Business / Economy

Private enterprises leading surge in charity donations

By Zhu Wenqian (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-18 10:15

Social responsibility becoming core value in China, says CASS study

Charitable donations reached 198.1 billion yuan ($31.95 billion) last year in China, a 33.5 percent rise on 2013, with private enterprises accounting for the majority of contributions, according to figures released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Officials said philanthropic causes made significant progress with the number of registered social organizations increasing by around 10 percent.

These included social groups, private non-profit groups and charities, and private foundations, revealed the academy's report.

"In August, the ice bucket challenge went viral online in China, for instance, and the initiative received donations of more than 8 million yuan within a week, which showcased the growing enthusiasm for philanthropy driven by social media," said Yang Tuan, a researcher with the academy.

The findings came at a time when an increasing number of companies, including some of the nation's best-known, claim to be achieving more sustainable growth while still operating with credibility and integrity, as required by tightening international corporate social responsibility standards.

The China WTO Tribune, a monthly journal tracking China's World Trade Organization-related work, established by the Ministry of Commerce in 2002, has also released its new Golden Bee Index, which claims Chinese enterprises have significantly improved the quality of their CSR reports.

The CASS report said that in fulfilling their social responsibilities, the difference between the best and emerging CSR practices has narrowed significantly, and State-owned enterprises too are paying more attention to CSR activities.

Yin Gefei, vice-president of the tribune, said: "China has entered an era of socially responsible management. The concept of CSR is growing with more legalized, standardized and internationalized policies being adopted.

"Different sectors have increasingly shown distinctive features, when putting their social responsibility policies into practice."

He said rising social expectations are now forcing more companies to release CSR reports.

But companies are realizing that doing so can also improve management internally, and advance marketing and branding externally.

The Golden Bee Index claimed the quality of reports is improving because of innovative structures being put into place, resulting in better content and formats.

Maisoun Jabali, head of the CSR Center attached to the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing, said that for some companies, and not only in China, disclosure of CSR details and information remains "a very hard topic", however.

Jabali said the level and standard of CSR activities differ in some countries, but in China SOEs are certainly paying more attention to CSR issues, which often now cover staff policies, government relations and the disclosure of financial information.

Foreign enterprises and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are more concerned with information disclosure regarding the environment, said Jabali.

Private enterprises too, have significantly improved the quality of information they disclosed to the media and regulators, she said.

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