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Quality of CSR activity remains 'relatively low'

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2015-02-05 08:37

A new study, considered by experts as the first to accurately document and report on the corporate social responsibility activities of all kinds of companies in China, private and public, has concluded that the country's overall quality of CSR development remains what researchers described as "relatively low".

The Research Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences studied the activities of 100 companies and found that just four had reached a level it considered worthy of "five stars", with scores over 80 on a 100 scale.

The average level of quality was a worrying "two stars", with a score at 25.2.

The list of companies included State-owned enterprises, private and foreign enterprises that operated in China.

The findings come at a time when increasing numbers of companies, including some of the nation's best-known organizations, already claim to have achieved sustainable growth while still operating with credibility and integrity, as required by many CSR standards.

China Resources (Holdings) Co Ltd, Amway China, China Mobile Communications Corp, Minsheng Banking Corp and Canon China were listed by the Research Center as having the best-performing CSR policies.

Foreign enterprises, however, were considered as performing better than Chinese State-owned and private enterprises, conducting a lot more higher-quality philanthropic programs.

South Korean multinationals topped the list, followed by those from Germany, the United States and Japan.

Retailing, petroleum manufacturing and banking were listed as the top three sectors fulfilling their CSR duties well, while the metals, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage sectors were the worst in terms of social conduct, said the study.

"Ensuring the quality of their products, paying taxes in accordance with the law, and being environmentally responsible were the focus of our attention," said Zhong Hongwu, the director at the center, explaining the rankings.

Zhong said the center now hopes the release of the report will prompt more companies into improving their management internally, and advance their marketing and branding externally, in accordance with recognized CSR principles.

The report also included figures revealed the amount of money that leading Chinese companies contributed to public welfare undertakings in 2013.

Private-sector enterprises each contributed 79.21 million yuan ($12.67 million) on average, the highest of all kinds of companies. State-owned enterprises donated 66.5 million yuan, and foreign companies each put in 27.97 million yuan.

Individually, China National Petroleum Corp donated 850.89 million yuan to philanthropic projects, and was ranked top. Dalian Wanda Group Corp Ltd and China Minsheng Bank Corp, were ranked second and third with donations of 438 million yuan and 323 million yuan respectively.

The report praised private enterprises, particularly, for making what it called significant advances in generating economic value through their philanthropic activities, but the quality of those activities did tend to vary across different provinces.

Many well-regarded Chinese companies were praised by the report for fulfilling their social responsibilities, not only with contributions to social public welfare but for CSR-related activities that also help drive their long-term growth.

Wei Yaodong, secretary-general of the charity foundation at China Resources (Holdings) Co Ltd, said the company started its philanthropic program in 2008 to help impoverished residents in rural areas build schools and other infrastructure.

"We take the living conditions of farmers as one of our main priorities, and when we build anything we always try to protect the local environment and maintain the original ecology," Wei said.


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