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September 23, 2017

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BCCT's CSR charity dinner aims beyond fundraising

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The British Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (BCCT, 台北市英僑商務協會) held its first ever Corporate Social Responsibility Recognition (CSR) and Idea Sharing Charity Dinner at the Sherwood Hotel in Taipei yesterday.

The BCCT has been doing CSR fundraising for a long time, said Chairman Ajay Kanwal, but this particular event came about following a BCCT decision that there should be CSR contributions beyond simply money. The Charity Dinner is special as it was designed to give the participating corporations a platform to discuss past successes and to spark inspiration for future CSR programs, added Kanwal.

The event was sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, of which Kanwal is the CEO and Chairman in Taiwan, British American Tobacco, Aberdeen and 11 other corporations. "Tonight would not be possible without them," said Peter Tou, Spokesman of BCCT CSSR Committee.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. In some models, a firm's implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and engages in actions that further social good and are beyond the interest of the firm.

According to Tou, the BCCT's notable history of fundraising started with the annual Charity Auction in 1996 and was further expressed at the Royal & Ancient Charity Golf Tournament in 2009

 Kanwal welcomed the 90 participants, expressing his gratitude that they had dedicated their Friday evening to the dinner.

 "Our next big focus will be to promote CSR across many corporations — the size (of the corporation) does not matter," Kanwal pointed out. It is important to raise money but we would rather focus on the impact and the participation.

 The BCCT welcomes all corporations with an interest in CSR participation.

"As long as you have an interest in CSR, we will be able to provide relevant help," Kanwal said, emphasizing the importance of the gesture rather than the sum of money raised.

Kanwal said that the BCCT had already met a number of expectations, viewing the 90 participants as a good start while also noting that they had met the NT$10 million fundraising mark.

"We plan to use feedback from the event to direct our next steps," said Heidi Gallant, executive director of the BCCT.

The blueprint for the BCCT's future CSR programs will be revealed in the future, and be based on turnout at the dinner. The dinner heads off a string of smaller meetings and programs, "with workshops starting in a couple of weeks to gather participant feedback from the dinner." Ideas concerning future corporate participation, for both BCCT members and non-members, will also be fleshed out in future workshops, added Kanwal.

Yang Ma-li, editor in chief of Global Views Magazine, along with Evan Kao, a senior reporter with the publication, were invited as the event's keynote speakers, with additional speeches and programs designed by the sponsors being woven into the event.

All sponsorship contributions and proceeds from the ticket sales will be used to support the education of Taiwanese children in need, said the BCCT.

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