Dear Members and Friends,
What a year 2021 has been! No, not because of that pesky virus but because it has been another great year of achievement in the Chamber. On behalf of us all, I want to thank and recognise all the hard work that the Secretariat, Executive Committee and our Committees have done – without their hard work, we would not be in the strong position we are in now.
Our re-branding was completed and launched in May this year with an overwhelming response from all. This has started a new chapter in the life of the Chamber. We are all working hard to ensure that everything aligns with the same standard as our new brand. Across all levels, we need to ensure we are a dynamic, engaging and responsive business community helping our members navigate the ever-changing China market. The icing on the cake is the success of the re-brand in winning several awards, including one gold! I want to thank Kirsten Johnston and her team at JWDK for their hard work and leadership in helping us through the process.
We had another year of high quality and informative events. The Sustainability Conference was held in September with 28 speakers, including the United Nations, World Economic Forum and our Consul General; with over 200 people attending, it attracted not only an excellent attendance but a high number of sponsors and supporting partners. At the end of the conference, we launched the Chamber Environmental Commitment Pledge, which our friends at CDP helped us draft, that 17 member companies have signed up to. This shows the Chamber and our members’ commitment to continuing the race to net-zero and allows the Chamber to support members and promote their progress.
To ensure the conference was not a one-off event, we unveiled a yearly schedule of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) Seminars, covering 13 SDG’s to provide businesses with the practical knowledge to be able to make an impact in their business moving forward.
Another new activity that I want to bring to your attention is our Talent Development Programme. In its first year, we have 20 young professionals gaining valuable insights and training from experienced professionals in a broad range of topics to help them develop and advance their careers. We will be conducting this annually, so please look out for it next year and put forward your young professionals &/or offer your time as a tutor.
Our advocacy work has continued apace led by Alex Roberts and supported by our new Government Relations advisor Eric Qin. We have held meetings on behalf of members with SCOFCOM, Invest Shanghai and are currently arranging further meetings. We have issued letters on behalf of members to the Ministry of Education to support the great work done by our members in the sector to advance education but also two-way cultural understanding and to seek opportunities to discuss how education in China is changing and how recent announcements have created uncertainty and had a negative impact. We have also recently issued a letter regarding the ongoing lack of direct flights between China and the UK – something also raised by our PM, the Ambassador, Consul General, etc – the UK is now the only major economy without direct flights, and it is impacting not only on business and people’s ability to travel but also on cultural exchange and understanding – something that is vital as the world adjusts to China’s continued rise.
The above are clear examples of the strength and depth of the Chamber and all that it is doing. Lastly, I would like to extend my thanks to our Platinum Members, who believe in what the Chamber is doing and make significant contributions to ensure we continue to grow and develop. We play a critical role in the business community and are proud to say that the Chamber has a record level of Platinum Members.
I know we are all feeling frustrated with the ongoing impact of travel restrictions, and many have not managed to get away and see family for nearly two years. Whilst we continue to be grateful for the safety and protection from Covid we all benefit from, we also continue to navigate the restrictions and lobby on behalf of all of you for them to be eased. Please remember this is your Chamber, and we are here to support you as much as we can. Whilst it is no replacement for spending time with your families back home, we hope you can enjoy the festive season and attend some of our events – and if you need any help, support, advice, or want to chat, then reach out to James Dunn and the Chamber team or any member of the Executive Committee.
With that, I would like to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and a peaceful, safe & healthy New Year.
Chair, BritCham Shanghai