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Corporate Social Disclosure focuses on China and Japan as two countries for critical observations of the latest CSD issues. This volume consists of 12 chapters written by scholars from these two countries, addressing the latest observation of CSD in general as we as in different industries based on their latest research findings.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Corporate Social Disclosure in China and Japan: An Introduction

1. Corporate Social Disclosure in China and Japan: An Introduction

Corporate social disclosure (CSD), an important branch of social accounting (Gray, 2002), has been widely examined since the 1970s. Gray et al. (1996: 3) define social accounting as “the process of communicating the social and environmental effects of organisations’ economic actions to particular interest groups within society and to society at large”. During that time, managers were under pressure to disclose the wider consequences that corporate activities may have on the environment, human resources and consumer policies (McKie, 1974). Rapid globalization in the 1980s and 1990s forced corporations to realize that their operations and activities do not take place in a vacuum but have immense consequences both locally and globally (Macintosh et al., 2000). Consumers started to have an increased awareness of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and expected more transparency in corporate affairs. The disclosure of CSR information became very much in demand by various stakeholder groups, including governmental agencies and pressure groups. This was especially the case after the 2001 US accounting scandals of Enron and Arthur Andersen when CSD and reputation risk were seen to be related (Bebbington et al., 2008). Nowadays, CSD is still voluntary in most countries, although some European countries have mandatory requirements on environmental disclosure (Oxfam Hong Kong, 2010).

Carlos Noronha

Corporate Social Disclosure in China

Frontmatter

2. The Trend of Corporate Social Disclosure in Mainland Chinese Listed Companies: A Longitudinal Observation

The Seventeenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China promulgated the edict of “Scientific Concept of Development and Harmonious Society”, which aimed to put people first and maintain comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development. China has a plan to strategically build a “Socialist Harmonious Society” by the year 2020, encompassing democracy and the rule of law, fairness and justice, integrity and fraternity, vitality, stability and order and harmony between men and nature. In February 2009, China Premier Wen Jiabao quoted Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments to emphasize the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). That is, “corporations should not purely strive to maximize profits at the expense of other people’s or even the public’s interest. In fact, corporations should take up social responsibilities in their hearts and exercise moral in their business dealings.” The Chinese government has begun to promote CSR as one key component of the “Harmonious Society” (Wong, 2009). See (2008) even coined the term “hCSR” for “Harmonious Corporate Social Responsibility” in China.

Cynthia M. I. Si Tou, Carlos Noronha

3. Corporate Social Disclosure and Performance Gap: Greenwashing Foxconn’s Shenzhen Factories

Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting or corporate social disclosure (CSD), and realizing that in the long run, it may help them increase company value and promote business growth (KPMG, 2008). However, greater acknowledgment of the CSR agenda does not necessarily result in more responsible behaviors (Hess, 2008). As CSD is often used to measure actual performance (Ullmann, 1985), it is essential to assess the quality of CSD and identify if there is any discrepancy between corporate social reporting and actual performance.

Carlos Noronha, Stefanie X. Wang

4. Corporate Social Disclosure: The Case of China’s Milk Product Industry

China’s milk production has undergone rapid growth over the past three decades. Several factors have contributed to this expansion. Firstly, the Chinese government has taken a variety of measures to promote dairy production and consumption. These included the introduction of a school lunch program that provided subsidized milk for schoolchildren, aiming to promote milk consumption and production in the rural areas; provision of technical and financial support to farmers, to improve dairy farming (Wang et al., 2010); and the introduction of the so-called Grassland Law, which was enacted to protect and make rational use of grasslands and to improve the ecological environment and biodiversity of animals (Muhammad et al., 2009). Secondly, urban residents have gradually developed a preference for dairy products, owing to a general increase in wealth and recognition of the nutritional value brought by such products (Wang & Zhang, 2004). In addition, China’s dairy industry is dominated by over 500,000 farm households, with each family having one to five cows. More and more farm households are eager to profit from the supply of milk, leading to the expansion of the dairy farming business (Lohmar et al., 2009). Thirdly, international organizations, foreign governments and multinational enterprises have provided technical and financial investment to China in order to support the dairy industry.

Carlos Noronha, Katy W. P. Kong

5. How Do Chinese SOEs Integrate Economic Functions with Social Functions? A Viewpoint Based on the Analysis of Social Reporting Features

As a core component of the socialist market economy,1 the state sector (SS) plays an important role in guiding the economic development of China and ensuring its economic function of retaining and increasing the value of national assets. However, securing economic stability and development is not the only responsibility taken by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as stated by De (2012), “SOEs across the world serve multiple functions and have heterogeneous goals … judging their functions … on the basis of profitability or some other criterion of market-linked efficiency is futile”. Nowadays, people expect more from the SS’s social function. State-owned or state holding enterprises2 (SOE) as a major component of the SS automatically undertake the dual function of economy and society. However, under many circumstances, these two functions are irreconcilable. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the SOEs’ methods of integrating their economic functions with social functions from the perspective of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting.

Jenny J. Q. Guan

6. An Initial Exploration of Corporate Social Disclosure and Responsible a Gambling Disclosure in Macau’s Gambling Industry

Corporate social responsibility1 (CSR) has been widely discussed, and this term has been growing in importance in various fields of business studies, for example accounting (Gray et al., 1995a). In particular, CSR is often associated with the gradual increase in corporate reporting of social and environmental policies and practices. According to KPMG’s (2011) survey, 95% of the largest global 250 companies in the world report on their CSR, and this activity is often known as corporate social disclosure (CSD). Prior CSD studies have paid relatively little attention to controversial industries (see Campbell et al., 2003; Moerman & Van Der Laan, 2005; Tilling & Tilt, 2010).

Tiffany C. H. Leung

Corporate Social Disclosure in Japan

Frontmatter

7. Revisiting Corporate Social Disclosure in Japan

A corporation has a responsibility to contribute toward the economic development of society by creating added value and generating employment through fair competition; it should also make its existence useful to society at large. A corporation is expected to respect human rights, comply with relevant laws and regulations, observe the spirit of international rules, discharge social responsibility with a strong sense of ethical values and contribute toward sustainable development of society by acting in line with CSR principles (METI, 2012). Similarly, the disclosure of such corporate activities becomes an important part of corporate accountability (Gray et al., 1996; Deegan & Unerman, 2011). Although the origin of CSR disclosure is largely linked with the dawn of the modern corporation (Buhr, 2007), more systematic and standardized systems of CSR reporting only emerged in practice in the late 1980s and early 1990s (World Bank, 2004: 11). Over the last two decades, there has been substantial improvement in the number of companies around the world publishing such kind of non-financial reports, although these remain largely voluntary (KPMG, 2008, 2011). Japan is one of the leading countries in the world in CSR reporting (MOE & JICPA, 2007). According to the KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011, 99% of Japanese companies report on their impacts on society and environment.

Mohobbot Ali, Mohammad Badrul Haider, Mohammad Tazul Islam

8. Global Compact Corporations in Japan and Their Reporting: Trends and Issues

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact has expanded throughout the world, providing global standards for sustainable and responsible reporting. It is considered to be one of the prime organizations in the world to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially among multinational corporations. Its principles can be understood as soft laws which bind the activities of businesses around the world. The UN Global Compact itself is a unit within the United Nations (UN) in New York, but it has many local organizations to promote its principles and activities at the country level. In Japan, the Global Compact Japan Network, hereafter referred to as GC-JN, is the organization established as the local network.

Mari Kondo

9. Assurance in Sustainability Reporting: Evidence from Japan

The last two decades have witnessed significant improvement in sustainability reporting (SR) around the world (KPMG, 2013). While accountability to the external stakeholders should be the basic premise of SR, a number of observers have criticized the credibility and completeness of such reporting to ensure transparency and accountability (O’Dwyer & Owen, 2005; Adams, 2004; Adams & Evans, 2004). SR is observed as an important tool to manage the powerful stakeholders and ensure corporate legitimacy (Deegan & Unerman, 2011). The provision of assurance1 in SR can enhance the credibility of reporting and thereby can ensure the accountability and transparency to the stakeholders (Dando & Swift, 2003). In fact, there has been a steady increase in third-party assurance in SR in the last ten years. While in 2002, only 29% of leading global companies had purchased such assurance service, the adoption rate was increased to 59% in 2013 (KPMG, 20132).

Mohammad Badrul Haider, Katsuhiko Kokubu

10. The Growing Acceptance of Global Standards by Japanese Companies and Its Implication in Terms of Disclosure

Modern Japan was built on a strong linkage between government, business and society. But it did not proceed without fight, claims or revolts, as exemplified by the history of peasants and industrial workers’ protests, the rise of environmentalist movements and the instability of the business and political system for long periods of time. The Japanese economic and business system, including the employment relations framework, is the result of an interaction between interests and ideologies that sometimes clashed and sometimes compromised in specific political, social and economic contexts. Ideas about the roles of business in society and the concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) that have emerged and evolved in Japan since the Edo period derive from these complex influences.

Philippe Debroux

11. Corporate Social Disclosure Practices in Japanese Corporations: The Case of Meiko Electronics

Japan is regarded for a high degree of accuracy in corporate social disclosure (CSD) practices among its corporations. However, concerns have been raised about the practices of Japanese companies in the electronics industry, particularly among suppliers of Apple Inc. This chapter aims at analyzing CSD practices in Japan by looking at a Japanese corporation that has operations in China — Meiko Electronics Company Limited. This company was selected since some environmental problems at Meiko have been investigated. This chapter uses content analysis to compare the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental practices of the company (disclosed in Meiko’s CSR reports and website) with the perceptions of stakeholders on these practices. Public data in three languages, Chinese, English and Japanese, are analyzed and interpreted. The chapter aims to analyze the factors that influence a Japanese corporation’s CSR policies and decisions on disclosure, specifically on environmental issues. The chapter also addresses the following questions: How and in what ways do stakeholders influence the company’s CSR practices and disclosure? Are there any gaps between Meiko’s CSR disclosures and the perceptions of its stakeholders on social and environmental matters? Does Meiko’s CSD comply with CSR reporting standards?

Gustavo Tanaka

12. Corporate Social Disclosure in China and Japan: Concluding Remarks

This book provides the readers with the latest observations of corporate social disclosure (CSD) in China and Japan, covering various issues such as disclosure trends, labor matters, product safety, state-owned enterprises, contentious industries, global corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards and organizations, and CSR audit and assurance. Through critical analyses, performance-disclosure gaps have been identified in some industries in China (e.g. Chapters 3 and 4) and Japan (e.g. Chapter 11). Furthermore, the CSD practices, from a more macro perspective, as influenced by the social, economic and political environment in China (e.g. Chapters 2 and 5) and Japan (e.g. Chapter 10) have also been surveyed. By this exercise, it is hoped that a modest contribution has been made to the research arena of CSR and CSD in China and Japan, especially to that of the former, the strongest developing country of all.

Carlos Noronha

Backmatter

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