Archive Page 3

Summary of my remarks at the Harvard Asia Business Conference

A Model of Modern CSR Development in China in Four Stages  (three “givens” and a prediction):

I spoke on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) panel at the 2009 Harvard Asia Business Conference about the evolution of “CSR” in China and what it means for both China and the rest of the world. I presented my own rather premature model of the evolution of the concept in China in four overlapping, mutually-reinforcing stages:

I. Hesitant engagement: (1993-2005): Chinese stakeholders see calls for greater social and environmental responsibility by foreign companies, governments, and civil society groups as largely discriminatory (technical barriers, cultural barriers, development stage differences, political differences, manifestation of the “China threat”, etc.).

II. MNC- and SOE-led: (2005-2008): CSR starts to become accepted in the popular Chinese press when major companies start publishing specific China regional reports like the first MNC’s (Shell’s) in 1999 or the first State-Owned Enterprise’s (State Grid Corporations’s) in 2006.

III. Government-led: (2008- 20??): SASAC’s 2008 #1 document and the Chinese Banking Association begin to articulate clear government positions on CSR. Government maintains strong leadership in domestic voluntary standard-setting process, begins to engage in voluntary standards initiatives internationally, such as the ISO26000 process. The Chinese Banking Association issues its first CSR Report (2009, link in Chinese)

IV. Hybrid: (20??-): Realizing the limits that international stakeholders have in understanding “country-specific” or government-initiated models of assuring social and environmental action, government agencies, enterprises, and other actors create new cooperation through overlapping standards. These new and unique social capital exchanges bridge barriers of trust while maintaining domestic interests in the voluntary and statutory standards setting process.

There are of course many other models for understanding the development of CSR in China, namely that collective enterprises in the 1950s-70s before Reform and Opening Up were fully taking care of workers’ and society’s needs (including workers’ wedding arrangements).

Others like Yin Gefei of the WTO Tribune models Chinese CSR development aligned to an ISO progression. ISO 9000: quality and price competition; ISO 1400: competition based on environmental attributes; ISO 2600: comprehensive social and environmental basis for competitiveness.

The degree of internationalization of the fourth stage and whether this prediction holds true depends on a number of factors, such as the trends of globalization in general, shifts in Chinese imports and exports, and the degree to which Chinese domestic and international stakeholders seek common means of understanding sustainable development actions and claims.


Biographical Dictionary Of New Chinese Entrepreneurs And Business Leaders

It may not be a best seller, but it should be more factual than Joe the Plumber’s upcoming book. Soon to be released, soon to be outdated, my second encyclopedia contributions include biographies on: The Development Research Center’s former director Wang Mengkui, Caijing founder-editor Hu Shuli, Huaneng’s former director Li Xiaopeng, “Iron-Faced” Auditor General Li Jinhua, and founder Wang Zhidong. Check out the Biographical Dictionary Of New Chinese Entrepreneurs And Business Leaders on Amazon.


Talking about Roots & Shoots on Jill Buck’s Go Green Radio Show

go green radio icon I first learned of Jill Buck through her website and the Go Green initiative. Later, I shared a panel with her at the China Entrepreneur’s Club “Green Companies Conference” in Beijing on Earth Day 2008.

Today, I appeared (a-heared?) on her radio show Go Green Radio on Voice America. We talked about Roots & Shoots, Jane Goodall, water, local music, getting involved and making difference. I think it went pretty well.

Here’s the podcast:

Go Green Radio stream: Roots & Shoots

Go Green Radio podcast mp3: Roots & Shoots

Here’s how Jill Buck describes the show:

Go Green Radio: Roots & Shoots Roots and Shoots…Dr. Jane Goodall’s Green Legacy to Youth Around the World

President of Roots and Shoots at UCSD. The Roots & Shoots program is about making positive change happen—for our communities, for animals and for the environment. With tens of thousands of young people in almost 100 countries, the Roots & Shoots network branches out across the globe, connecting youth of all ages who share a common desire to help make our world a better place. Roots & Shoots is guided by the founding principles and extraordinary vision of Dr. Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian. Her firm belief that young people, when informed and empowered, can indeed change the world, is at the very heart of our program. This powerful message of hope inspires us all. Our program—dedicated to inspiring tomorrow’s leaders today—not only motivates young people to learn about pertinent issues facing our local and global communities, but helps them actually design, lead and implement their own projects.


My first book, which happens to be in Chinese (English copy available too)

The State of Responsible Competitiveness 2007 Chinese version

I only wrote parts of this, but, along with the Ministry of Commerce’s WTO Tribune, I edited it. I was responsible for overseeing the translation and editing new content.

The original report contains essays from Al Gore, Sir Nicholas Stern, Laura Tyson, and numerous others.

From AccountAbility’s website:

AccountAbility and Chinese partners WTO Tribune launched the Chinese version of The State of Responsible Competitiveness 2007 at the third Golden Bee International CSR Forum.

The forum saw domestic and international CSR experts – including AccountAbility Chief Executive Simon Zadek – come together to discuss new CSR development trends in China and abroad. The focus of the forum, in addition to the launch of the Chinese State of Responsible Competitiveness 2007 was the dissemination of the Benchmark Report of CSR practice in China, the award for ‘Golden Bee’ enterprises and the announcement of the ‘Golden Bee CSR China Roll.’

The Chinese version of the new report includes exclusive essays from Alex MacGillivray, Simon Zadek, your narrator, the Shanghai Pudong New District Government economic committee, and Cheng Siwei, Vice Chairperson of the 17th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

I can’t say writing one of these things if fun, but it’s rewarding–and useful in improving my Chinese.

Download the Chinese version.

Download the English translation of the report.


Fortune China: China’s Responsibility Standards

Fortune China Cover March 2008Here’s the Chinese version of this month’s Fortune China cover story on Chinese attitudes toward responsible business practices, which I co-authored.

I took the photos of the article in the back of the cab in Beijing after a lunch meeting with the editors and uploaded them to my flickr account, so I’m sorry if any pages are hard to read.

Here’s a link to the Fortune China site and article.


The Silent Death of Shanghai’s First Gay Hotline

The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide November-December 2007This article is the result of many years of research with HIV prevention and anti-discrimination groups in my then-home of Shanghai. I had much help from people who choose to remain anonymous. Their stories and many more I hope to one day flush out in a book on the topic of modern gay rights in China.

My goal in writing this article was not to be provocative or overly political, but simply to bring to light one of the more mysterious episodes in modern Chinese gay history: simply, how and why a successful gay counseling and health hotline would suddenly cease operations. Copy is available electronically on many academic journal sites or directly upon request. (joshua *dot* wickerham *at* gmail *dot com).

In addition to my indebtedness to the people quoted in the article, special thanks goes to several friends at UCSD, Johns Hopkins, and the Princeton in Asia program who read drafts and made useful suggestions. These friends continue to play crucial roles with the Beijing CDC and the Clinton Foundation, and as a Fulbright Scholar. These friends are real heroes and inspire me as they continue working with this pandemic’s most stigmatized groups. I am also indebted to Bill Valentino, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility for Bayer China, who continues to lead the business case for HIV prevention, and Chung To of the Chi Heng Foundation, who remains a voice for Chinese gays and children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Both provided last-mile support. Lastly, I owe a debt of gratitude to Jim Fallows of The Atlantic, who encouraged me to submit this work to The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review (Now The G&L Review Worldwide) and to editor Richard Schneider, who improved the copy. Apologies to my advisor Susan Shirk who suggested I’d have to choose between doing sustainable environmental development work and HIV research. Seeing as both are critical, I just more often decline cocktail parties invitations and reject television’s numbing warmth.


Interview with Jane Goodall: Planting the seeds of peace

Jane Goodall in LA on Roots & Shoots International Day of Peace 2007 My second interview with Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, personal hero, friend and bringer of hope to youth of all ages. Published on China Dialogue. I saw her in LA the next day at her annual Roots & Shoots Day of Peace event in Griffith Park. When I asked her about how she greeted Pan Yue, she smiled and said, “Oh no! More questions?” Yes, more questions. And lots of answers. Quite an inspirational interview.


my contributions to the Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender

encyclopediaofsex&genderI got a letter in late July from the editor of the new four-volume Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender announcing its publication. I wrote three contributions in Fall of 2006 on Chinese sexual history. I’m excited because these are my first published encyclopedia entries.

I have yet to see a copy of the set, as I am based in China while the books are hitting North American library shelves. If anyone runs across the set, could you take photos of my entries and mail them to me?

I wrote the first entry, on modern Chinese sexuality and gender, with the head librarian at the Kinsey Institute, Liana Zhou. This opportunity presented itself during a visit to the Kinsey Institute and a meeting with Dr. Zhou. She suggested I contribute to the modern Chinese section because of my longstanding interest with HIV/AIDS prevention and gay life in China. I also wrote the pre-modern Chinese sex and gender entry (pre-1911), which I describe as “5,000 years in 4,000 words”. Finally, I wrote an entry on the famous republic-era sexologist Zhang Jingsheng.

The encyclopedia set is cited as: Malti-Douglas, Fedwa, ed. Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.

Here’s the blurb from the Thomson Gale website:

Gender studies have become a major academic field in the past 25 years, providing a lens through which to reexamine and reevaluate knowledge in every area of human interaction and activity. The Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender encompasses the various concepts of sex and gender that have arisen from the critical study of those subjects worldwide, as well as the emerging reimagination of the more traditional humanities and social sciences. Broad theoretical essays address issues of sex and gender at the personal and the social level; others examine issues of identity, status, class, ethnicity, race, and nation; of sexuality and the body; of social institutions and the structures of representation – all through the lens of gender. With a truly global perspective, topics of individual entries include changing conceptions of “the feminine,” the family and masculinity, religion, morality, cultural images, medical practice, public health, economy and society and many more. In addition, the work discusses the influences of gender studies on various academic disciplines, examining how it has transformed and utilized methods and theories that have evolved.


Frontline Club: My optimism about the Chinese environment

On a rainy London night in a room of 150 people interested in China, I found myself the only person–in the audience member or on the panel,with any optimism about China improving its natural environment. The event, “Media Talk: Has western coverage of the China story become stale and cliched?” was hosted by the Frontline Club and featured Rob Gifford (NPR), Duncan Hewitt (former BBC, Newsweek), Catherine Sampson (formerly The Times) and Lifen Zhang ( It was moderated by Carrie Gracie (BBC).

At about minute 55 in this hour and a half long vidcast, Carrie Gracie asks if there are any people optimistic about the Chinese environment. I raised my hand. The microphone zoomed across the room to me. I don’t present my opinion halfway as articulately as I would have liked, but I think my main points came through, namely that:

  • Central government environmental policy is stringent, but enforcement is mixed
  • Allowing open media coverage by Western journalists is a soft power means of enforcing Chinese laws that would otherwise go unenforced at the local level
  • Environment as sustainable developing is becoming a prerequisite for economic growth because of the socially and economically destabilizing nature of environmental degradation
  • Awareness of environmental issues is reaching a critical mass

Watch the video here:

I don’t think top-tier western media coverage of China has become cliched, but much of it has become stale. A bit of fresh air is just what China and the world need right now.


Environmentalism as Catalyst for the Development of Civil Society in China

From the introduction to my essay:

This issue of the Journal of International Policy Solutions marks the second annual publication of the Ruth S. Adams Graduate Student Essay Competition Winner. The Ruth Adams Competition is a graduate student essay competition on the topic of international civil society. It asks students to explore the role of global civil society in impacting any national or international issue.

The competition honors Ruth S. Adams (1923-2005), a former visiting scholar at UCSD and the editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for more than a decade. Charismatic, deeply principled, and compassionate, Adams devoted her life to a wide array of nongovernmental organizations. She was the only woman in attendance at the very first Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in 1957, which was sponsored by Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, and other preeminent scientists. She organized cooperative international scientific efforts on Third World development, arranged for the training and financing of international security scholars, and actively supported enhanced roles for women in international relations research. To further the goals to which she devoted her life, her friends, colleagues, and organizations who share in Ruth’s vision have created this essay competition.

This year’s winner, Joshua Wickerham, analyzes the response of Chinese civil society to environmental threats and the implications for political actors.


The goal of this paper is to determine how willing the principal actors in China’s economy are to bear the potential social and economic costs of sustainable development as a proxy for understanding the depth of the development of civil response to China’s environmental threats. The conclusions are based on trends, opinions, and actions of three main groups: the government, consumers, and corporate managers.

Click here to read the essay. (pdf format)