Chinese CSR Report Rating-Symbolic or Substantial?

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This case study examines the nature of the Chinese Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report Rating, a local CSR-related practice recently developed and provided by a government-affiliated research institution. The past decade has witnessed the rapid growth of CSR reporting in China and the development of the CSR Report Rating. However, the extant literature remains inconclusive regarding (1) whether the Rating can effectively enhance the credibility of CSR reports and (2) why Chinese companies, particularly State-owned Enterprises (SOEs), prefer the Rating. This paper fills the research gaps through an engagement-based case study. Evidence collected for the case study includes interview data and documents. A key finding is the symbolic nature of the Chinese CSR Report Rating. It is more like an extension or a “variant” of CSR consulting, a mechanism for companies’ CSR strategy, and a business image enhancement tool, rather than an alternative to CSR assurance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-55
JournalJapan Forum of Business and Society Annals
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2021


  • Chinese CSR Report Rating
  • CSR reporting
  • CSR assurance
  • China
  • Case study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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