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CommonWealth's Top 50 Corporate Citizens


Around the globe, companies are making social responsibility an essential part of their business strategies. In this survey, CommonWealth unveils the most exemplary corporate citizens of Taiwan.



CommonWealth's Top 50 Corporate Citizens

By CommonWealth Editorial Department
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 367 )

In the current age, companies run a high risk of gaining a bad name. The very mention of corporate business is bound to conjure images of business magnates striking secret deals. It brings to mind companies delisting from the local stock exchange and abandoning Taiwan, as well as CEOs fleeing abroad to escape accountability for shady transactions and business failures.

But globally the trend has been reversing. Everyone, ranging from the United Nations, to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to multinationals like retail giant Wal-Mart or carmaker Honda, to Harvard Business School, is shifting their focus to “corporate citizens,” enterprises that pursue both corporate growth and social responsibility.

We cannot help asking “What about Taiwan?” How will the world view the values of Taiwanese enterprises?

At this crucial point of a major trend reversal, CommonWealth magazine now releases its ranking of Taiwan's Top 50 corporate citizens, to stay on track with the world and bring together the energies of the leaders in this area.

As early as 1996, CommonWealth began including a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) index in its “Most Admired Company” survey. In 2004 we again demonstrated our leadership by publishing a special “public interest” issue on corporate participation in society. As nowadays people worldwide are attaching more importance to the role of corporate citizens, we decided to conduct our own independent corporate social responsibility survey.

The question we asked ourselves was how to reconcile international benchmarks for corporate citizenship with Taiwan's status quo. Eventually we decided to evaluate the civic values of Taiwan's enterprises based on four aspects – corporate governance, company commitment, social involvement, and environmental protection – to select the Top 50 corporate citizens. A total of sixteen companies - the ten top-ranked large enterprises, the top three medium-size enterprises and the top three foreign enterprises – were presented with CommonWealth's Award for “Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility.”

The survey not only had a broad scope, covering more than 1,100 enterprises, but was also conducted in three separate stages. Finally, we asked eight authorities on corporate governance, corporate management, environmental protection and corporate philanthropy to form a jury panel, which picked the CommonWealth Top 50 corporate citizens, after sifting through almost 3,000 pages of corporate information and holding a number of spirited discussions.

Former premier Vincent Siew, who headed the jury panel, had words of praise for our endeavor, saying: “I admire CommonWealth magazine very much. They lead the way. They're very forward-looking. Once they see what society needs, they push in that direction.”

Given that Taiwan is still very unfamiliar with the concept of corporate citizenship, we also conducted exclusive interviews with management legend Michael Porter; Frances Hesselbein, cofounder of the Peter Drucker Foundation; and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to explain to our readers how classic competitive strategy can be combined with social responsibility in order to develop a company's unique competitive edge. The three management authorities also discussed how Taiwan's contract manufacturers could become good corporate citizens.

CommonWealth's comprehensive, trailblazing introduction of the corporate citizen topic has also triggered strong reverberations among Taiwan's enterprises. Press-shy corporate heavyweights who have rarely appeared in the media in recent years, such as Uni-President Group CEO C.Y. Kao and Wei Chuan Foods Corporation chairman Wei Yin-chun, agreed to be interviewed for this issue. These industry veterans talked frankly about their own ideas of corporate citizenship and what role they expect socially responsible companies to play.

We hope that the voices of these trendsetters will spur many others into action. Indeed, we hope that the selection of the best corporate citizens and the presentation of the “Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility” Award will put the spotlight on those corporate citizens in Taiwan who are forging ahead with great strides. We also expect that their march forward will help Taiwan keep pace with the world.

About the 2007 CommonWealth CSR Survey

The CommonWealth 2007 CSR Survey takes as reference international indexes and measuring methods such as the United Nations’ Global Compact, the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. Taiwan’s best corporate citizens were picked in a three-stage process using the benchmarks “corporate governance,” “corporate commitment,” “social involvement,” and “environmental protection.”

The survey covered three separate groups: large enterprises with an annual turnover above NT$10 billion, medium-size enterprises with an annual turnover below NT$10 billion, and foreign enterprises.

“Corporate governance” mainly judged the board of director’s independence as well as company transparency. “Corporate commitment” included a company’s pledges toward its consumers, its caring about employee training and well-being, and its commitment to innovation and R&D. “Social involvement” measured whether a company was involved in society for the long run and whether it made its influence felt. Finally the “environmental protection” aspect examined whether a company made genuine efforts to protect the environment and conserve energy.

In the first stage preliminary round, 1,101 companies were picked from among 1,929 public companies under the supervision of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) (including companies traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, the OTC Market, or the Emerging Stock Market) that had posted profits for three years in a row.

In the second-stage follow-up round, 563 institutional analysts and accountants, aided by scores that the companies had awarded one another, selected 44 large enterprises, 20 medium-size enterprises and 21 foreign enterprises for entry into the final round.

In the third stage a panel of eight jurors chose the winners. The jury panel rated companies based on corporate information and their overall score throughout the various stages. These results were weighted to reach the final score.

Former premier Vincent Siew headed the panel of judges. The other members were Chintay Shih, president of the Industrial Technology Research Institute; Paul Chu, founder of the accounting firm KPMG; Shih Yen-shiang, political deputy minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs; Dr. Mu-Lan Hsu, dean of Shih Hsin University’s College of Management; Yin Hua Yeh, dean of the Fu Jen Catholic University Graduate Institute of Finance; Huang Ping-der, director of the National Chengchi University EMBA program’s division of non-profit organization management; and Niven Huang, secretary-general of the Business Council for Sustainable Development-Taiwan.

The survey was conducted between Dec. 8, 2006 and January 29, 2007.

Translated from the Chinese by Susanne Ganz

Chinese Version: 開風氣之先的天下企業公民