Tue, Dec 24, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Social responsibility as incentive

By Chan Shun-kuei 詹順貴

The previously quoted figures demonstrate the extent to which land is being eaten away, whether it is expansive tracts swallowed up by expanded urban development, or smaller areas ebbed away to build industrial zones, technology parks and village-style housing projects. At the same time, the current extent of industrial pollution shows that not only land, but the nation’s future prospects are being eaten away — especially during talks about climate change and food security.

If the Cabinet wants to clamber out of its current dismal confidence ratings, it will have to become more responsive to public opinion.

First, it will have to curb all the runaway urban plans claiming to be about construction and development, but have more to do with land speculation.

Second, it will need to help persuade businesses to focus attention on local communities and behave as members of society willing to exist and prosper alongside everyone else.

The right guidance strategy for government to adopt is to provide tax incentives and subsidies and demand that businesses fulfill their social responsibilities. Social responsibility should be a precondition for companies to recieve tax incentives and subsidies.

These conditions have long been outlined in the Corporate Social Responsibility Best Practice Principles for TWSE/GTSM-Listed Companies (上市上櫃公司企業社會責任實務守則). These principles could be raised to the level of an enforceable law and applied more broadly to companies in general, according to various levels of responsibility. Companies could then be subject to unscheduled annual inspections, the results of which would determine their eligibility to enjoy tax incentives and subsidies in the following year.

Chan Shun-kuei is a lawyer and chairman of the Environmental Jurists Association.

Translated by Julian Clegg

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