Dr. Charles Yeung 【President】
Silver Bauhinia Star, JP
This July, Hong Kong celebrates the 17th anniversary of its reunification with China and the establishment of the HKSAR. The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (CGCC) has arranged an array of celebrations to share the joy with all Hong Kong people and add more positive energy to society.
Hong Kong’s economy and society have kept progressing in recent years, but many difficulties and challenges lay ahead. With a heart for society, CGCC actively encourages its members and the business community to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities (CSRs) and to create a caring, inclusive social environment for the general public. Many charitable activities have been organized so far this year, where we consolidated business sectors’ efforts to extend care for different community groups, such as grassroots families, the elderly and the youth. Here I would like to share some views on promoting harmonious social development.
Actively Fulfilling CSRs
The success of businesses counts much on a sound business environment and the resource support of society. Being one of the members of society, businesses ought to give back to society while gaining from it. They should strike a balance among business operation, labor relations and social responsibilities, making resource commitment to meet the interests and needs of the larger society. To fulfill their social responsibilities, businesses can, for example, provide equal employment and promotion opportunities for the disadvantaged, invest resources in manpower training and create a harmonious workplace. In recent years, many social enterprises have emerged in Hong Kong, blending philanthropy with commercial operation. With a business mission of benefiting and serving society, they use modern business operation models, providing not only a fresh CSR mindset but also a new approach for the business community to care for society.
Since 2009, CGCC has launched various charitable initiatives through its “We Care We Share” Campaign, which also aims to provide diversified channels for enterprises to fulfill CSRs and show concern for society. This year, unprecedentedly, we lined up more than 70 companies for a campaign in which nearly 1,000 retail shops and restaurants launched special offers and discounts during the reunification anniversary period, with a view to giving the public spending pleasure and cheering local retailers up.
Closer Cooperation among Government, Business and Public
Since the reunification, the HKSAR Government has rolled out a number of policy measures to drive the balanced progress of people’s livelihood. The focus this year is to support the disadvantaged. Business sectors use their own resources and extensive social networks to echo the Government’s work in helping the disadvantaged. They also closely cooperate with social welfare organizations to render support in a more effective manner.
The support and participation of all social sectors are necessary in order to get better result in helping the poor and underprivileged. The HKSAR Government is rallying the support and consolidating the strengths of different sectors - especially forging closer partnership with the business and social welfare sectors. By pooling resources together, cross-sectoral collaboration can provide more comprehensive and suitable support for the disadvantaged.
In response to the theme of “Vitality.Love” set by the HKSAR Government for celebrating the 17th reunification anniversary this year, we cooperated with several local organizations to set up the “Mission with Love and Concern” preparatory committee and donate gift packs worth HK$8 million in total for distribution to the disadvantaged during the reunification and PRC founding anniversaries celebration periods. Hopefully the project can promote the spirit of a caring and inclusive society.
What is more, this year CGCC has organized a series of activities echoing the themes of the HKSAR Government’s “Bless Hong Kong” for different months. We have invited elderly people to enjoy a Cantonese opera and young people to see an encouraging movie. We have also held a party to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival with grassroots families. In this sense, the government, business sector and public join hands to give blessing and care to people in need.
Caring about Growth of Young People
Young people are the future pillars of society; they are also a driving force for social progress. Various sectors should join hands to create a harmonious environment for the growth of young people by providing them with equal and diverse opportunities for education and development. They should also be encouraged to not only study hard but also care for and serve society.
CGCC has been making efforts in nurturing and developing young people for many years, with more than HK$33 million donated for education initiatives so far. We have introduced a number of scholarship schemes and constantly sponsored various internship and exchange programs that help the youth to enrich their experience and knowledge. We have also launched national education initiatives, such as the Young Astronaut Training Camp and the Business Study Tour, which serve to enhance young people’s knowledge of Mainland China and boost their sense of belonging to the Motherland. These initiatives also aim to encourage the younger generation to strive for higher achievement, broaden their vision, and make greater contribution and commitment to social development. This year, CGCC will sponsor an exhibition on China’s moon exploration, which will be held by the Home Affairs Bureau and the China National Space Administration in late July. We hope this exhibition will deepen young people’s understanding of the development of China’s aerospace technology.
In future, CGCC will certainly keep bringing business sectors’ strengths together to care for society and partnering with various sectors to build a caring, inclusive and harmonious society.