Sunday. I’m spending my afternoon in the sun at the beach. Still doing a little work – I’m reading a recent publication on CSR in China to review. But I’m also looking back at the past week with a few highlights below. I’ve been busy, and the past week is a good example of what I am currently spending some of my time on.
After being involved in the organization of various events over the last weeks, this week I got to be a regular visitor and observer at a few events again. Not only is it much less stressful but it’s also a great way to get ideas for future events and to experience as a participant what works and what doesn’t.
From value creation to value for your stakeholders and value in truth (my translation of the theme: Waardecreatie, waardigheid & waarheid): these were the topics of Tuesday’s Global Compact Netherlands network meeting. It brought together a wide range of speakers on some core topics within the field of CSR and responsible business.
For me the most interesting were the presentation of some highlights in KPMG’s 2014 publication on societal value and a more in-depth look at the new UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, which was demonstrated both in content (what is the framework & what does it include?) and in practice with Unilever sharing their experience about what it means to report on their commitment and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights.
Wednesday was a great reminder of why I chose my company name MACHI. It is the Japanese word for ‘city’ and a city is for me a source of inspiration because of the creativity, diversity, dynamics, energy, collaboration and everything else that is such a big part of a city. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend this year’s Smart City Event, an annual European event bringing together best practices on smart city developments, mostly across Europe.
Sustainable urban development is a hot topic in Asia as well, and it was a really interesting day to find out more about perspectives on smart cities, what this might include, how governments work together with business to make their city smarter etc.
I hope to do a more extensive post on this soon, but I will already leave you with the main question I took home:
what role do residents of a city have in creating a smarter city and how can government and business collaborate with these residents and involve them in this process?
‘Smart’ shouldn’t just be about the technology, in my view (a city with only bricks and bits is nothing).
It’s not only been events this week. Thursday I was back at my shared officespace Projectenlab (which unexpectedly turned into a film set for a local communities project with young social entrepreneurs; good thing we have several work areas).
On the agenda for my office work this week were a few things, such as continuing research into the topic of living wage, further fine-tuning elements for a series of meetings on risk management in China, finalizing follow-up work after a successful seminar the week before on the Luxury & China market and preparations for a guest lecture in Maastricht this coming week.
But the week closed off with what also turned out to be the highlight of the week: the 10-year anniversary party of China expert network Guanxi.nu. I recently joined the board of this organization at a moment when two major events were coming up: the luxury seminar mentioned above and this unique party. That also meant that my time this week (and the weeks before) also included creating visuals for the event, working on venue decorations, finetuning the menu and other details with the venue – but with a worthwhile result. Great turn-out, amazing food, and energetic acts – including two Chinese lions to kick off the party.