During recent years, environmental performance and report have become tools for self-improvement and management by corporations and organizations. Before the 1990s, there is hardly any publicized corporate environmental reports (CER) by enterprises, or inclusion of environmental-related information in annual reports, due to fear of negative feedback by the public. As corporate transparency has become the international norm today, corporations aim to enhance corporate image through publicized information to reduce public concerns. Since 1992, publication of corporate environmental reports has greatly increased. A 1999 survey shows there are approximately 1,000 enterprise environmental reports, reaching 1,500 to-date globally, mostly from England, USA, Japan and Germany. Industry-specific analysis shows chemical, electrical power, oil and gas industries are the most active in publishing CER. Countries of Australia, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Holland, and England have already passed legislations, demanding regular publicized environment-related enterprise information and reports.
As environmental, social and economic aspects have become goals of the corporate sustainable development, CER is gradually branching out to social and economic aspects to be corporate sustainability report (CSR), and enterprises mainly publish CER as in 2002. Up until 2005, CSR is already the norm for public enterprise reports. And in the survey by KPMG, the proportion of CER/CSR through third party audit is about 1/4. Many investment-consulting companies abroad even include enterprise environmental protection information as a required category for investment consideration as well as the indicator for enterprise performance.*
In Taiwan, publication and development of environmental and sustainability reports still rest in initial stage, mostly supported and publicized by association or consulting units. According to statistics, there are about 50 to 60 enterprises (including those not open to the public) that are compiling environmental reports. Due to the unpopularity of publishing enterprise reports, our Foundation aims to focus on this issue and promote publication of sustainability reports by domestic enterprises.
*“Status and Trend of Public Environmental Reports of Enterprises at Home and Abroad” by Kao, cheng-chung and all. “Studies of Promotion and Current Status of Sustainability Reports by Taiwanese Enterprises” by Hu, Hsien-Lun and all.