IV. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights
B. Actions taken
- Greater information transparency (page 13)
‘Since 2014, the Taiwan government has used legislation to require listed companies matching a certain description to prepare a CSR report each year, and as of 2020 our government — making reference to the non-financial disclosure rules and practices of financial markets around the world — has included environmental, climate change, social, and corporate governance matters in its disclosure requirements in order to ensure that the key performance indicators in non-financial disclosure are more closely linked to the way a company is managed.
At the same time, the Taiwan government has also provided businesses with the tools and guidance needed to implement their CSR policies, and has continually conducted outreach activities to encourage businesses to: voluntarily prepare annual CSR reports; disclose their human rights policies, human rights assessment methods, and supplier risks; and establish internal grievance channels.’
‘In response to the Taiwan government’s call for companies matching a certain description to prepare a CSR report each year, many private groups and organizations have also begun to assess the quality of CSR reports. For example: (a) A well-known magazine that has adopted the IFRS reporting standards carries out annual assessments of the quality of company CSR reports and presents awards to recognize the best ones. (b) There is a private think tank that collaborates with academia to issue the Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Awards each year, encourage the public to accept volunteer training and participate in the evaluation of enterprise sustainability reports and ESG comprehensive performance, spur enterprises to improve information transparency. Also, in response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our government has set up a number of corporate excellence awards to recognize strong performance in such areas as transparency and business ethics, gender equality, and talent development. The purpose is to get companies to strengthen disclosure of non-financial information and implement human rights policies.’
This information is also covered under Appendix 4: Overview of the implementation of the state duty to protect and the access to remedy, The state duty to protect, UNGP3, Actions taken (page 42).
C. Actions planned
- Advocate for disclosure of non-financial information (pages 14-15)
‘[…] the Taiwan government will also advocate for disclosure by businesses of non-financial information (related issues will include important environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics — such as the use of consumer information, the use of energy, waste handling, labor conditions, environmental protection, forced evictions, indigenous land rights, gender equality, and consumer protection measures — all of which are matters of concern to stakeholders). The goal of such a policy would be to ensure that businesses understand that the disclosure of non-financial information can make up for the shortcomings of financial information, thus enabling businesses to effectively identify and manage risks […].’
This information is also covered under Appendix 4: Overview of the implementation of the state duty to protect and the access to remedy, The state duty to protect, UNGP3, Actions planned (page 43).
Appendix 1: Concrete actions taken by Taiwan to fulfill the state obligation to protect
- Promotion of corporate social responsibility (pages 26-27)
‘The government may incorporate legally binding non-financial reporting requirements to ensure that companies conduct human rights due diligence. Article 10, subsection 4, item E of the “Regulations Governing Information to be Published in Annual Reports of Public Companies” provides that corporate governance reports shall address CSR elements, such as environmental protection, community participation, social contribution, social services & welfare, consumer rights, human rights, and health & safety.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) has issued the “Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation Rules Governing the Preparation and Filing of Corporate Social Responsibility Reports by TWSE Listed Companies,” and the Taipei Exchange (TPEx) has issued the “Taipei Exchange Rules Governing the Preparation and Filing of Corporate Social Responsibility Reports by TPEx Listed Companies.” If a listed company is in any of the following circumstances, it shall prepare and file a corporate social responsibility report in Chinese according to these Rules: (a) the company is in the food industry, chemical industry, or financial industry; (b) no less than 50 percent of the company’s total operating revenue is derived from food and beverages; or (c) the company’s capital stock is not less than NT$5 billion. A listed company to which the above descriptions apply shall prepare a corporate social responsibility report for the preceding year, making reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and the Sector Disclosure documents issued by the GRI.
The MOEA’s Small and Medium Enterprise Administration has issued the “Principles for Registration of Social Innovation Organizations.” This document calls upon social innovation enterprises to disclose their organizational goals and social missions, and to state how they coincide with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and/or Taiwan’s efforts regarding social issues.
To strengthen corporate governance, the TWSE and the TPEx have issued several codes of best practice, including the following:
“Corporate Social Responsibility Best Practice Principles for TWSE/GTSM Listed Companies”: Listed companies are expected to implement CSR measures to manage their economic and environmental risks and impacts.
“Ethical Corporate Management Best Practice Principles for TWSE/GTSM Listed Companies “: Listed corporations are required to establish a corporate culture built upon good management and integrity. Corporations shall also consider the background of their suppliers. Corporations are expected to act with high integrity.’
Appendix 2: Concrete actions taken by Taiwan to ensure respect by businesses for human rights
- In order to strengthen enterprises’ CSR implementation and enhance human rights awareness, the Taiwanese government and civil society have implemented a number of support measures, including the following: (page 34)
‘…Taiwan’s Asustek Computer, Acer Corporation, Hon Hai Technology, HTC, and TSMC are all members of the Responsible Business Alliance and follow the “Responsible Business Alliance Code of Conduct” to strengthen the management of supply chains.
Asustek, Acer, HTC, and TSMC are also members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative, which helps firms manage issues related to conflict minerals. This includes assistance in due diligence efforts.’
This information is also covered under Appendix 4, Overview of the implementation of the state duty to protect and the access to remedy, The state duty to protect, UNGP7, Actions taken (page 46).