Let me start by introducing myself. I began my career as a young journalist in China in 1974. In the 1980s, I was a frontline explorer and journalist for the National Geographic magazine. I became deeply interested in our cultural and natural heritage so in 1986, I founded the China Exploration & Research Society (CERS). Through exploration, research and conservation projects in remote China, CERS seeks to conserve nature and culture in a sensitive and equitable manner.
Meanwhile, as you know, Jebsen Group is a more than century-old industry-leading marketing and distribution organisation with an extensive portfolio in consumer, luxury, beverage and industrial products. Officially, we joined hands in 2012 to contribute to cultural protection together. But the truth is, our paths crossed much earlier.
I knew, through anecdotes that my father shared, that my paternal grandfather was a comprador for Jebsen Group in the early 20th century. But I did not expect that, two generations later, Group Chairman Hans Michael Jebsen would become a close friend.
As early as 1996, he would visit our field operations with his family, venturing to the Gobi desert oasis town of Dunhuang and driving up to Qinghai plateau to study China’s wildlife together. Through him, I also had the opportunity to share my passion with Jebsen employees in Hong Kong and Shanghai at various events. I always try to inspire action through my presentations but with Jebsen, I always end up being inspired by how open and enthusiastic its people are. Over the years, Jebsen has demonstrated a commitment giving back to the societies in which it operates, and interest in cultural conservation spread throughout the Group. In 2012, Jebsen and CERS signed a formal agreement as part of its CSR drive.
No one knows what the future holds but with Jebsen as our partner, we can proudly say that we are doing our best to keep China’s natural and cultural heritage alive.