China Enterprises Sustainability Index Research Report released at 2017 China Top 500 Summit

Published: 15 Sep 2017
Type: News

Nanchang, 15 September 2017:  The 2017 edition of the “China Top 500 Enterprises Summit” was held in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, on September 9.  

China BCSD (CBCSD) held the CEO Forum on Sustainable Development and officially released the research report of China Enterprises Sustainability Index project.

Mr. Wang Jiming, President of CBCSD, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, Vice President of CEC and Head of CESI project chaired the report launching and made an overall introduction of the project. “Sustainable development shall be evaluated from three dimensions: competitiveness, utilization of resource and energy, and the harmony of the whole society”, said Mr. Wang Jiming in the interview with The National News of China National Radio

This year marks the 16th consecutive edition of the China Top 500 Enterprises Summit, which has been affirmed and supported by the leadership of the State Council and related governmental departments. The theme was “Innovation, Action, and Responsibility for Better, Stronger, and Larger Enterprises”, with a focus on development trends, issues, and recommendations for large companies operating in China.
“China Enterprises Sustainability Index led by CBCSD will help us better grasp the status quo and the whole picture of Chinese enterprises on sustainable development, and further help enterprises to make clear their future pathway, to improve sustainable development competitiveness, and to better participate in global economic governance”, said Professor Xue Lan, Dean of Tsinghua School of Public Administration, at the forum.

Mr. Han Jianguo, Deputy General Manager of Shenhua Group expressed that this index system is of great significance for big enterprises to manage operation risks, identify short boards, and improve management so as to achieve sustainable development. Meanwhile, senior executives from enterprises including Baowu Group, Sinopec Zhenhai Refining & Chemical, SINOWIND shared their practices on sustainable development and the observations on this index system from the angles of strategic significance, challenges, good practices, and future needs on corporate sustainable development. Representatives from Zoomlion, China Nonferrous Metals Mining Corporation, Shandong Haike Chemical Industry, Anshan Iron and Steel Group and other enterprises who had joined the survey research of the CESI project also attended the launch event.

Project Overview

China Enterprise Sustainability Index (CESI) project, initiated by CBCSD and CEC, is in line with the context of the nation’s economic development and industrial 2transformation, and tackles the Chinese enterprises’ need for transformation, upgrading and deepening their sustainable development. Built on the valuable experiences and advantages of the China Top 500 Enterprises evaluation over the years, this project has drawn on advanced international experience and put forward the China Enterprise Sustainability Index, aiming to provide a scientific, applicable, and universal sustainability evaluation tool to help Chinese enterprises to enhance awareness, set targets and comprehensively improve capacity on sustainable development. Besides, this project also aims to provide stakeholders with companies’ non-financial information and provide evidence for Chinese enterprises to communicate their well round strengths on the global stage and provide a platform to advance Chinese companies’ healthy and sustainable development.

Research Team

The project’s research team consists of professors, experts and researchers from CBCSD, CEC, School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University, International Business School of University of International Business and Economics, Economics and Technology Research Institute of Sinopec, Shenhua Group, Baowu Group, etc. The research team studied on the theories of corporate sustainable development and summarizing the policies, requirements, and directions of sustainable development in China. It defined the concept of Chinese enterprises’ sustainability, and put forward the status quo, gaps, and development direction. The project also studied on the existing sustainability indexes both at home and abroad, and designed a sustainability index that suits the characteristics of Chinese enterprises and directs their sustainability.

The Index System Development

In order to formulate the index system and evaluation standards, the project team has carried out literature review, expert argumentation, field research, survey investigation and analysis, in order to systematically study and categorize relevant theories, practices, policies and applications. On the basis of both theoretical research and practical field-test, the team develops the China Enterprise Sustainability indicators system, consisting of 3 dimensions, 8 main issue areas, and 50 indicators (referred to as “3-8-50” index).

Pilot Enterprise Survey and Application

With the Enterprises Sustainability Index system built up, pilot survey and indicator test were carried out in several carefully selected enterprises which are representative and influential in major industries covering oil, iron and steel, coal chemical industry, building materials, transportation, mining, and IT, household appliances, automobiles, machinery manufacturing, telecommunications, power generation and other major industry. In general, the pilot enterprises achieved good remarks in most indicators, showcasing that Chinese leading enterprises already have had profound understanding towards sustainable development, established rather complete systems and achieved good results.

The indicator test showed that the Chinese enterprises, especially Top 500 enterprises, attach great importance to the evaluation tool for corporate sustainability. 94.8% of the indicators questionnaire were fulfilled and well-feed backed. The data of the survey enterprises on the indicator questionnaire are mostly publicly accessible. Policies and regulations are decisive incentives in corporate awareness and sustainability management. Chinese enterprises have their unique competitive advantages compared with foreign enterprises. Nevertheless, some pain points and challenges were also identified. Chinese enterprises in general lack comprehensive understanding of sustainable development; different sectors vary significantly from each other in the implementation approaches and performances; the economic downturn and the increasingly complicated international situation have made it harder for enterprises to fulfill sustainable development. Overall, China's large leading companies highly value and welcome the evaluation of sustainability, and believe that the launching of China Enterprises Sustainability Index system is on time.


According to the pilot application and corporate feedback, CESI project has well reflected the development demands and requests of the Chinese companies at current stage, helping to guide, supervise and urge enterprises to enhance comprehensive competitiveness and to build the capacity to be better and stronger. Corporate sustainable development is a crucial component in the national sustainable development strategy, thus the sustainability index is expected to be incorporated into the enterprises’ performance evaluation, which shall be put forward the soonest possible, realizing consistent corporate tracking and evaluation, leading companies to continuously improve their sustainability capacity.
With the index system being improved and the pilot companies steadily expanding, the project team will accelerate the construction of the data platform for the index system to meet the needs of enterprises. Meanwhile, it aims to enhance the advocacy and communication on the sustainable development status quo and achievements of Chinese enterprises, while encouraging them to participate in international benchmarking.

More information

Jingzhu Zhang, China BCSD -

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