taiwan is the missing puzzle piece in the global sustainability map." The energy demonstrated this afternoon has inspired the New Taipei City team and the participating business representatives to continue to work together for the benefit of all.