SINGAPORE- Media OutReach - 7 October 2020 - A total of 81 projects and business leaders across Asia were selected as recipients of the Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards 2020 (AREA), which was an increase of 27% from last year. Widely regarded as the gold standard for CSR and sustainability practice, this year's award ceremony was organized virtually due to the unprecedented global healthcare crisis. A diversity of industries and leading organizations from all over the region received the AREA, demonstrating a continued dedication to responsible business practices despite the pandemic.
Organized by Enterprise Asia, the leading non-governmental organization for responsible entrepreneurship in Asia, the AREA aims to recognize and honor Asian businesses and leaders for championing sustainable and socially responsible business practices. The award categories are Social Empowerment, Investment in People, Health Promotion, Green Leadership, Corporate Governance, Circular Economy Leadership and Responsible Business Leadership. Through the award ceremony, this unique opportunity has provided over 600 attendees to interconnect and celebrate virtually.
SOGO was established in 1987 and joined the Far Eastern Group in 2002. The Company actively develops digital marketing and omnichannel platform as its operational goals, hoping to meet the needs of customers to keep up with the rise of diversified retail malls, e-commerce and mobile consumption.
New Era of Tableware
Disposable tableware has been a convenient and affordable choice for food services. However, cups, plates, bowls and other utensils made from paper, plastic or styrofoam has a negative impact on the environment. In Taiwan, 60,000 tons of disposable tableware are consumed each year and throughout the process of manufacturing and disposing of these tableware, natural resources are continually depleted and the burden of waste management increases, causing serious damage to the environment overtime.
Well-Being of Employees and Community to Create Happiness
Employees are invaluable assets and enterprises must provide happy workplaces to ensure employees' health and well-being are being looked after. Many enterprises primarily focuses on providing training for employees to improve their professional skill but Pacific SOGO Department Stores Co., Ltd. discovered that employees' mental stress is closely related to their work performance. Therefore, the Company is committed in providing mental development training, guaranteeing well-being of employees', creating safe workplaces and hiring professional instructors to design health management programs.
Both CSR programs corresponds to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Raising Awareness on Global Warming
The Company launched the project by targeting to change consumers' behaviour on tableware consumption, to ultimately encourage consumers' to abandon disposable tableware, to reduce waste and to relieve Mother Earth's environmental burden. In order to achieve that, in 2017, melamine tableware were disposed in food courts, restaurants and staff canteens while imposing a ban on disposable tableware for dine-in customers. To further encourage this project, the Company invites customers to join "Zero Waste Eating" by encouraging customers' to bring their own tableware to leave as little waste behind as possible. Additionally, in May of 2019, the Company imposed a ban on plastic straws and also stopped providing disposable utensils for take-away customers'.
Well-Being for Greater Happiness
The Company focuses on workplace safety, healthcare, mental development and employee benefits. With this framework, the Company ensures that the well-being of their employees and the community is being looked after. Moreover, through persistent and rigorous safety checks with in-depth employee training, the Company creates a safe and happy workplace for employees to better provide high-quality service. The Company has long promoted comprehensive workplace safety and the Company even held an "AED & CPR First Aid Training" that was participated by thousands of people. To add on to that, the Company received the Exercise Enterprise Certification Award by prioritizing healthcare, in which they hired professional fitness instructors to design health management programs and provide personal training. Not only that, the Company also arranges different courses on a quarterly basis to fulfill employees' mental needs and as for employee benefits, the Company would have domestic and international trips to show gratitude to their employees.
Achievements and Impact
In an attempt to increase the awareness of global warming, recycling and reusing, the Company fully banned disposable tableware for both dine-ins and take-away, reducing 200 tons of waste annually. An estimated 4.5 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are consumed annually in Taiwan and with a total length exceeding 20 times of Earth's perimeter. Furthermore, the Company collaborates with the Environmental Protection Administration and non-governmental organizations to share their experience on banning disposable tableware. Moreover, the Company encourages customers' to bring eco-friendly bags by offering discounts, thus making every purchase as environmentally friendly as possible. In 2019, the supermarket in Zhongxiao Store saw a reduction in 55,000 plastic packages, a 88% reduction compared to 2018. With over 2 years of experience, the Company has helped retailers all over Taiwan to painlessly reduce waste and customer satisfaction survey shows that more than 88% of customers are highly satisfied with the "New Era of Tableware" project.
To enhance employees' well-being, the Company believes that a safe workplace is the foundation of business development and in 2019, the Company held 82 "AED & CPR First Aid Trainings" which was participated by over thousands, thus receiving the "Safe Location Certification". To add on to that, the Company is the first retailer in Taiwan to provide on-site healthcare service while further benefiting the community by inviting residents to screen for four major cancers. The Company received numerous awards for their workplace safety, including the first among other departmental stores to receive the "Occupational Safety Award" for seven consecutive years, the only departmental store recommended by Taipei City Government to receive the national award of "Outstanding Occupational Safety and Health Entities" and the first to receive the "Exercise Enterprise Certification Award".
Being the leading departmental store in Taiwan for over 33 years, the Company believes that they have the responsibility to set higher standards and to continuously increase public awareness on global warming, recycling and reusing before any government intervention. Therefore, the Company puts itself in all stakeholders' shoes to come up with various ideas for the betterment of the society, customers, employees, vendors and the Company itself. As far as the Company is concerned, establishing green departmental stores is as important as profiting and they are committed to reduce daily waste while also increasing customer acquisition. Additionally, the Company will make full use of their advantage to invite customers to participate in being environmentally friendly throughout their customer journey and continue to practice green and sustainable lifestyles.
Under the ongoing sustainability trend, the Company values the importance of professional empowerment training and career development. Moreover, employees and staff of partnering vendors have access to the healthcare services and the Company plans to cooperate with professional doctors, nutritionists, fitness instructors, and counseling psychologists to design personal health promotion plans according to each individual's health examination results. The Company will continue to extend the healthcare project to local communities and disadvantaged groups while enhancing healthcare education to create healthy and energetic communities.
About Enterprise Asia
Enterprise Asia is a non-governmental organization in pursuit of creating an Asia that is rich in entrepreneurship as an engine towards sustainable and progressive economic and social development within a world of economic equality. Its two pillars of existence are investment in people and responsible entrepreneurship. Enterprise Asia works with governments, NGOs and other organizations to promote competitiveness and entrepreneurial development, in uplifting the economic status of people across Asia and in ensuring a legacy of hope, innovation and courage for the future generation. For further information, visit www.enterpriseasia.org.
About Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards
The Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards program recognizes and honors Asian businesses for championing sustainable and responsible entrepreneurship in the categories of Green Leadership, Investment in People, Health Promotion, Social Empowerment, Corporate Governance, Circular Economy Leadership and Responsible Business Leadership. For more information, visit: https://enterpriseasia.org/area/.