A sustainable business model considers a wide range of stakeholder interests, including society and environment. They are also the key to winning over consumers today.
As part of a government effort to promote corporate social responsibilities (CSR) which encourages the companies to extend their commitments in many aspects, including shareholders, employees, the underprivileged, and the environment, the Taoyuan-Hsinchu-Miaoli Regional Branch of the Workforce Development Agency of the Ministry of Labor has been dedicated to bringing together resources from local governments and higher education institutions. On Tuesday, the Regional Branch invited experts to share their experience and to exchange thoughts on both the CSR and social enterprise to spread good ideas around. The forum held on Tuesday was also attended by the leaders of Taiwan-based IC foundry leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and food manufacturer I-Mei Foods.
TSMC was recently ranked as the top earner among 5,000 Taiwanese major enterprises for 2015 with the annual profit after tax amounting to NT$263.8 billion, according to a report issued by China Credit Information Service, Ltd. In the meanwhile, I-Mei Foods Co., Ltd. for the first time became Taiwan’s No.1 brand on a list drawn up by Kantar Worldpanel, whose report shows that 82 percent of households in Taiwan bought I-Mei products 6.5 times in 2014.
Both outstanding companies share one thing in common—extraordinary self-discipline in the exercise of good corporate governance and decades-long dedication in the practice of corporate social responsibility.
Sophie Chang: Provide assistance with love and wisdom
Serving as Chairman of the TSMC Volunteer Program, Sophie Chang has been involved in years of charitable activities caring for the underprivileged including women, children, and seniors living alone and is dedicated to education and environmental protection. Chang delivered a speech at the forum reflecting on the TSMC Typhoon Morakot Relief Project, which demonstrates an efficient and effective team work with the support of an integrated resource platform to help victims of severe natural disaster stand on their own feet again.
After Typhoon Morakot, Chang also organized book donations for school students severely affected by the typhoon and provided assistance to indigenous farmers in Laiji Village in helping them rebuild homes and sell their produce. Also, Chang led an on-site relief team soon after the Kaohsiung gas explosions took place last year, for which local residents were thankful for the assistance. Currently, Chang is organizing a nation-wide volunteer and medical treatment network for seniors living alone.
Speaking of TSMC’s energy and water saving effort, Chang indicated that the water recycling ratio in the plant has reached up to 85%. The company volunteered to share the know-how through education workshops for free to help Taiwanese companies reduce water consumption.
Luis Ko saves Siberian tiger
I-Mei Foods General Manager Luis Ko, also known as an outspoken food safety advocate, pointed out that “actions speak louder than words in terms of the practice of corporate social responsibilities.” Ko said bluntly that the food safety issue won’t be solved through a rigid food safety regulation, adding that “only when each business operator sticks to his or her job will the problem not repeat itself again, as indicated by TSMC Chairman Morris Chang.”
I-Mei has been involved in decades of charitable activities and cultural heritage conservation, including the effort in reproducing Taiwan Min Bao, the first newspaper of its kind in 1920s, ecological conservation, and even saving wildlife. He noted that in the mid-1990s he started his wildlife conservation by sponsoring the Siberian tiger conservation breeding project.
Speaking of business ethics, Ko said he has been sticking to the principles set by his father—honesty and frugality—which ensures their food manufacturing business is working on the right track to provide quality and safe foods to consumers. In addition to these core values, Ko said that the food business operators also need to have a good sense of the market price and origin of the ingredients to avoid food hazards besides counting on inspection/ testing equipment.
Ko also appealed to the government to change the mindset on tapping into low-cost natural resources and cheap labor for funding local manufacturing in the name of competitiveness, worrying that such initiatives might compromise the businesses’ motivation to innovate and to make wise use of energy, accordingly at the expense of the rights of people residing on the island to enjoy freely their natural wealth and resources.