The Key to Corporate Social Responsibility is in Respecting People’s Rights

Tim Hathaway translates a Southern Weekend article on Chinese corporate social responsibility:

The economics department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences recently issued the “2009 Blue Book on Chinese Corporate Social Responsibility” (中国企业社会责任蓝皮书2009). Not surprisingly, it claims that the overall level of corporate social responsibility in China is rather low. However, the two conclusions in the report are worth discussion: Among each kind of ownership structure, central-state owned enterprises have the most social responsibility, and the larger the business, the more social responsibility there is.

The compilers of this report quoted many statistics and used many complex mathematical formulas to come up with these two conclusions. However, if statistics and mathematical formulas contradict what is commonly observed in society, then by default there must be something wrong with the premise. Unfortunately, this is the very problem with the Blue Book.

The irony of all this is that the same day the Blue Book was released, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission released a set of contradictory data. It said that the ten largest coal burning electricity producers created 87 billion RMB in environmental damage last year. Of these, Huaneng [华能] and Datang [大唐] are the two largest producers of carbon emissions and therefore have the worst impact on the environment. Yet they rank fourth and fifth respectively on the list of of most socially responsible enterprises. This is proof enough that the Blue Book’s conclusions are unrealistic.

However, if we take a step back and assume these two conclusions are correct, it is still important to provide an explanation based on the facts as well as some constructive deductions. The extrapolations made by the compilers of the Blue Book, however, are extremely biased.

October 26, 2009 9:58 PM
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Categories: Economy, Society