The government has been urged to introduce regulations and incentives to encourage corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises, after a recent survey found government was low on a list of factors motivating companies to be more socially responsible. Polytechnic University and the Productivity Council surveyed 134 SMEs that have won awards for their achievements in corporate social responsibility, identifying factors driving companies' adoption of corporate social responsibility measures. The study found management was an important driver, with 84 per cent of respondents saying senior management was behind implementation of such practices. About 83 per cent said perceived approval by customers was a driver, followed by employees (79), shareholders (75), government factors (74) and the mass media (68). 'Right now, the government is still weak in advocating [corporate social responsibility] among the SMEs,' Professor Carlos Lo Wing-hung, who started the survey about six months ago, said. 'The government should do more than just tell the SMEs that they should have corporate social responsibility. It should motivate them by giving them some incentives or having some regulations,' the PolyU management and marketing department professor said. 'It can use the carrot and stick approach.' Corporate social responsibility is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with investors, employees and customers. As an example of government incentives, Lo said mainland companies received tax incentives if they adopted certain corporate social responsibility practices, and some companies were required to publish corporate social responsibility reports. 'In Hong Kong, SMEs think [corporate social responsibility] is only valid for the big companies,' Lo said. 'But companies can benefit from shouldering such responsibilities.' The study found companies believed practising corporate social responsibility would boost customer satisfaction most, followed by corporate reputation, employee commitment and financial performance. Based on the survey results, the university and the council developed a 'Hong Kong SME CSR index' to indicate the level of corporate social responsibility practised by companies, with 100 being the top score. The overall survey average was 76. Lo said the companies in his first survey were strong performers, but a more representative survey of Hong Kong SMEs would most likely produce an average below 50 because they had just started learning about corporate social responsibility. The general manager of business management at the Productivity Training Institute, Raymond Cheng Wai-man, said Lo's survey would become a benchmark for future studies. A larger survey of 800 to 1,000 SMEs would be conducted later this year. Enterprises in the toy industry scored the highest on Lo's index, 81, followed by those in the plastics, trading and garment sectors. Companies in the jewellery and financial services sectors had the lowest score - 61.