The Future 500 (China)
Aiming at maximizing profits, the Market economy and Globalization have created the “Fortune 500”, but their demerits of simplistically pursuing fortune, combined with the limits of the industrial economy, have rung the alarm bell. Therefore, in 1995, entrepreneurs and scholars with a keen awareness of their social responsibilities created the “Future 500” in a bid to help businesses to adapt themselves to the New Economy through transforming business models, and by helping to shape future enterprise by setting examples of “Good Companies.”
Now, attention to fulfilling the triple responsibility of enterprises—by emphasizing the financial bottom line, the social bottom line and the environmental bottom line—has become a good symbol of corporate culture and values in this new era. It has also become an important vehicle for making companies more competitive and sustainable in the 21st century; and it is a new trend in the business community.
Nowadays, a lot of organizations and NGOs are dedicated to promoting global sustainability from different perspectives. Our solution is not limited to theoretical debate and the dissemination of new concepts about sustainability, but it is centered on the real implementation of better corporate practices. The Future 500 uses sophisticated and realistic tools to help companies harmonize economic profits with social and environmental benefits.
China’s economic growth over the past twenty years has been among the fastest on earth. However, this growth has not followed a sustainable pathway. The old economic development mode should not be maintained for the middle and long-term development of China.
The Chinese government realized that China could no longer sustain old approach and then declared that China will phase out its emphasis on economic growth alone in favor of a strategy that stresses a “people-centered, sustainable" mode of growth (the “Scientific Development Model”) to build a harmonious society. This decision might be a historic landmark for China’s socio-economic development. Governmental action to implement the Scientific Development Model in China is necessary, but transforming businesses to become sustainable is crucial. How can sustainable development be achieved for companies? To succeed, practical tools to affect the behavior of enterprises must be put in place. The Future 500 system has developed appropriate new standards and tools for corporate organizations to adopt sustainable practices. It establishes a fair and scientific evaluation system for enterprises, and shapes examples of “Good Companies”. Namely, it uses internationally recognized standards to restrict enterprise behaviors, measure performance as corporate citizens, and close their gaps in terms of responsibilities and obligations for national sustainability & the next generation. The process of using one of the main tools of the Future 500—the GC360 is that of fitting into the new climate of corporate life and closing the gap with current business trends.
In order to fit into the new climate of corporate life and close the gap with current business trends, increase international competition, embed “triple bottom line” & stakeholder initiative fully into strategy & operations of enterprises and implement scientific approach to development, it’s inevitable choice to introduce the Future 500 mechanism to China.
Activities of the Future 500 (China) include:
• In order to make enterprises positioning, corporate culture, corporate responsibility, operational principles and new business models for the 21st century embed into strategy & operations of enterprises, we hold regular conferences or seminars of “Future 500” in China. （see details in “The Future 500 Forum”）
• To provide Training course with universities and corporations（see details in “Our Service”）
• Investigation and research: to conduct research projects focused on the paradigm shift for enterprises from a “machine” model to an industrial ecology model, incorporating economic, environmental, and social needs in China by different industries.
To built new institutions, new market and technological system for sustainable development; built recycling alliance, etc.
• Development: Develop a Tool Kit for China to meet the specific challenges companies face in China, and corporate responsibility can be embed fully into strategy & operations. Such as developing a Chinese version of GC360 for different industries or various companies.
• To develop a Chinese version of the criteria for the Future 500 China; It will be based on GC360 that created by Future 500 and modified partly according to China’s situation in order to widely apply it in Chinese industry.
• To build "The Future 500 China Alliance"，and attract more companies who agree with the mission and principles of the Future 500 as members, and help them to adapt themselves to new business models for sustainable development.
• Service：add value service and consulting for the member of the Future 500 China, member of The Future 500 China Alliance to help enterprises adapt saving, recycling-based, environment-friendly economic development and build a harmonious society.（see details in “Our Service”）
• Annual announcement the members of the Future 500 in China.
We realized that:
1. The road is still very long
It is a great and glorious task to help enterprises adapt saving, recycling-based, environment-friendly economic development and build a harmonious society. The one of the key to achieving the objective of setting a scientific approach to development & building a well-being, environment-friendly, resource-preserving harmonious society proposed by Chinese government is how China's enterprises to meet 8 challenges facing in the 21st century: adapting to the new economic era; adapting to the sustainable development of Chinese economy, society, resources and environment; adapting to the changing role in the international community; adapting to globalization of operations and the dynamic standards; establishing a new business ethics & credibility; the new corporate culture and values; corporate positioning and responsibility in the 21st century; renewing the understanding of the corporate comprehensive competitiveness.
Despite the "social responsibility, environmental responsibility" started to emerge slowly in China, and there were 13 forums or seminars on corporate responsibility held in 2006, but as the efforts of the years to promote future-oriented sustainable enterprises and contact with a lot of businesses, we recognized that there is still a long way to go in China. Especially in the enormous wave of the simplistic pursuit of corporate profits and growth, heroes of the industrial economy age shaped during 50 years - the Fortune 500 still have great attraction, thus it is a long-term and difficult task to promote the new economic campaign which characterized by triple responsibilities, sustainable development and complete transformation of the corporate culture and values. It will also promote the new management revolution.
2. From Fortune 500 to Future 500 - Models of the age of new economy
In the context of sustainable development in the 21st century, many notions & awareness have being changed, such as corporate positioning, corporate responsibility, competitiveness of enterprise, content of management, concept of good company, while corporate culture & values are expanded, and the notion of technology has also been changed (from the hard technology to soft technology). With these changes the trend of implementing corporate responsibility, creating new business models, and renewing the understanding of the corporate comprehensive competitiveness are emerging. The CSR reports, environmental responsibility reports or corporate responsibility reports provided by many of leading MNCs every year are the cases in point. They will be leader of the new economy, which one could be a pioneer with foresight and overcome the difficulties to create a new business model, and gain lucrative commercial profits with priority in the 21st century.
The success of any new thing usually achieves in virtue of the power of example, and the leading group often advances social progresses. In fact, transition from the Fortune 500 to Future 500 is a milestone in the history of the corporate development, a leap of the corporate culture and values, and a part of the new economic campaign reflecting the simplistic pursuit of wealth.
The Future 500 regarded as a symbol of new business model aims to guide the correct transition of enterprises’ behaviors in the new economic movement, establish a sustainable business model by industries, and shape examples devoted to stakeholder engagement to maximizing the “triple bottom line”: economy (accountability), society (ethics) and environment (sustainability), in order to reverse the trend of the simplistic pursuit of wealth & corporate scale in the era of industrial economy. If Fortune 500 is called a hero of the industrial economy age which advocated large scale enterprises, the Future 500 represents the model of future sustainable enterprises, which takes healthy good business as a benchmark.
In his address to the Future 500 China Forum 2005, Jiang Zhenghua, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, made this point clear: “Future 500 has emerged as a pointer in the right direction for future development, as it advocates the triple bottom line of a company which combines economic, social and environmental responsibilities. We believe it represents the right direction of development in this post-industrialization era. ... Future 500 is the answer to the world-wide call for sustainable development as well as the orientation of decision-making in China.”
After reform and opening up in China, we recognized that the gap in management far exceeds the technological gap comparing with developed countries from the national level to the enterprise level. In order to make up the gap in management, we have paid or being paid very expensively. If Chinese enterprises did not recognize the various changes of enterprises in the 21st century yet, cannot catch up with the tide of new economic movement in the world and preoccupied only to short-term economic benefits, it would be more costly: we would lag behind developed countries for several decades in the next round of new economic competition, and repeat once again the pattern of introducing - imitation - Manufacturing. Of course, do not forget that creating new business models not only need the changes of public awareness, the technical support adapting sustainable development, but also to implement and enforce new concepts through soft technology innovation, and furthermore relevant institutional environment such as standards, policies, regulations, laws and so on.
In conclusion, Chinese enterprises need new thinking & new ideas, and devote themselves to new economic movement with practical action for facing many challenges in the 21st century. It could implement the new strategic direction of China's socio-economic development in the level of enterprise to contribute to build a harmonious society & a harmonious world. To help enterprises implement these mandates is the mission of Future 500 (China).
The Future 500 (China)
Address: #903, Hengrun Center, 32 North 3rd-Ring Road, Haidian District，