GoldenBee Insights

11 years witnesses more diverse and transparent CSR reporting

source:goldencsr    date:2018-12-18 11:34:02

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On December 6, 2018, the 11th International Conference on CSR Reporting in China was held in Beijing, focusing on the new thinking on CSR development and new trends of CSR reporting based on practice. “GoldenBee CSR Report Honor Roll 2018” was released at the same time. The conference was hosted by China WTO Tribune and China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD), and co-hosted by the CSR Centre at Embassy of Sweden in China.   

11 years for a better future together

The conference began with a brisk scene play “This Year and Their Stories”, which is quite different from the serious opening in last year.

In the scene play, there were a mother who called for information disclosure of vaccine enterprises, an ordinary people who was written into CSR report, a representative of government departments who expected the public to be included in the supervisory team, investors who had paid more and more attention to ESG information disclosure, and entrepreneurs who called on the public to enhance their understanding of CSR reporting.

All stakeholder expressed their recognition of the importance of CSR information disclosure and their expectations for CSR development.

As a professional exchange platform in the field of international CSR reporting, the International Conference on CSR Reporting in China has been successfully held for 11 consecutive years, becoming a brand activity in the field of CSR in China.

Over the past 11 years, the conference has released the annual GoldenBee Research on Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in China for many years. Through the platform, Representatives from Chinese enterprises and all walks of life discuss topics and trends of CSR reporting standards, compilation, management and communication, etc., jointly witness and promote more normative, transparent and diversified CSR reporting in the wave of economic globalization.

CSR communication in a new stage of new era

Under the background of deepening reform and opening-up, Chinese enterprises must regard CSR development as the internal impetus for their transformation and upgrading as well as improvement of competitiveness and social influence to achieve sustainable development.

New situation brings about new opportunities to CSR cause in China and puts forward with new requirements of CSR information disclosure for Chinese enterprises.

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Fan Bin, Deputy Director-General of Department of Policies and Regulations, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), pointed out in his opening remark that since the reform and opening-up 40 years ago, China has achieved remarkable results in the development of CSR while promoting industrialization. As stakeholders are a pivotal link of CSR development, how to enhance communication with stakeholders is the direction that CSR circle needs to work on.   

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Li Ling, Vice Chairman of China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment (CAEFI), acknowledged the contributions that foreign-invested enterprises have made to the reform and opening-up of China. As the beneficiaries of China’s reform and opening-up, foreign-invested enterprises have injected new vitality into the sustainable development of China and played the roles of pioneer and facilitator. 

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Zhai Qi, Executive Secretary General of China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD), summarized the characteristics of Chinese enterprises in terms of sustainable development in 2018. Firstly, enterprises has paid close attention to CSR. Secondly, the leading enterprises have attached great importance to the establishment of an improved environmental management system.

Moreover, Zhai Qi also pointed out the shortcomings of enterprises in sustainable development. Firstly, the overall brand competitiveness of Chinese enterprises is not strong enough. Secondly, the perception of sustainable development concepts and the initiative vary among Chinese enterprises. Thirdly, the philosophy of establishing a whole product life cycle and whole industry chain management needs to be set up. Fourthly, many enterprises are still weak in risk control and management.

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Lotta Liljelund, Counsellor & Head of CSR Centre at the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing, remarked in her address that Sweden is one of the earliest countries to embark on CSR development, which is attributed to the Swedish government’s attention to CSR. The CSR Centre at Embassy of Sweden in Beijing will continue to promote the sustainable development and the trade between Sweden and China.   

New changes of CSR reporting

As the instrument and carrier to reflect enterprises’ economic, social and environmental values, CSR reports (sustainability reports) has developed rapidly in recent years.

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According to the statistics revealed in “GoldenBee CSR blue book” —— GoldenBee Research on Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in China 2018 (hereafter referred to as “the Report”), by October 2018, the number of social responsibility reports released in China had reached 1,676, of which 1,623 were from enterprises.

Followed the research methodology used in GoldenBee Research on Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in China 2017, GoldenBee (Beijing) Management Consulting Co., Ltd. (hereafter referred to GoldenBee CSR Consulting) has conducted a systematic analysis of 1,579 CSR reports collected in China and on the basis, compiled GoldenBee Research on Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in China 2018.

As an important part of the Report, GoldenBee Index on CSR Reporting in China 2018(hereafter referred to as “the Index”) reveals the latest trends of CSR reporting in China:

Ÿ  The overall level of the reports continued the staged development features in 2018, maintaining at the level of 1,300 point.

Ÿ  The reports value the disclosure on hot issues such as targeted poverty alleviation, pollution prevention and control, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as overseas information disclosure.

Ÿ  The reports focus more on disclosing the management methods of core issues.

Ÿ  The level of the reports of Mainland China enterprises listed in Hong Kong is higher.

Ÿ  The overall quality of reports of industries such as transport and warehousing, mining and exploitation, information technology, and electricity, coal and water production and supply is high.

As for new trends of CSR reporting, the Index suggests that enterprises should strengthen the efforts to report the identification of materiality issues, disclose management methods of core issues, respond to national development trends and social concerns, and improve the capability of CSR reporting.

The 11th International Conference on CSR Reporting in China has continued the feature of internationalization. Susanne Arvidsson, Associate Professor of School of Business, Economics and Management, Lund University, introduced the latest progress of CSR reporting in Europe.

Heated discussion of information disclosure

As a professional communication platform for CSR reporting, the conference has continued the feature of professionalism, focusing on hotspot issues of key industries and subdivided areas of CSR reporting such as information disclosure, CSR report communication, etc. to bring about new thoughts and exemplary practices for CSR reporting in future.

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Taking the reform and opening-up and the Belt and Road Initiative as the background, the panel of “Transparent Operation Promotes Globalization”  discussed the significance, practices, and values and influence of enterprises’ enhanced information disclosure and transparency during the processes of “bringing in” foreign enterprises and Chinese enterprises “going global”.


In the panel of “ESG Impact in the Capital Market”, guests had a heated discussion about e.g. opportunities and challenges brought by the international trend of “responsible investment” to Chinese enterprises, how Chinese enterprises could adapt to the international disclosure system while disclosing ESG information, and how to improve the quality of ESG information disclosure, etc. 

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As for the topic of corporate brand building, the panel of “CSR Communication Promotes Sustainable Brand Values” provided new insights into the way responsible communication facilitates sustainable brand building, shapes brand image, and improves brand values. The panel of “Strengthening CSR Information Disclosure to Create Transparent SOEs in a New Era” explored how to further improve the quality of SOEs’ CSR information disclosure and establish responsible image of SOEs. 

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Models of CSR reports

In order to identify and encourage better CSR reports in China, since 2009, China WTO Tribune has released research reports on the overall development situation of CSR reporting in China for ten consecutive years, and meanwhile conducted the appraisal and awarding activity of “GoldenBee CSR Report Honor Roll”.

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During the Release Ceremony of GoldenBee CSR Report Honor Roll 2018, 80 enterprises and one institution won 12 awards, including awards for “Leading Enterprise”, “Growing Enterprise”, “Foreign-Invested and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan-Invested Enterprise”, First Time Report Award”, “Employee Care Disclosure Award”, “Customer Engagement Disclosure Award”, “Environmental Protection Disclosure Award”, “Social Contribution Disclosure Award”, “Supplier Engagement Disclosure Award”, “Overseas CSR Disclosure Award, “Special Contribution Award for CSR Reporting in China”, and “Evergreen Award”.    

Up to now, more than 500 CSR reports released by over 200 enterprises have been listed in the “GoldenBee CSR Report Honor Roll”. The event has provided a professional platform for brilliant enterprises and outstanding CSR reports to manifest their advantages. At the same time, it means that the number of outstanding CSR reports in China is increasing, and more enterprises are leading the way of fulfilling social responsibility.