Community Engagement Handbook for Chinese International Contractors (2021 Edition)

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Fulfilling social responsibility is a critical guarantee and path choice for businesses and stakeholders seeking common growth. Integrating social responsibility into corporate strategy and day-to-day management promotes long-term profitability and sustainable development, protects the legitimate rights and interests of employees and other stakeholders, creates a preferable external business environment, and ultimately realizes the common, sustainable, and harmonious development of enterprises and the environment.


Since 2000, the speed of Chinese companies "going out" has quickened substantially.  A considerable number of infrastructure projects in China’s International contracting industry have been completed, especially after the proposal of Belt and Road’’ Initiative. According to the Ministry of Commerce's data, China's international contracting enterprises completed a turnover of US$155.94 billion in 2020, with freshly signed contracts totaling US$255.54 billion. This covers a number of sectors, including transportation, electric power, general construction, petrochemical, communications, municipal engineering, and other industries with more than 190 nations and territories across the world. Chinese enterprises signed 5,611 contracts for international contracting projects in 61 countries along the "Belt and Road," with the contract value of US$141.46 billion, accounting for 55.4% of China's international contracting projects' contract value in the same period; the completed turnover is US$91.12 billion, accounting for 58.4% of the total amount in the same period.


The international community has become increasingly concerned about the business behavior of Chinese enterprises as the scale of their international contracting industry and its influence has grown. Social and environmental risks have gradually become important, making them impossible to be ignored in the process of Chinese foreign contracting enterprises' globalization. Because of the effect of area and culture, managing foreign community connections, particularly community communication and community integration, has become a significant problem influencing the industry's long-term development. Individual businesses have experienced significant economic and reputational losses as a result of project delays caused by insufficient community outreach and even the suspension of ongoing initiatives.

Although many community communication technologies are available globally, Chinese firms have challenges in understanding and utilizing them due to cultural differences. As a result, Chinese companies require a set of community communication tools tailored to their own discourse system, mindset, and behavioral patterns to effectively identify communication targets and select appropriate communication methods in community integration, resulting in the long-term development of both companies and local communities.

To this end, in 2017, SynTao and the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University jointly published the Community Engagement Guideline for Chinese Enterprises' Overseas Investment (the Guide). In 2018, with the assistance of the Beijing Representative Office of The Asia Foundation (USA), a project team led by the CCR CSR Promotion Center and experts from SynTao and the China International Contractors Association (CHINCA) developed the trial version of the Community Engagement Handbook for Chinese International Contractors (the Handbook). The Handbook is the first practical handbook co-created and copyrighted by the CHINCA and SynTao to provide community engagement support for Chinese companies operating in the global context. SynTao, in collaboration with partners such as CHINCA and Asia Foundation's Beijing Representative Office, developed a series of training programs based on the Guide and the Handbook over the last three years to provide training opportunities to empower businesses and civil society organizations. To date, this program has offered specialized training to over 200 enterprise workers, resulting in positive feedback from companies and improving their sustainability. However, the project team recognized the need to revise and improve the Manual's content. They identified the need to add the most recent practices and cases of Chinese enterprises' overseas community communication to meet the development needs of the international contracting industry.


Based on this need, with the help of the FCDO’s UK-China Infrastructure Programme, SynTao and CHINCA revised the Handbook to become the Community Engagement Handbook for Chinese International Contractors (the new edition of the Handbook) in 2021. In order to make the content more relevant and practical, the project team made the following updates to the new edition of the Handbook. Firstly, a clear definition of "community communication" is provided in line with international standards. Secondly, the concept of inclusive social development is added to deepen the communication with stakeholders. Thirdly, the concepts of climate change and ESG investment are included to respond to the continuous concern of environmental and social issues through the ESG and SDGs angles.


The revised version of the Handbook is intended for multinational contracting firms that want to be, or are already are, active in overseas infrastructure investment and development. Furthermore, it may be utilized by stakeholders involved in the long-term operation of businesses globally, such as NGOs, governments, industry associations, financial institutions, and other sorts of organizations. For practical reasons, it will be utilized primarily by project-level managers, such as personnel from community engagement, public relations, and social responsibility, and by managers from other key support departments and headquarters.

We look forward to hearing from stakeholders on the most recent practices and ideas in this field, and the project team will continue to update and enhance the new edition of the Handbook when it is released.


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2021年8月26日 18:20