by Chen Wenxian, Du Zhen
JERUSALEM, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- "We must have the vision to develop new business models, the courage to adopt unconventional practices", said Gilad Erdan, Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs & Public Diplomacy in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
He made the remarks at the second annual Maala International Conference in Israeli economic center city of Tel Aviv.
Some of the world's largest enterprises including Microsoft, P&G, Unilever, Intel and Coca Cola joined brainstorming sessions and talks on corporate social responsibility at the event with the topic of "innovation for better life," together with Israel-based big companies such as Teva Pharmaceutical, Bank Leumi, Strauss Water, and a batch of Israeli hi-tech start-up companies as well.
Corporations can play an even larger role in making a positive social impact especially at a critical time, a time of political and social tensions in Europe, a changing regulatory environment in the United States and a tense geo-political situation in the Middle East, said Erdan.
Participants of the event, organized by Maala, the non-profit CSR (corporate social responsibility) standards-setting organization in Israel, are keen to be turning ideas into action with a focus on processing innovation and sustainability within the global business community.
In the past, companies were used to the efforts of how to make less harmful and reduce negative and impacts, however, nowadays it is exciting and inspiring to see that companies are focusing on how to make more positive impacts, particularly how to make products more sustainable through technological innovation, said Momo Mahadav, CEO of Maala, in an interview with Xinhua.
He is fascinated by China's commitment to environmental improvement and China's global role in the solution of improving people's life, said Mahadav. "China's efforts are strong message to the world."
To date, about 6,000 hi-tech companies in Israel are running actively towards the goal of making technological innovation for life improvement such as making the city much smarter, the vehicles more autonomous, the aging people more healthy, the food more green, the surgery more successful with the help of robotics, etc.
Israel has ranked by the World Economic Forum as the world's second most innovative country. Today, Israeli hi-tech companies are focusing not only on local but on global businesses.
With an increasing population and dwindling national resources, building sustainable businesses, leveling the playing field, and enhancing quality of life around the globe have become a necessity, according to Erdan.
The Israel's leading CSR meetup revolved around six different themes, with talks on diverse subjects such as the Israel's natural gas discoveries and the transportation sector, longevity in the workplace, and the innovative business of social offering.
"CSR is quickly becoming a cornerstone of every business' investment strategy", said Mahadav. "In an ever changing world of corporate social responsibility, it is vital companies are in tune with the demands of their customers."
Today, new consumer machines are allowing people to convert kitchen waste into cooking gas in their own backyards. Technological innovation is realizing people's ideas such as using 3D printing, producing solar energy cells, growing vertical gardens and producing energy from ocean waves, etc.
There is a widely strong drive for people to be committed themselves to make life more sustainable with the support of innovation, said Mahadav.
At this event, two brand new sustainability indexes were launched on Tel Aviv's stock exchange.
One is Tel Bond-CPI Linked Maala SRI and the other is Tel Bond-Shekel Maala SRI. Since 2003, Maala has produced the annual Maala index, which ranks publicly-traded, as well as privately-held Israeli companies, based on CSR criteria.