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Shanghai introduces social responsibility reporting system among model units

Shanghai Municipal Government Information Office held a press conference on February 24 to introduce the social responsibility reporting system among organizations and enterprises honored as civilization model units. The following are the highlights:

Chen Zhenmin, deputy director of the Municipal Civilization Office

Xinmin Evening News:We know that your office supervises the promotion of ethics and civilization in Shanghai. What are the new requirements this social responsibility system has set for those model units? You just mentioned different requirements for enterprises, public institutions, government agencies and social organizations, can you elaborate on them?

Chen Zhenmin:The model units should submit their social responsibility reports first to the civilization office of their local district or county. The Municipal Civilization Office will form an assessment committee made up of experts and concerned authorities to evaluate their reports. We will take into account each model unit’s merit, media coverage of its deeds, and public opinion about its products or services to determine its social responsibility performance. Those who performed poorly or even cheated in their social responsibility reports will have their titles removed.

There are many model units in Shanghai and they are closely related to people’s life, such as hospitals, schools, shopping malls, government agencies, utility suppliers, taxi and bus companies. We have divided them into four categories: enterprises, public institutions, government agencies and social organizations. Enterprises will be judged for the quality of their products, economic efficiency and environment protection efforts. Public institutions will be appraised for their contribution to education, science and technology, cultural development, and public health.

Government agencies will be evaluated for their services and efforts to maintain public order and provide social welfare. Social organizations will be assessed for their efforts to act as a bridge between the government and enterprises and to oversee member enterprises to ensure they do business legally and fulfill their social responsibility commitment.

Eastday:What’s the difference between the model unit criteria adopted in 2011 and this reporting system? How will the new system help improve the level of civilization in our city?

Chen Zhenmin:The criteria adopted last year require a model unit to submit a social responsibility report every year. The criteria show improvements over the 2005 version and reflect new changes that took place during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010). The new system is aimed at regulating and standardizing the practice of reporting.

Therefore, we made an amendment in the 2011 criteria, requiring all model units to submit their annual reports in time. With the new reporting system, we hope to stimulate all model units to play a leading role in Shanghai’s drive for civilization, innovation and economic transformation.

Laodong Daily:Corporate social responsibility is a concept that began to prevail in the 1990s. Is Shanghai’s social responsibility reporting system similar to the CSR program?

Chen Zhenmin:Enterprises are the cells of the society and must assume their social responsibility other than providing products and services, for example, safeguard the rights of employees, protect the environment and natural resources, do charity work, and promote sustainable development.

However, we do find problems. Some enterprises and organizations are dishonest in their business practices and violate the interests of other people. Therefore, we want all Shanghai enterprises and organizations to carry out their social responsibility and contribute to the city’s transformation and development.

We have borrowed experiences from home and abroad to formulate the reporting system, such as ISO26000-2010 and the CSR Report.

We want the whole society to participate in the practice. Model units should set a good example, especially those that enjoy a high reputation and has a big influence on the society. In a word, the reporting system will give impetus to the spread of social responsibility in the entire society.

Wenhui Daily:Can you tell us how the report evaluation will be conducted? Will it involve some experts from the third party?

Chen Zhenmin:To make sure the evaluation process is scientific and reliable, the Municipal Civilization Office will form a professional evaluation committee made up of experts and concerned officials. We have a total of 3,036 city-level model units in various fields and we will divide them into four categories as I mentioned earlier to ensure the evaluation is objective.

In the future, we will also create a website to publish the social responsibility reports of model units for ordinary citizens to comment on them.

China Report:How are you going to evaluate the performance of assuming social responsibility by a model unit? What are the criteria?

Chen Zhenmin:Our evaluation will be based on five aspects: employee obligation, quality of product or service, business honesty, community responsibility, and environmental protection. Here I want to emphasize more on community responsibility. It refers to how an enterprise or organization serves its local community, such as charity donations, volunteer services, and poverty relief.

Before and during the World Expo in 2010, we asked all city-level model units to participate in Expo-related activities in their local communities, help improve sanitation and promote civilized behaviors.