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Firms urged to take social responsibility despite gloomy economy

Firms urged to take social responsibility despite gloomy economy

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Companies should take social responsibility right now, despite their economic ups and downs, for sustainable management before it is too late, visiting experts said Friday. "What I'd like to put it in your mind is a sense of urgency -- we are running out of time (to make a better future we want)," said Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. People have been talking about sustainability for 40 years, but the progress has not been satisfactory, while governments are struggling to provide effective answers, Bakker said at a forum held by Acer Inc. in Taipei. Poverty has not gone away, environmental damage is still severe, carbon emissions keep increasing, and the population continues to increase, Bakker noted. "There's been enough talk and we need to move to action," Bakker said, adding that businesses can play a critical role in pushing this idea forward worldwide. Businesses can provide technological solutions and start to make efforts by providing integrated reporting which should include not only the company's financial capital, but also social capital and natural capital. By doing so, Bakker said, companies will pay more attention to its cost of the whole value chain as well as the production waste and carbon footprint. Wim Bartels, global head of KPMG's Sustainability Assurance Services, echoed Bakker's view, saying that investment in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is relevant for companies as that in research and development. Citing IKEA Group as an example, Bartels said the Swedish company released a new and ambitious sustainability strategy that it will become energy independent and help millions of people live an affordable, sustainable life at home by 2020. As long as companies set a target and commit to it, improvements will be made as a step forward, Bartels said. In a panel discussion, Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said that his company has been devoted to such issues since 2009 with the aims of leading Taiwan's information and communications technology (ICT) sector for the cause. "From now on, we'll proactively promote CSR...We have full confidence it can be our selling point in the future," Wang said. Acer held its fifth annual CSR Forum on Friday in Taipei as part of the Taiwanese computer maker's efforts to explore global trends in sustainable management. In the Greenpeace 2012 Global Guide to Greener Electronics Companies ranking, Acer was ranked fourth behind Indian software services provider Wipro Ltd., U.S. computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. and Finnish handset maker Nokia Oyj. Furthermore, Acer was rated No. 1 in Asia in the Conflict Minerals ranking last year by the Enough Project, an international non-governmental organization that works with advocates and policy makers to end genocide and crimes against humanity. The objective of the Enough Project ranking is to rate consumer electronics companies based on their efforts to positively invest in the region, as well as their efforts to remove conflict minerals -- tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold -- that fund armed groups in Africa's eastern Congo from their supply chains. (By James Lee)


Updated : 2021-08-03 14:36 GMT+08:00