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CSR in Taiwan-A Review of CSR Reports Publication Status and Best Practices

  • Published at: 2012-03-21 00:00
  • Last modified at: 2012-03-21 15:45

A corporation is consisted of a group of stakeholders. It generally includes shareholders, the board of directors, employees, upstream and downstream suppliers or distributors, strategic alliances, banks, people in the community, social and environmental groups, competitors, the government and media. All these individuals are interrelated in a firm network; they are concerned about the corporation’s operation, and they can affect and also be influenced by the corporation’s operations.

Besides making profits, corporations must pursue social responsibility. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the continuous commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as the community and society at large. The spirit is that as corporations are making profit, they also need to be responsible to the employees, customers, government, members of supply chain, communities, stakeholders, natural environments and future generations, in order to realize the goal of sustainable development of the corporation, environment and society.

Due to the globalization trend in recent years, and with the rise of environmental awareness and green purchasing, the international community now attaches greater importance to the notion and actual practice of corporate social responsibility. Thus, through the publication of “Corporate Social Responsibility Report or Sustainable Development Report (CSR Report)”, corporations can unveil their strategy, practice and performance with respect to the implementation of social responsibility. The content of a CSR Report includes “Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG)”, and it can be used as an important communication tool with the stakeholders. The stakeholders can also use CSR Reports to gain further understanding and evaluation of corporations.

Many countries now have legislations for mandatory CSR Reports publishing in place, which fostered tremendous growth in the total volume of CSR Reports published globally. According to a study conducted by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), up to 5,000 corporations have published CSR Reports in 2010, which adds up to a total of 8,300 corporations published globally. As a result, the rapid growth of CSR Reports stimulates “Sustainable and Responsible Investment or Socially Responsible Investment (SRI)” in the international financial and investment market. According to a research report on global SRI by European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif), SRI stemmed from using corporate CSR Reports and considering performance related to sustainability issues when making investment decisions has grown to 7.6 trillions Euros.

Although the publishing of CSR Reports is voluntary in Taiwan, with the increase of international attention on sustainability issues, and the initiatives in promoting CSR by the local bodies, the quantity and quality of domestic CSR Report publications have been improving consistently. For instance, the Industrial Development Bureau of Ministry of Economic Affairs provides CSR related counseling and guidance; the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation (TSEC) and GreTai Securities Market (GTSM) published Corporate Social Responsibilities Best-Practice Principles for TWSE/GTSM Listed Companies; the Labor Insurance and Pension Fund considers CSR as an important basis for stock selection; and the CommonWealth Magazine, Global Views Magazine and the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy conducted CSR assessment and awarding events.

Corporate social responsibility is not about making donations or doing charity work. It is about reflecting upon the corporation’s core capabilities and contributions such that they are consistent with the goal of sustainable development. In the process of practicing social reasonability, corporations can also identify risks and opportunities associated with operation and development. “If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business. We will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world,” said Bill Gates. And the approach should be corporate social responsibility.

The aim of this review is to compile and analyze best practices of corporate social responsibility from the CSR reports published by the Taiwanese corporations, as to provide valuable information and reference for those who are interested in practicing corporate social responsibility. This review also shares with the general public and the capital market the outstanding CSR reports, such that their efforts can be recognized and be rewarded with continuous support. It is also hoped that through this review, more corporations can better comprehend the significance of corporate social responsibility, and become CSR performers who put this idea into practice.

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