For AmCham Taiwan, ESG is a Long-Term Commitment

In recognition of the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement, AmCham has placed a strategic emphasis on fostering public-private learning partnerships to advance ESG practices.

The Chamber has launched a multifaceted ESG initiative aiming to make a positive impact on the business community and society at large.

In the ever-evolving landscape of global business, a new era of leadership that prioritizes sustainability and inclusivity has emerged. Recognizing this critical shift, AmCham Taiwan’s dedication to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles goes beyond generic statements – it’s a tangible commitment to fostering sustainable growth and leadership in the 21st century.  

Through a series of inspiring and action-induced training and co-learning programs, AmCham’s ESG initiative takes a multifaceted approach to talent development, training, and retention by focusing on sustainability and DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility). 

Through partnerships with the Taiwan and U.S. governments, the Chamber has conducted a series of thought-provoking programs aiming to support and challenge members to cultivate and develop sustainable leadership practices. 

While this is only the beginning of AmCham’s ESG efforts, 2023 has seen a wide range of activities and initiatives promoting ESG practices among stakeholders.  

Leadership matters 

Recognizing the significance of promoting ESG practices among stakeholders, AmCham Taiwan established the ESG Steering Group in 2023. This working group operates across the Chamber’s 26 industry committees, providing guidance and support to member companies in their ESG journey. 

Chaired by Steven Pan, chairman of Silks Hotel Group, the ESG Steering Group actively assists corporate members and committees in implementing the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

“For us, sustainability is not just a project or initiative – it’s a way of life,” says Pan about the Chamber’s ESG group. “We believe in fostering public-private partnerships, working closely with our members, government entities, and local communities. Through co-learning, we share best practices, exchange knowledge, and collaborate on projects that benefit Taiwan.” 

Pan adds that the Chamber is working to support local entrepreneurs and help them thrive by providing mentorship, expertise, and guidance on scaling their businesses and positively impacting their communities. “This approach allows us to give back in a meaningful and sustainable way while also contributing to the overall goals of ESG and sustainability,” he says.  

Moreover, the Chamber in July appointed former AmCham President Amy Chang as its Senior Advisor on Sustainability. Chang’s dedication and leadership have been a driving force behind the Chamber’s rapidly expanding ESG focus. 

AmCham Chairperson Vincent Shih presents President Tsai Ing-wen with a Texas Mountain Laurel at the 2023 Hsieh Nien Fan.

Talent development 

AmCham Taiwan’s 21st-Century Talent initiative is at the forefront of the Chamber’s ESG endeavors. This program is designed to support and challenge members to cultivate the human capital necessary to thrive in the business world of the future. In collaboration with the Taiwan and U.S. governments, the Chamber has embarked on a journey to promote DEIA as an essential component of leadership in the public and private sectors. 

The NextGen Leadership Program is a cornerstone of AmCham Taiwan’s commitment to sustainable leadership. Designed for high-potential junior to mid-level professionals, this program offers a range of educational opportunities. Monthly seminars, field trips, masterclass workshops, and conversations with leaders from world-renowned companies are all part of the curriculum. 

In 2023, sustainability took center stage as the program’s theme. Participants created hypothetical companies addressing specific issues related to four selected SDGs: 

• SDG 4: Quality Education 

• SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth 

• SDG 10: Reduced Inequality 

• SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production 

The program’s impact was tangible as young leaders conducted in-depth research on the 169 SDG targets, delving into areas such as biogas, organic fishery, aging workforces, and more. Renowned figures like Chen Mei-ling, chairperson of the Taiwan Regional Revitalization Foundation (TWRR) and former minister of the National Development Council, shared insights during program sessions, emphasizing the importance of sustainability as both a sound business practice and an investment in the future. 

AmCham’s commitment to advancing DEIA principles in the workplace was highlighted in a panel discussion for NextGen participants organized in collaboration with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The event was opened by Director Sandra Oudkirk, AIT’s first female director, before a panel of AIT employees from various functions and backgrounds discussed diversity, equity, and inclusion in modern workplaces. 

Chairperson Vincent Shih shared AmCham’s ESG efforts at the SDGs International Forum hosted by CommonWealth Magazine in March.

A celebration of collaboration 

Hsieh Nien Fan, Taiwan’s largest social event for the international business community, serves as a platform for expressing gratitude to government officials for their support throughout the year. During the 2023 Hsieh Nien Fan, held in April, AmCham Taiwan collaborated with TWRR and ReWood a Taiwanese company focused on the sustainable use of waste wood, to provide the keynote speakers with sustainable gifts symbolizing the solid cooperative relationship between the Taiwan and U.S. governments. 

President Tsai Ing-wen was gifted a Texas Mountain Laurel, a species of evergreen native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Found in semi-arid conditions, the tree is known for its resilience. Its fragrant purple flowers are popular with pollinators, including butterflies, a known symbol of Taiwan. AIT Director Oudkirk received a Taiwan Rain Tree, a deciduous tree lining many of Taiwan’s city streets and known for its exceptional carbon sequestration abilities.  

In August, AmCham celebrated the establishment of Taiwan’s new Ministry of the Environment at The Regent Taipei. The event featured special guests Minister of Environment of Taiwan Shieu Fuh-sheng and Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Jane Nishida. Discussions during the celebration centered on Taiwan’s future environmental protection initiatives, including emissions reduction, carbon taxation, and green energy transition. 

Best practice sharing 

AmCham’s ESG Mentorship Roundtable is a platform for promising entrepreneurs to seek advice and support from experienced AmCham members. Three innovative companies – Jinshan Sweet Potato Farm, ReWood, and Bai-Chung-Ren Foodstuff – joined the first roundtable meeting in June. With focuses ranging from sustainable business practices to indigenous cuisine, these companies reflect Taiwan’s diverse and dynamic business landscape. 

“Working with the American business community for us is about jointly exploring how companies and communities can work together for the benefit of greater society,” says Jacky Chen, founder of ReWood. “AmCham is a great platform for matching companies with local partners and projects. Its role as a catalyst for cooperation in this process is very important. In the future, we are hoping to work together on certification services and education.” 

The Chamber has also actively sought out role models for sustainable practices through engagement with local governments and member companies.  

June included a visit by the Chamber to Hsinchu, where Mayor Ann Kao shared insights on how the city incorporates ESG principles and the UN’s SDGs into governance and industries. This collaborative approach involves businesses, academia, and wider society, leading to mutually beneficial outcomes. The Chamber’s members also explored sustainable practices during visits to TSMC’s Museum of Innovation and UMC.  

In July, AmCham members visited Taichung for an insightful session with Taichung City Mayor Lu Shiow-yen, who shared the city’s experience in sustainable governance with AmCham members. Additionally, members had the opportunity to visit Micron Taiwan’s new A3 wafer fab and green restaurant, gaining insights into Micron’s leadership in technology, sustainable operations, and DEIA.  

In August, AmCham together with Taipei City Mayor Chiang Wan-an visited American multinational 3M’s Yangmei plant in Taoyuan. Participants learned about the plant’s construction using green practices, aligning with 3M’s broader ESG efforts. The innovative factory design and the company’s commitment to sustainability left a deep impression among participants, and Mayor Chiang expressed his support for fostering further collaboration between the private and public sectors for sustainable development.  

To encourage more members to enhance their ESG efforts, AmCham Taiwan is developing programs designed to acknowledge achievements and further support the attainment of significant milestones. By fostering a culture of co-learning and demonstrating unwavering determination, the Chamber remains committed to assisting its members in achieving their ESG goals.