The Sustainability Management Research Centre (SMRC) in the Department of Management and Marketing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today (14 February) announces the results of the 4th Hong Kong SME Business Sustainability Index (HKSMEBSI).
The Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) and Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) are the project’s strategic partners. The overall average score of the 33 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the 4th HKSMEBSI is 66.02 (out of 100 points), an increase of 3.2% compared with that of 3rd HKSMEBSI announced in 2014, and up 13.2% compared with the 1st HKSMEBSI launched in 2012.
Representatives of the 33 indexed SMEs were also presented Certificates of Recognition at the Announcement and Recognition Ceremony staged today. Officiating at the ceremony were Dr Christine Loh Kung-wai, JP, Under Secretary of Environment Bureau of HKSAR Government, Dr Miranda Lou, Vice President (Administration and Business) of PolyU, Professor Edwin Cheng, Dean of Faculty of Business of PolyU, Mr Cliff Choi, Business Director (Public Engagement & Partnership) of HKCSS, Mr Clement Li, General Manager (Management Consulting) of HKPC, and Dr Edward Lam, President of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Development Federation.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr Miranda Lou said, “PolyU is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, and over the years, we have been committed to promoting sustainable development, which includes providing support in the areas of research, teaching and assisting the industrial and commercial sectors. One of the key missions of our Faculty of Business is to nurture corporate management talents with a sense of social responsibility.”
Professor Carlos Lo, Director of SMRC, explained that HKSMEBSI aims at promoting the understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a management model for SMEs to achieve business sustainability. For the compilation of HKSMEBSI since its launch in 2012, companies selected from different CSR awards in Hong Kong have been invited to complete an online assessment questionnaire concerning their CSR performance for the preceding year. For the 4th HKSMEBSI, the assessment was based on the 2015 data provided by the companies.
The unique “Values – Process – Impact” (VPI) model developed by SMRC is used in the assessment scheme, which assesses the performance of each company in three major areas, namely CSR values, CSR process (comprising CSR management and practices) and CSR impact, as well as the company’s contributions to economic, social and environmental sustainability.
While the overall average score of the 4th HKSMEBSI was 66.02 points, the standard deviation was 24.34, reflecting a huge gap between the top and bottom performers. A total of 10 companies scored over 70 points, reaching the “Follower” level, whereas only 6 companies achieved this similar rank last year. Analyzing the company data for the 4 rounds from 2011 to 2015, there was an improvement of 13.24% in the overall average score. This indicates that local SMEs have progressed from the “Beginner” stage to the “Performer” stage of business sustainability performance over the past 5 years. As for the top 10 HKSMEBSI companies, the mean score was 88.81 in this compilation, maintaining the “Achiever” level in business sustainability. The top three companies scored over 90 points, reflecting that they have reached the “Pace-setter” level.
Most worthy of attention is the overall average score for “Process – Management” of business sustainability which has increased from 53.37 points in the first round to 66.45 points in the current compilation, up 24.5%. This indicates that that SMEs have started to take CSR planning more seriously, making it more effective for them to translate their CSR beliefs into practice. Similar to previous years, “Impact” is still the weakest aspect, with an average score of 57.4 points only.
Professor Lo said that the progressive improvement of SMEs in CSR and business sustainability as reflected in the index over the past 5 years has been encouraging although the gap between the top and bottom performers remained huge. He further pointed out that given the total number of SMEs in Hong Kong exceeds 320,000, the number of SMEs active in CSR is still limited, and the top CSR and business sustainability performers are still confined to a small pool. It is necessary for SMEs to undergo a long journey in sustaining their effort to promote CSR and achieving business sustainability. Individual SMEs must not only continuously improve their knowledge and understanding of CSR management and practice, but also maintain long-term dedication and commitment to CSR. The compilation and announcement of the HKSMEBSI serves to encourage the entire SME sector to pay serious attention to the commercial and social benefits of CSR. On the basis of this assessment, SMRC have been making constructive suggestions to individual SMEs for continuous improvement so as to boost their confidence and enhance their capacity to pursue sustainable development.
Established since 2014, the “Sustainability Management Research Centre” has been dedicated to the promotion and advancement of CSR and business sustainability through research as well as joining forces with different sectors to assist business in the pursuit of sustainable development. In addition to compiling the business sustainability index for Hong Kong SMEs, SMRC also compiles and announces the “Hong Kong Business Sustainability Index” targeting the 50 Hang Seng Index Constituent companies on an annual basis. The objective is to inform timely both the local and the international business communities the on-going development and performance of the Hang Seng’s constituent companies on business sustainability.
Press Contact: Professor Carlos W.H. Lo
Dr Brenda Y.W. LEE WONG
Department of Management and Marketing
Faculty of Business, PolyU
Telephone: (852) 2766 7347