Climate change, sustainable finance, the rise of the responsible consumer in Asia, and social risks in supply chains were among the topics discussed at the CSR Asia Summit 2018 – Asia’s largest and most thought-provoking conference on social responsibility, sustainability and supply chain management which concluded today. It featured 85 speakers and brought together over 500 regional practitioners, policymakers and thought leaders representing 23 cities for two days of discussions on the issues, challenges and solutions to the region’s most pressing issues centered around the themes transparency, integrity and impact.

A keynote speech from world-renowned polar explorer and climate change advocate Robert Swan OBE was both inspiring and timely; coming just two days after the most intense typhoon in recorded history hit Hong Kong. “We are now in a survival situation. Climate change is happening, look out the window. How much we’re causing it, we’re not quite sure yet but we must be doing something,” said Swan, urging everyone to do their part to combat it. As he recounted his journeys across the North and South Poles with his signature sense of humour, he tied his path to leadership lessons for inspiring today’s workforce. “It is our responsibility to inspire young people in India, China and Asia to become responsible leaders on sustainability,” Swan said. “We need to have sustainable inspiration. It’s important, especially for young people, that we can see and touch solutions.”

Noting the important role that business plays in driving social change, Elevate CEO Ian Spaulding said, “We are coming together today not only to teach and share best practices, but also to inspire, so we can all work just a little bit harder to achieve the impact we all want.” Shirley Yu, Group Country Manager, Visa Greater China gave a keynote address on the theme “Driving Progress with Transparency, Integrity and Impact.” Other speakers included Company Group Chairman, Janssen Asia Pacific, Ai Hua Ong; Senior Vice President, Finance and Controlling Asia Pacific, BASF East Asia Regional Headquarters, Ulrich Boettger; and Executive Director, AIM-PROGRESS, David Lawrence.

Throughout the two-day summit, speakers from diverse industries not only shared their insights on the challenges and solutions for addressing climate change, but also the latest developments in responsible sourcing and organisational performance in Asia. Now in its 12th year, the Summit is organised by CSR Asia, an Elevate company. This year’s edition included the responsible sourcing and supply chain management expertise of the Elevate Leadership Series – Hong Kong.

CSR Asia also held a Pre-Summit Training Day for Summit delegates on September 17 that provided practical trainings in a variety of areas, including sustainability strategy, responsible sourcing and risk assessment, aligning business strategy with the SDGs, and worker engagement.