Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


‘best practice’ firms are not so hot

April 2004

Only six out of 30 Hong Kong companies that put themselves forward as examples of best practice on CSR explicitly allow trade union membership.

A survey carried out by the University of Hong Kong and the Community Business organization also found that only nine had human rights policies.

The companies, which are not named, were all members of Community Business and had volunteered themselves as representing best practice so that researchers could study their policies and programmes.

Researchers found only 17 of the companies had a stated CSR commitment through a written policy or similar vehicle, while the other 13 had written policies on employment practice but lacked an overall statement.

Their record on human rights in their supply chains was better. Two-thirds claimed they insisted on ‘good employment practices’ on the part of suppliers and 21 had ethical purchasing policies. Most of the companies had policies on race, age and sexual orientation, although these were often not accompanied by action plans.

The companies were strongest on community donations in cash and kind, although these tended to be ad hoc, the study found.

On reporting, half the companies surveyed disclosed only the minimum financial information required by law. One in ten gave information on supply chain management and a similar proportion covered community investment, equal opportunities and environmental activities.

Researchers concluded that the companies needed to increase their social and environmental reporting and to improve their transparency.


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