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SME efficacy Index launched
By Emma An
Published: Feb 22 2012 10:14
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Hong Kong launched its first index to measure small and medium sized enterprises (SME) performances with regard to their commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, which experts believe will benefit both the society and businesses.

The Hong Kong SME Business Sustainability Index, jointly conducted by the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, assesses the business sustainability performance of 40 local SMEs based on six indicators, namely employees, customers, investors, suppliers, community and the environment.

According to Agnes Mak, Executive Director of HKPC, the index aims to provide a performance indicator and a CSR benchmark for businesses.

“By practicing corporate social responsibility, SMEs can achieve the most important goal of business sustainability, namely enhanced competitiveness through better resource utilization, building up good relations with stakeholders, adding value to products and services, strengthening corporate image, and raising the confidence of banks and investors,” said Mak.

The index average score came in at 58.3 on a 100-point scale, signaling that local SMEs are still “in the initial stage of business responsibility”, according to the index report.

The manufacturing sector scored an average of 64.72, showing that the sector has implemented some sustainability initiatives. The service sector scored 55.86, indicating that the sector is still at the beginner level.

Helene Li, co-founder and chairperson of Future Enterprise Foundation, welcomed the index’s launch, saying that it will help raise awareness of CSR and business sustainability among SMEs.

CSR initiative, which involves taking responsibility for the company’s impact on the environment and social welfare, “may not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company”, said Li.

But there are many non-monetary benefits such as reinforced corporate images, Li added.

Billy Mak, associate professor of Finance and Decision Sciences at Hong Kong Baptist University, believed that the index should encourage SMEs to learn from the best and devote more time and money to sustainability programs.

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