At the occasion of ACER’s forum on corporate social responsibility, taking place on December 16 and 17 in Longtan, 12 Taiwanese environmental organisations vent their criticism of Acer’s performance with a press release titled “Pollution at this End, Greenwash on the Other End. Expose Acer’s Disguise of CSR”.
“To outperform the other brand names in the EU/America market, Acer, the world’s No. 3 vendor, has masqueraded as an environmental leader by sponsoring an international forum on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Aspire Park of Longtan, on December 16 and 17, 2008. The preparations for this forum has been underway for quite a while and the invitations have been sent to Acer’s suppliers in Taiwan and abroad as well as to its investor groups. Among the invited guests, it is worth noting that Greenpeace, the renowned international environmental organization, has received an invitation a couple months ago with much pomp and circumstance. Interestingly, however, local environmental organizations and residents in the local communities who have suffered from the pollutions produced by Acer’s suppliers—the genuine victims of health risks—have been left off of the guest list. The registration was open to the public on December 10, just a few days before the event is scheduled to take place. According to the event organizer, the organizations/individuals who register to participate in the event will not be confirmed until December 12.
The Taiwan Environmental Action Network and other environmental organizations will host a press conference, “3 Questions for Acer: Expose Acer’s Disguise of CSR” in front of the Acer HQ at 10 am on Monday, December 15. These organizations and the local victims will, through performance and skits, expose the real truth and irony behind Acer’s statement that “At Acer, we liken the relationships within the supply chain to those of a community.”
The local environmental organizations point out that, over the years Acer has transformed itself from a manufacturer into a company that focuses on the global marketing of a brand name. However, it does not mean that Acer is not accountable for the environmental pollutions and social responsibility caused by electronic/IT production. The CSR (corporate social responsibility) standard defined and advocated by the international environmental, labor, and consumer organizations requires that brand-name corporations not only publicize information pertaining to their supply chains for accountability by stakeholders, but also to ensure the process of production is in compliance with principles of environmental and labor justice.
As a leader in the electronics industry, Acer has branded itself as a corporation with CSR. Unfortunately, numerous incidents of electronic pollution and social injustice in Taiwan have all been linked to Acer’s supply chain, thus with Acer. For example, Shiao-Li River in Hsinchu County has been seriously contaminated by wastewater discharged from AUO and CPT, both of which are prominent companies in Acer’s supply chains. Acer is the second largest client of AUO and a large client of CPT. Acer is the 3rd largest shareholder of Qisda, owning a 4.2% stake in the company. Qisda and AUO are mutually the largest shareholders of each other. In the Shiao-Li River pollution incident, the Control Yuen, a legislative body of the central government that has been charged to regulate and audit governmental agencies, issued a corrective measure against AUO and CPT. The Control Yuen confiscated the two companies’ permits for wastewater discharge, which have originally been allocated to the two companies by the Environmental Protection Bureau of Taoyuen County and the Water Resource Agency of Ministry of Economic Affairs.
We demand Acer not to turn its eyes away from the wrongdoings of its suppliers. Furthermore, AUO＇s plan to expand its operation in the Central Taiwan Science Park is another example of social injustice. In its interest to expand, AUO has completely ignored the rights of local farmers to local land and water resources. To be a true model of CSR, Acer cannot and must not treat incidents like these with indifference.
The local environmental organizations emphasize that Acer should take responsibility for the pollutions brought by Acer’s supply chains and the production process.
Therefore, they have three questions related to CSR for Acer:
1 – For how long will Acer’s suppliers continue to pollute Taiwan?
2 – Is meeting the environmental regulatory requirements equal to zero-pollution? And how long will this false claim continue?
3 – When will Acer follow the example of HP to disclose its production process and supply chains?
By engaging with AUO and CPT, Acer shares the same responsibility as its suppliers in the creation of electronic poison and environmental refugees in Taiwan. If Acer makes no distinction between itself and its suppliers as stated in its CSR policies, it should by all means be held accountable for the environmental and social injustices caused by its suppliers.
In order to ensure the IT-industry in Taiwan is held fully accountable to the CSR principles, we, the under signers, will continue to monitor IT corporations in the future. We will be at Aspire Park tomorrow, December 16, with a mission to enlighten Acer about the true meaning of CSR.
Taiwan Environmental Action Network Association
Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan
Green Citizens’ Action Alliance
Hsin-Chu City Environmental Protect Association
Taiwan Environmental Protection Union- Changhua Division
Wild at Heart Defense Association
Taiwan Academy of Ecology
Houli Township Agriculture & Environmental Protection Association
Green Party Taiwan
Taiwan Watch Institute
Green Formosa Front Association
Taiwan Friends of the Global Greens.”