Editorial: Ethical policies will set you apart

These days, companies fall over themselves to prove their CSR credentials. As the sweatshops of Asian textile manufacturers supplied the world with cheap goods, MAS Holdings, based in Sri Lanka, focused on creating a healthy working environment for its employees, close to the rural settlements where many of them live. As competition from China has increased, MAS has used the strength of its ethical reputation to set it apart from its competitors. The policy seems to work as it has maintained its orders with its Western customers, which include Marks & Spencer, Gap and Victoria's Secret. The company's experience shows how CSR can drive profits, but at the same time it is worth noting that the founders established their ethical policies because they believed it was the right thing to do.

by Morice Mendoza, editor World Business

The business opportunities that China offers cannot be ignored, but many managers over-estimate how much money can be made from its consumer market.

More than three-quarters of a billion Chinese live in poverty. However, if companies approach China in a more realistic fashion, they are less likely to be disappointed by the returns they make.

Ultimately, of course, the markets may fulfil even the wildest of their dreams - some forecasts suggest China will be the second biggest economy in the world by 2040. The downside is the impact on the environment of China's huge need for energy.

In our country report, we look at Beijing's plans to develop cleaner fuel sources and establish the world's first eco-city.

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