15 April 2011

CUMBA Announces Survey Results on Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility
New Business Challenges Driven by High Public Expectations



There has been increasingly louder voice from the public urging corporations and businesses in Hong Kong to fulfil social responsibilities while making legitimate profit. In a survey conducted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong MBA (CUMBA) students in April, an overwhelming 92% of respondents say businesses should bear responsibility towards society when making legitimate profit and 75% of them believe businesses in Hong Kong are not doing enough due to strong focus on profit and lack of awareness. 44% of respondents are ready to exert their influence through consumption habits and to pick products that are made by companies with agreeable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. 

The respondents are mainly consisted of current income earners (76% of respondents earn more than $20,000/month) with undergraduate degrees and above, which are representative of the large consumption power of white-collars in Hong Kong. The opinions might be reflective of the recent social issues in the city, including the enforcement of minimum wage policy, raising fares and rates by public utilities, urban real-estate development, and conservation of plants and habitats. It is believed that CSR will help to mitigate pollution, ease employer-employee tensions, promote employees’work-life balance, decrease public’s hostility to the business sectorand increase social mobility.

Only 18% of respondents believe Hong Kong companies are doing better in CSR than those in other advanced economies (US, Europe and Japan). They are doing best in ‘compliance with legal regulations’, 'cash donations' and ‘honesty & fairness in business transactions'. The worst areas are‘assurance on employee benefits’ and ‘environmental protection’. The best three performing industries are ‘banking & finance’, 'professional services’ and ‘insurance’; while the ‘property & real estate’, 'building & construction’ and ‘retail’ sectors need improvement.

50% of respondents say the Government can motivate companies by providing financial incentives like tax exemption while 22% say regulatory measures are needed. Respectively 33% and 21% say ‘Inject related terms in business contracts’ and ‘Share / demonstrate successful cases’ are good ways to improve CSR practice in Hong Kong. Close to 40% believe the general public should be educated about the importance of CSR. 

Highlights of Research Findings

- An overwhelming 92% of respondents agree that businesses bear social responsibility as they make profit, but 75% believes businesses have not been doing enough in this area;

- Slightly over 40% of respondents would consider a company’s CSR practice before purchasing its products of services, but 46% of respondents are not accepting price-raise to incur potential cost increase due to CSR implementation;

- Over 20% of respondents believe businesses cannot fulfil social responsibilities by making donations;

- Over 80% of respondents believe businesses in Hong Kong are lagging behind those in advanced economies in practicing CSR;

- 'Environment Protection’, 'Assurance on Employees’ Benefit’ and ‘Honesty and fairness in transactions’ are the top three areas that respondents consider businesses in Hong Kong should improve;

-  'Property / Real Estate’, 'Building & Construction’ and ‘Retail’ are the top three industries which respondents think should do better to fulfil social responsibilities;

- 50% of respondents say the Government can facilitate an improvement by providing financial incentives to advocate CSR practices. At the same time 22% says regulatory influence is a way to do so;

Full survey data can be found at website: http://cumbacsr.baf.cuhk.edu.hk/survey-release.html

About CUMBA CSR Conference 2011

The survey is an effort under the CUMBA CSR Conference 2011. Since 2007, CUMBA Students have been organizing annual conferences over pertinent CSR topics with anaim toraiseawareness on the latest CSR issues among corporations and non-governmental organizations. The 5th annual conference themed ‘Global Partnership for a Sustainable Future’ will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 11 May 2011, led by 16 prominent speakers from a wide and encompassing range of industries. For more details, please visit the conference website at http://cumbacsr.baf.cuhk.edu.hk. The conference is proudly sponsored by the Bank of China (Hong Kong).

The survey respondents have high expectation on businesses in CSR implementation
The survey respondents have high expectation on businesses in CSR implementation

CUMBA CSR Conference 2011 Committee Members
CUMBA CSR Conference 2011 Committee Members

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Honorary Fellowship
Honorary Fellowship