【College USR】Merit and Prospects for Sustainability

“Sustainable development” is a hot topic of global concern today. It is a business model based on a long-term perspective that aims to balance economic development, social responsibility and the environment to ensure the long-term sustainability of a company in the future. We were honored to have Chairman Daniel Chu (朱竹元) of Unity Sustainability Services Co., LTD. to speak at this seminar on April 24, 2023. Chairman Chu was a key player in the early days of corporate governance in Taiwan, and he has a wealth of experience. In addition to promoting sustainability in companies, he has also worked actively with the government on sustainability-related projects. Chairman Chu shared with us three topics related to sustainability: ESG sustainability risks and opportunities, business opportunities for sustainability goals, and the value of ESG sustainability.

Chairman Chu pointed out that in the past, human beings have caused serious environmental damage for the sake of economic development. The massive release of greenhouse gases has contributed to climate change, causing extreme climate conditions such as high temperatures, droughts, and reduced rainfall to occur more frequently. Taiwan is currently facing a water shortage crisis due to reduced rainfall in March and April, as well as an increase in average temperature. According to a UN survey in August 2021, the global average temperature has already risen by 1.07°C. If carbon emissions continue to rise, the global average temperature will rise by 3.3-5.7°C by the end of the century. As temperatures rise, microorganisms that were originally frozen in permafrost may be released, resulting in the potential for future epidemics to occur more frequently. The damage is irreversible, and if no action is taken soon, it will eventually become uncontrollable.

Chairman Chu also shared that, according to Swiss Re’s report, the global economic losses caused by natural disasters in 2021 were as high as approximately US$280 billion. These disasters will also, directly and indirectly, affect business operations in the future, which may result in disruptions, asset impairment, and increased operating costs. However, the deterioration of the global environment is closely related to the actions of enterprises, which over-exploit land and discharge wastewater and waste, externalizing internal costs, and therefore enterprises should be held responsible.    

Today, in addition to the Paris Agreement, 63% of the world’s population has agreed\ to boycott brands that are not sustainable, according to a survey. Therefore, Chairman Chu also mentioned that companies should implement ESG into their business models, incorporate ESG into their daily operations, and implement strategies that are relevant to their own business but different from others in order to create corporate value.

Through Chairman Chu’s presentation, we were able to gain a better understanding of the field of sustainability and the current global development trends, which will be of great help to our future career development. Professor San-Pui Lin, Director of the Office of Responsibility and Sustainability Actions (ORSA), also explained that the College of Management is currently offering a Sustainability Management Micro-Credit Course and that interested students are welcome to study this field in depth. Finally, Chairman Chu said that even though we are not yet in the workplace and still have a long way to go before we can achieve corporate sustainability, sustainable development is still relevant to us, and we should start with small things, such as not wasting food and using eco-cups. Even small efforts can go a long way toward making our living environment better. 

Professor San-Pui Lin, Director of the Office of Responsibility and Sustainability Actions, encourages students to take action for sustainability

Chairman Daniel Chu shares the trend and value of sustainable development
From left: Professor Hao-Chieh Lin, Director of EMBA programs; Daniel Chu, Chairman of Unity Sustainability Services Co., LTD. ; and Professor San-Pui Lin, Director of ORSA

(Written by I-Chin Lo, Department of Business Management / Edited by ORSA)