PolyU announces the Fourth Hong Kong SME Business Sustainability Index
[Sponsored Article] The Sustainability Management Research Centre under the Department of Management and Marketing recently announced the results of the Fourth Hong Kong SME Business Sustainability Index. The Index was compiled with the support of The Hong Kong Council of Social Service and the Hong Kong Productivity Council, evaluating the performance of 33 SMEs selected from different corporate social responsibility (CSR) awards in Hong Kong. They were assessed particularly in CSR values, CSR process (comprising CSR management and practices) and CSR impact, as well as the companies’ contributions to economic, social and environmental sustainability.
The overall average score of the Index was 66.02 on a 100-point scale, up 3.2% compared with the third Index announced in 2014, and up 13.2% compared with the first Index announced in 2012. The results reflected the progressive improvement of SMEs in CSR and business sustainability over the past five years.
Representatives of the 33 indexed SMEs were presented Certificates of Recognition at the Announcement and Recognition Ceremony staged on PolyU campus. 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.
Professor Carlos Lo, Director of SMRC, explained that HKSMEBSI aims at promoting the understanding of CSR as a management model for SMEs to achieve business 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.