Community Engagement Guideline for Overseas Investment of Chinese Enterprises
“The Belt and Road Initiative” marks an important stage of Chinese enterprises’ overseas investment. Despite the strong motivation of economic development and benefits for both investors and host countries, there are tremendous differences in geographical, cultural, language and other aspects, coupled with a lack of understanding on the importance of “social license” by the investor. As a result, conflicts could arise between the investor and stakeholders in the community where the investment takes place. These conflicts would not only impede normal operations of the investment, they may also cost the community opportunity for development, and bring detriments to the sustainability of both sides.
Conflict prevention and resolution are never possible without proper and continuous engagements wit. Although relevant tools for community engagement have already been developed by some of the international organizations and multinational corporations, Chinese enterprises are still far from understanding and implementing them due to the different expression habits. Therefore, to help Chinese enterprises recognize the importance of community engagement for community integration and sustainable development, a set of community engagement guidelines and tools is needed, which provides a direction for aligning thoughts, talks and actions. The guidelines and tools could help Chinese enterprises effectively identify who to communicate with, select the optimal communication methods, and build long-term and stable, symbiotic and co-prosperity relations with local communities, and ultimately engage both investors and local communities for sustainable development.
In response to these issues, SynTao, a leading consultancy promoting sustainable development in China, teamed up with Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management and initiated the development of “Community Engagement Guideline for Overseas Investment of Chinese Enterprises” (hereinafter referred to as “the Guideline”) in 2016. This project was funded by the Asia Foundation.
The Guideline applies to the Chinese companies that want to be or are already engaged in overseas investment and operations. The “Chinese enterprises” here refer to enterprises registered in China, as well as all the overseas branches or investments affiliated to or owned by Chinese companies.
The Guideline can also be used as a reference for stakeholders involved in the community, which include NGOs, governments, industry associations, financial institutions and other organizations.