The English version of the Community Engagement Handbook for Chinese International Contractors (hereinafter referred to as “Handbook”), China’s first handbook on overseas investment community engagement, was launched on January 14, 2019.


A previous Chinese version has been jointly released on October 26, 2018 in Beijing by SynTao, China International Contractors Association, The Asia Foundation Beijing Representative Office, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, and Simeng CSR Promotion Centre. The launch was attended by around 70 people from academia, private sector, civil society, industry associations, think tanks, and the press.


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Around 70 people from academia, private sector, civil society, industry associations, think tanks, and the press attending the launch


As the Belt and Road Initiative deepens, China has seen continued growth in overseas investment. China's accumulated outbound direct investment (ODI) reached over $1.8 trillion by the end of 2017, an increase of $451.65 billion over the same period of the previous year and moving up to the second place in the world rankings. Meanwhile, the destination countries and international society are paying an increasing amount of attention to the impact of investment on the environment and society beyond benefits on economic development, employment opportunities, and infrastructure. The risks facing Chinese enterprises as they operate globally are transitioning from traditional, for example, political, economic, social, and technological, to non-traditional risks including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks. 


The solution to non-traditional risks ultimately lies in the company itself, its projects, and the communities where it operates. With financial support from The Asia Foundation Beijing Representative Office, Simeng CSR Promotion Centre led a team of experts from SynTao, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, and China International Contractors Association to develop the Community Engagement Handbook for Chinese International Contractors, with a view to identifying, assessing, and responding to such risks. The Handbook offers a practical set of community engagement tools based on the rich and fruitful overseas CSR experience of Chinese international contractors, creating favorable conditions for promoting China’s sustainable investment overseas.


Opening speeches were given by Ms. Ji Hongbo, Chief Representative of The Asia Foundation Beijing Representative Office, Ms. Zhang Xiang, Secretary-General of China International Contractors Association, and Dr. Guo Peiyuan, General Manager of Syntao and Chairman of Simeng CSR Promotion Centre, on behalf of the funders, research implementers, and research organizers respectively. They congratulated on the release of the Handbook and gave recognition to its practicality achieved through localizing an internationally recognized set of community engagement tools by including the outstanding overseas CSR experience of Chinese international contractors. They all expressed hope that the research team would promote the use the Handbook in the overseas investment and operations of the infrastructure industry by offering training sessions, etc. to enhance the awareness and capabilities of community engagement, and through such sessions obtain input that would inform continuous updates and improvements to the Handbook.


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Ms. Ji Hongbo, Chief Representative of The Asia Foundation Beijing Representative Office, giving a speech


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Ms. Zhang Xiang, Secretary-General of China International Contractors Association, giving a speech


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Dr. Guo Peiyuan, General Manager of Syntao and Chairman of Simeng CSR Promotion Centre, giving a speech


Mr. Zhang Hongfu, Senior Manager of SynTao, gave a detailed introduction to the development background, features, structure and frameworks, and basic content of the Handbook on behalf of the research team. The Handbook uses the frameworks and logic introduced in the Community Engagement Guideline for Overseas Investment of Chinese Enterprises previously developed by the team. The issues and challenges discussed under all of the seven sections of the main body, namely Establishing Communication Positions and Placing Proper Personnel, Grasping the Overall Situation, Confirming Message, Developing Channels, Effective Execution, Monitoring Feedback, and Emergency Plans, are sub-divided into the five components of Rationale, Action Points, Dos and Don’ts, Tool, and Case that collectively form the solution. Zhang Hongfu said that the development of the Handbook had followed the tool development principle, adopting discourse system and logic that are familiar to Chinese enterprises and aligning internationally recognized tools with the rich and varied firsthand practices of Chinese enterprises. At the same time, the Handbook offers better reading convenience by including indexes for tools, cases, and keywords, allowing readers to access needed knowledge and tools the same way they would use a dictionary. 


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Mr. Zhang Hongfu, Senior Manager of SynTao and host of the launch, giving an introduction to the framework and basic content of the Handbook


In the Expert Review section, Dr. Guo Yi, Professor of School of Economics, Beijing Technology and Business University, commented that the Handbook was an effective attempt of “solving social problems with an engineer mindset” as it divided up the non-traditional risks facing the overseas investment of Chinese enterprises into specific, refined, and exercisable steps by integrating the community engagement tools of different industries and including a rich array of cases. He agreed that the Handbook would come to life when used by enterprises in their actual operations and expected the research team to further extend its scope of application in community engagement. 


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Dr. Guo Yi, Professor of School of Economics, Beijing Technology and Business University and Director of Institute for Doing Business for Enterprises, commenting on the Handbook


Mr. Shang Shengping, Deputy Director of Department of Strategy and Consulting, China International Contractors Association, shared with the audience the outstanding practices of China’s international contracting industry in driving the social responsibility performance and sustainable development of the member enterprises. As one of the first “going out” industries in China, the international contracting industry has garnered rich experience in handling all types of traditional and non-traditional risks. Thanks to factors like government attention and the enhanced power of companies, China International Contractors Association has contributed to a range of new features regarding the social responsibility performance of industry players such as active awareness, continuously improved practice, and increasingly refined management by implementing measures such as standard setting, performance evaluation, training & seminars, and international exchange.


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Mr. Shang Shengping, Deputy Director of Department of Strategy and Consulting, China International Contractors Association, sharing outstanding social responsibility practices of China’s international contracting industry


Dr. Duan Zhirong, Assistant Professor of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, then unveiled the updated Country Responsibility Risk Index for Chinese Overseas Investment 2018. First released in 2017, the Index is a joint research effort between the China Overseas Investment Risk Map platform (affiliated to SynTao) and Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. In particular, Dr. Duan Zhirong drew the audience’s attention to two indexes, namely the newly introduced index in 2018 and the special focus, pointing out that the inclusion of those two indexes would help Chinese enterprises more effectively track the development trend of non-traditional risks in overseas investment, identify and predict such risks, and make strategic decisions accordingly.


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Dr. Duan Zhirong, Assistant Professor of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, unveiling the updated Country Responsibility Risk Index for Chinese Overseas Investment 2018.


The launch concluded with a discussion session led by Ms. Wang Yalin, project official of UNDP in China. Dr. Zhou Mi, Deputy Director-General of North American & Oceanian Affairs, Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, Mr. Wei Wei, Director-General of China Charity Alliance Disaster Relief Committee, Ms. Wang Sudan, Economist of China Machinery Engineering Corporation, Ms. Fu Lijuan, Senior Business Manager of Overseas Business Department, China Geo-Engineering Corporation, shared their own research and practice as well as understanding of community engagement on behalf of government think tanks, academia, civil society, and private sector respectively. The experiences and lessons shared by guests from the private sector resonated particularly with the audience. In the Q&A section, opinions were exchanged between the audience and guests as regards specific cases and topics on community capacity building, enhancing professional engagement capacity, among other issues.


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Guests making remarks in the discussion session


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Audience interacting with the guests


For more information, please contact:

Contact person: Zhang Hongfu

Email: zhanghongfu@syntao.com

Phone: (010) 58699466-8017


(QR code here)


Profile of Organizers


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The Shanghai Pudong New Area Simeng CSR Promotion Centre (Simeng) was established in 2015 on the basis of the China CSR Map (CCM) initiated by Syntao and a number of other institutions. Since its launch in 2006, CCM has been committed to facilitating a better-informed understanding of CSR in China both at home and abroad by introducing Chinese enterprises’ practices to the world. CCM launched the CRO (Chief Responsibility Officer) Forum in 2010, a platform dedicated to promoting communication among industry experts on social responsibility. It has so far organized over 100 forums in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and other cities, involving the participation of hundreds of CSR managers. In the future, Simen aims to build up a professional service platform for CSR managers to support their growth.


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SynTao Co., Ltd. is a leading independent consultancy in China specialized in corporate social responsibility (CSR), socially responsible investment (SRI), and corporate culture. With a global vision and local practices, the company is committed to providing professional counseling, research, and investment consulting services.

SynTao Co., Ltd. was founded in Beijing in 2005 and currently operates in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Washington, D.C.

As one of the first professional CSR consultancies in China, SynTao has garnered a wealth of experience in areas of CSR and sustainable development. The company provides a full range of consulting services such as CSR strategy planning, report consulting/development, stakeholder engagement, public benefit program design/supervision and appraisal, case development, responsible investment, and corporate culture. SynTao aims to join hands with the clients in developing sustainability solutions to promote capacity building while creating value for the society.


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Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM) was established in 1984. With a mission to advance knowledge and cultivate leaders for China and the world, Tsinghua SEM leads China in areas such as talent cultivation, scientific research, social influence, and international communication, and strives to become a world-class school of economics and management.


Tsinghua SEM currently consists of seven departments, namely Accounting, Economics, Finance, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Leadership and Organization Management, Management Science and Engineering, and Marketing, covering the four first-level majors of management science and engineering, business administration, theoretical economics, and applied economics. Tsinghua SEM currently is also home to the secretariat of the China National MBA Education Supervisory Committee. 


From 2007 to 2008, Tsinghua SEM received management education accreditation from AACSB, accounting education accreditation from EQUIS, and EQUIS accreditation from EFMD, and is the first business school in mainland China accredited by both AACSB and EQUIS. 


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China International Contractors Association (CHINCA) is a national industry association formed by Chinese international contractors, labor service companies, engineering investors, and related service providers.


Since its establishment in 1988, CHINCA has been actively performing its duties of providing professional services, communicating members' appeals, and strengthening industry self-discipline, aiming to drive the sound development of its members and promote the rapid and healthy progress of China's international investment and economic cooperation.


CHINCA currently has more than 1,300 members, among which over 1,000 are engaged in international project contracting and investment. This represents over 90% of the total business value of the industry and covers more than 190 countries and regions globally. Every year, more than 60 CHINCA members get listed in the ENR Top 250 International Contractors and several key members among the Fortune Global 500. CHINCA members have undertaken projects in  various fields of transportation, power and electricity, housing, petrochemicals, telecommunications, water conservancy, and industrial and manufacturing construction. They are making a transition from EPC to PPP, BOT, and other project contracting approaches, and are actively involved in international investment projects.


Member companies of labor service cooperation are engaged in dispatching technical and managerial personnel and skilled contract workers outside China in the areas of manufacturing, construction, transportation, medical service, IT services, catering, agriculture, husbandry, fishery industries, etc. 


CHINCA members also include service providers on overseas contracting and engineering investment that cover such business areas as machinery and equipment manufacturing, building materials supply, finance, insurance, logistics, transportation, and more.


Profile of Funder


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The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. The Foundation began programming in China in 1979 and opened the resident country office in Beijing in 1994 and the Beijing Representative Office In June 2017. Working with local partners, the Foundation has been committed to a thriving China, to advancing shared goals of expanded opportunity, and to enduring cooperation within Asia and the world.