Corporate Social Responsibility OverviewCorporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) generally refers to when corporations are generating profits and being responsible to the interests of shareholders, and concurrently striving for all stakeholders to achieve economic prosperity, social welfare, and environmental sustainability. The definitions commonly accepted by the international community include the one set by the European Union in 2011, "companies taking responsibility for their impact on society". The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) defines CSR as "the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large". The World Bank refers to CSR as "the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve quality of life, in ways that are both good for business and good for development".
In recent years, overdevelopment and the large-scale use of fossil fuels have caused global climate anomalies and frequent natural disasters. Furthermore, with the trends of liberalization and globalization, international trade and mutual investment have significantly increased in volume, bringing extensive impact to human rights, labor rights, resource allocation, corruption, bribery, and other social issues of various global regions. As a result, enterprises are now expected to not just focus on elevating their performance and profitability, but also to take responsibility for society and the environment. For multinational companies, traditional compliance with the various mechanisms of individual governments is no longer enough. International norms and standards regarding corporate social responsibility are constantly emerging. Since 2003, there have been eight major CSR standards, (please refer to the Taiwan CSR website: http://csr.moea.gov.tw/standards/standards.aspx) including the United Nations Global Compact, The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Account Ability 1000, and the Global Reporting Initiative. Furthermore, a large group of financial institutions co-launched the "Equator Principles", which only provide loans to projects that can prove their compliance with corporate social responsibility and environmental protection measures. In 2006, the United Nations worked with international institutional investors to launch "Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)", which provides investors with standards for analyzing investments through environmental, social, and governance factors. These standards provide a more concrete structure to the practice of social responsibility, as well as serve as an important tool for its promotion. Various governments and capital market operators have also been actively encouraging or regulating CSR. To date, many successful multinational corporations have already incorporated CSR into their daily operations and core strategy, making it a cornerstone for sustainable development.
As CSR is a growing global trend, Taiwan and its regulators have kept in line with international practices in promoting CSR.As such, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has gradually revised the scope of CSR disclosure, and instructed the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) and Taipei Exchange (TPEx) to launch "Corporate Social Responsibility Best Practice Principles for TWSE/TPEx-Listed Companies" and "Ethical Corporate Management Best Practice Principles for TWSE/TPEx-Listed Companies" in 2010 with the objective of guiding Taiwan's listed companies to practice corporate social responsibility and implement integrity management measures. Furthermore, the FSC announced the "Corporate Governance Roadmap 2013" as a guideline for promoting corporate governance and CSR policies in Taiwan. On the investment level for markets, labor insurance and retirement funds have been steadily incorporating CSR in their considerations for selecting stocks. The TWSE has also launched "TWSE RA Taiwan Employment Creation 99 Index" and "TWSE High Salary 100 Index". Through the design and promotion of these indexes, the TWSE hopes to encourage enterprises to improve employment opportunities and employee wages. In advancing the practice of corporate social responsibility, the FSC has been guiding the TWSE and TPEx in hosting the "Business Integrity and Corporate Social Responsibility for Listed Companies Forum" since 2011. Through sharing business integrity and CSR experiences by benchmarking companies, examples for practicing CSR are provided for listed companies. In 2014, the TWSE also joined the World Federation of Exchanges' sustainability working group. By learning and sharing new information, the TWSE hopes that Taiwan's capital market specifications can meet international standards in regards to environmental, social, and governance considerations, thus quickening the pace of Taiwanese corporations in assimilating measures for social responsibility.