The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) honored SynTao for its work on enhancing the quality of companies' SDG reporting. The recognition is for the Material and Quantitative Indicators (MQI) Reporting Guidelines and Database.


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The International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR), established in 1982 by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), launched the first edition of the “ISAR Honour" in 2018, which aims to raise awareness and facilitate dissemination of national and international best practices on sustainability and SDG reporting. This year UNCTAD received 33 applications from 15 countries, of which 7 were honored. 


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Established in 2005, SynTao is the leading CSR consultancy in China, focusing on CSR consulting, education and investment. SynTao's services cover CSR strategy and management, report coaching/writing, shareholder engagement, CSR project design, monitoring, and evaluation, etc. Since 2007, SynTao has analyzed CSR reports published in China and has released a serial report titled A Journey to Discover Value. This is one of the very first research regarding companies’ sustainability performance in China. Relevant data and analyses have been widely quoted in several pieces of research and media reports. Meanwhile, SynTao has established a report database (http://mqi.org.cn, MQI database) to collect sustainability reports published in China. 


Despite an increase in the number of reports published in recent years, we've noticed a lack of materiality in these reports. Companies are not effectively communicating their sustainability stories in ways that are relevant to diverse stakeholders. To help companies increase their reports' materiality, SynTao developed the MQI Reporting Guidelines (MQI Guidelines or the Guidelines). Launched in 2015, the Guidelines provide a set of well-chosen indicators to track corporate sustainability performance based on their CSR/sustainability/ESG reports. These indicators are industry-specific and can be grouped into five areas including economy, environment, society, labor, and product. Currently, MQI Guidelines covers 23 industries. The materiality of collected reports is regularly evaluated using MQI Guidelines. Based on the Guidelines and the database, SynTao has conducted materiality analysis on CSI 100, CSI 300, SOE CSR reports since 2017.  


Head of Research in SynTao, Zhang Hongfu said, “ In recent years, we have applied MQI Guidelines to evaluate the quality of disclosed information. It helps us get a better understanding of companies ‘sustainability performance. We hope companies can strike a balance between business performance and social performance through benchmarking against MQI Guidelines.”


MQI Guidelines and MQI database have also facilitated SynTao's sustainability advisory services, especially on reporting consultancy. The idea of quantitative indicators is in line with ESG disclosure rules that are more frequently encouraged or even required by stock exchanges. "SynTao provides high-quality ESG reporting and information disclosure services to Chinese companies listed worldwide. Besides MQI Guidelines, we also developed a host of other tools, such as Handbook for ESG reporting, to help companies understand ESG disclosure requirements and improve their ESG ratings. We conduct analysis on industries’ ESG data regularly and have published reports of finance, pharmaceutical, high-tech, internet, real estate industries”, said Liu Tao, partner of SynTao. 


SynTao is continuously updating the MQI database to make it more user-friendly and accessible. To date, the MQI database has collected over 13,000 CSR/sustainability/ESG reports released in China by around 4,000 companies. It is the largest of its kind in China. 


We would also want to extend our sincere gratitude to all our longtime partners: Center for Environmental Education and Communication, Ministry of Environment and Ecology of China, China National Business Daily, China Southern China Weekly, Oxfam Hong Kong, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Without their support, MQI could not have received this honor.