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The 16th International Conference on CSR Reporting held in Beijing

2023-12-18GoldenBeeLi Yiping0

·  The comprehensive index of CSR reporting in 2023 reaches 1,394 points, remaining at a historical high.
·  The report quality of enterprises of different ownerships shows an overall upward trend, of which central SOEs remains at the highest level, and the gap between the report quality of enterprises of different ownerships has been narrowing.
· The number of reports from growing enterprises has increased significantly, but the report quality of leading enterprises is higher.
· More Chinese enterprises use international standards as a reference for report preparation.

On December 8, the 16th International Conference on CSR Reporting in China co-hosted by the China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD) and the GoldenBee ThinkTank was convened in Beijing.
The conference was strongly supported by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the China Association of Fragrance Flavour and Cosmetic Industries (CAFFCI), the China Nuclear Safety and Environmental Culture Promotion Association, the Enterprise Management Publishing House, the TÜVNORD and the GoldenBee Consulting. Guests conducted in-depth discussions on topics including the latest trend of global CSR information disclosure, finding ways to corporate responsibility communication, and exploring the value of CSR reporting. The GoldenBee CSR Report Assessment System and the GoldenBee 2023 CSR Report Honor Roll were released at the same time.
[Trend] New Requirements for CSR Information Disclosure
As the global economy enters a new phase of green recovery, CSR information disclosure ushers in new changes. It is of great epoch-marking significance for enterprises to timely adjust their strategies for CSR information disclosure. The messages conveyed on the conference reveal that global sustainablility disclosure is moving towards a consistent and rational direction, making it a mainstream to promote high-quality reporting of sustainability-related information.
Mr. Zhai Qi, Executive Secretary-General, China Business Council for Sustainable Development
Mr. Zhai Qi pointed out in his welcoming address that stakeholders' increasing concerns on sustainability disclosure poses higher requirements for internal corporate governance, the overall performance of sustainable development of Chinese enterprises is characterized by a steady growth, and the development of corporate sustainability disclosure system is steadily enhanced.
Ms. Yan Jiangying, Chairman, China Association of Fragrance Flavour and Cosmetic Industry
Ms. Yan Jiangying shared the ESG information disclosure practices in fragrance flavor and cosmetic industries in China and pointed out that public ESG disclosure could not only help enterprises receive external supervision, but also enhance the communication and cooperation with stakeholders to improve the social image and reputation of enterprises and further promote the high-quality development of the industry.
As a key result of the conference, the GoldenBee Research on CSR Reporting in China 2023 shows the vigorous momentum of Chinese enterprises to move up and move towards goodness.
GoldenBee Consulting conducted a systematic analysis of 2,407 CSR reports included in the assessment and found the following characteristics:
· Since 2009, the average score of the report has exceeded 60 for the first time, marking that the overall level of the CSR report has entered a new stage of "catching-up" stage from the development stage.
· The readability of disclosed information in the report is very impressive, but the innovativeness is slightly insufficient, and there are few differences in completeness, comparability and materiality indices.
· On the whole, the report quality is rising. The report quality of central SOEs remains the highest, and the gap in the report quality of enterprises of different ownerships is narrowing.
· The number of reports from growing enterprises has increased significantly, reaching the development stage, while the report quality of leading enterprises is higher, entering the stage of “catching up”.
· The reports become more internationalized, and more Chinese enterprises use international standards as a reference for report preparation to publish reports in both Chinese and English.
· Industries including transportation as well as production and supply for electricity, coal, water and gas particularly highlighted risks and opportunities arising from external changes, as well as information disclosure on relevant countermeasures.
· The reporting index of industries including production and supply for electricity, coal, water and gas maintains a leading position, the reporting index of construction and transportation industries has increased, and the reporting index of the real estate and the financial and insurance industry has dropped significantly.

Accordingly, the Research offers suggestions for enterprises from the dimensions of embracing opportunities, synergy on governance, strategy integration, risk response, and quantitative assessment:
1) enterprises should actively take ESG as a common language for communication and collaboration around the world;
2) giving full play to the supervisory and control role of the governing body in ESG matters;
3) promoting the integration of ESG into the corporate development strategy  at a high level and carry it through the decision-making mechanism and the daily operation of enterprises;
4) focusing on reflecting ESG-related major risks, opportunities, difficulties, and challenges faced by enterprises;
5) setting reasonable ESG performance targets in accordance with actual conditions of enterprises and implementing the goal with targeted practices.
The latest trends from Europe and Japan, and insights from GoldenBee ThinkTank, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Enterprise Management Publishing House etc.show that with the enriching connotation of sustainable development issues, the stringent regulatory requirements and higher social expectations, there is a more evident trend of taking sustainability disclosure as financial information rather than non-financial information. It is becoming a global consensus and a part of common efforts to carry out more in-depth information disclosure and diversified communication on issues such as climate change and biodiversity, so as to improve the quality, transparency and digitalization of information disclosure and enhance the materiality of information disclosure on these issues.
[Focus] ESG, biodiversity, climate change, international standards

Breakout session I: Enhancing ESG Information Disclosure and Ratings
As a specialized and international platform in the field of CSR reporting, the forum stays closely aligned with contemporary issues. Focusing on topics such as ESG, biodiversity, climate change, international standards, etc., it invited experts, scholars, and corporate representatives from diverse fields for in-depth and professional discussions.
Breakout session II: Implementing Kunming-Montreal Target 15 and Promoting Biodiversity-related Disclosures

Biodiversity is a focal point of the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. During the forum on Implementing Kunming-Montreal Target 15 and Promoting Biodiversity-related Disclosures, representatives from professional institutions and international organizations shared observations and recommendations regarding the enhancement of biodiversity disclosure practices.
Breakout session III: The Emerging Value of Climate Information Disclosure

The carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals have raised higher demands for climate information disclosure by businesses, simultaneously presenting new opportunities. During the forum on "The Emerging Value of Climate Information Disclosure," representatives from professional research, rating agencies, and energy companies reached a consensus on the foundational role of climate information disclosure in advancing global climate governance.
Breakout session IV: Disclosure of Overseas Sustainability-related Information

Chinese CSR disclosures need to align with international standards. At the forum on "Disclosure of Overseas Sustainability-related Information", representatives from Chinese "going global" enterprises and professional institutions shared insights on practices and directions aimed at enhancing the influence of overseas responsibility communication.
[Benchmark] 99 CSR Reports Stood out

During the conference, the "2023 GoldenBee CSR Report Honor Roll" were released simultaneously. Among 2,407 assessed reports, 99 outstanding CSR reports from 96 companies stood out, earning distinctions such as "GoldenBee Leading Enterprise," "GoldenBee Growing Enterprise," "Foreign-Invested and Hongkong, Macao Enterprise" "First Time Report Award," along with disclosures on responsibilities concerning employees, customers, community, suppliers, and innovative information disclosure. They received honors for "Innovative Information Disclosure Award," "Specialized Reports Award," and the "Evergreen Award."
As one of the earliest professional initiatives in China focusing on social responsibility information disclosure within the realm of CSR and sustainable development, the "GoldenBee CSR Report Honor Roll" selection has assessed over 20,000 reports. Over 1,000 reports from more than 300 companies made the list. It serves as a comprehensive platform showcasing outstanding CSR reports and fostering professionalism among enterprises. It has significantly propelled the improvement in both the quantity and quality of CSR reports in China.
The International Conference on CSR Reporting in China is one of China's earliest and top-tier professional exchange platform  dedicated to collective discussion and collaboration on CSR information disclosure. It stands as a crucial window for the compilation and disclosure of CSR reports by Chinese enterprises.
Over the past 16 years, the conference has adhered to the principle of 'Responsibility Communication Creates Value,' consistently releasing studies on Chinese CSR reports. Emphasizing professionalism and internationality, it explores topics and trends related to social responsibility reports in standards, compilation, management, and dissemination. Through firsthand experience and observation, it actively drives the enhancement of high-quality CSR reports. It plays a pivotal role in assisting companies to elevate the quality and level of information disclosure, fostering transparency, and innovating stakeholder communication.
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