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Mainland firms more aware of CSR
By Carmen To (HK Edition)
Updated: 2008-12-09 07:35

Mainland enterprises are more aware of corporate social responsibility (CSR) than their Hong Kong counterparts, said Richard Welford, chairman of CSR Asia, the leading consultancy provider on sustainable business practices in Asia.

"Some Hong Kong-listed mainland companies had the highest scores in our CSR research findings, namely China Mobile, Foxconn International Holdings and China Resources Enterprises. They also want to keep pace with the global standards," Welford said.

Oxfam Hong Kong urges the Hong Kong SAR government or the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to follow the steps of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in encouraging public listed companies to adopt the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting standards and to tell the public about the impact of their actions.

In May this year, Oxfam Hong Kong invited CSR Asia to provide a presentation of how the 43 Hang Seng Index constituent companies weighed up on their CSR policies and practices. This was to assess current CSR initiatives, which could also serve as a basis for future dialogue with companies on the social and environmental issues as well as poverty alleviation programs.

The response rate, however, was woefully low, according to both organizations, with 16 out of 43 companies responding to the survey, representing only 37 percent of the total.

For companies that did not respond, information was collected from the public domain such as 2007 annual or CSR reports to complete the survey questions.

"HSBC ranked the first out of all Hang Seng Index companies with a total score of 93 percent, followed by CLP Holdings (84 percent) and China Mobile (82 percent). However, 26 companies scored less than 50 percent and eight companies scored below 10 percent," an Oxfam statement said.

The poorly rated companies included Sun Hung Kai Properties, Cheung Kong Holdings, China Unicom, China Netcom, COSCO Pacific, Tencent, Henderson Land Development and Wharf. These companies did not disclose their CSR activities, which also reflected a transparency problem.

(HK Edition 12/09/2008 page2)