As one of the top universities in Korea, with 16 undergraduate colleges, 8 graduate schools, 67 affiliated research institutions and 8 affiliated hospitals, offering various degree and non-degree programs to more than 25,000 students, Wonkwang University tries to adhere to the highest standards of fairness and transparency in research and development activities, administrative affairs and academic management.
This case study is based on the 2015 Sustainability Report by Wonkwang University published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.
Winning public trust and respect by operating ethically and transparently is, for Wonkwang University, a prerequisite for sustainable development. In order to maintain the highest ethical standards in its operations Wonkwang University took action to:
- promote students’ ethical behavior through the Institute of Moral Education
- promote research integrity through the Research Ethics and Integrity Committee
- promote bioethics through the Bioethics Committee
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Wonkwang University has identified;
- How Wonkwang University proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Wonkwang University to maintain the highest ethical standards in its operations
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2015 Sustainability Report Wonkwang University identified a range of material issues, such as changes in financial conditions, quality of education, personnel (faculty and staff) recruitment, changes in conditions for education. Among these, maintaining the highest ethical standards in its operations stands out as a key material issue for Wonkwang University.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process s of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholder groups Wonkwang University engages with:
|Stakeholder Group||Method of engagement|
|· Official website
|· Faculty Council
· University Senate
· Operation committee
· Deans’ conference
· Academic affairs committee
· Satisfaction survey
· Regular/irregular meetings
· Training and support
· Joint safety inspection
|Governments||· Official announcement by email or mail and participation in meetings|
· Boot camp
· School newspaper and broadcast programs
· Student satisfaction survey
|Staff||· Labor union
· Regular/irregular meetings
|Local community||· Official website
· Press releases
· Corporate social contribution activity
· Meetings with locals
· Support for multicultural families
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
To identify and prioritize material issues, Wonkwang University conducted a survey among 935 stakeholders.
In its 2015 Sustainability Report Wonkwang University reports that it took the following actions for maintaining the highest ethical standards in its operations:
- Promoting students’ ethical behavior through the Institute of Moral Education
- [tweetthis]Wonkwang University’s Institute of Moral Education helps students build character and practice morality[/tweetthis], while also promoting the Morality Practice Certification and community service programs. Additionally, the university strives to prevent acts of academic dishonesty, such as cheating, impersonation and plagiarism. The Student Advisory Committee handles such incidents, strictly in accordance with regulations relating to student rewards and punishments.
- Promoting research integrity through the Research Ethics and Integrity Committee
- To prevent dishonesty in research, Wonkwang University establishes the Research Ethics and Integrity Committee when an act of dishonesty occurs. The Research Ethics and Integrity Committee:
- establishes institutions concerning research ethics and integrity
- receives and handles information on acts of dishonesty
- begins preliminary and main investigations
- protects informers and restores the honor of those investigated
- handles the results of verification of research integrity
- deals with issues the Chairman puts on the agenda
- Promoting bioethics through the Bioethics Committee
- Wonkwang University’s Bioethics Committee makes sure human dignity and values are respected in human subject research conducted at the university. The Bioethics Committee:
- reviews the ethical aspects and scientific feasibility of life science research proposals
- makes sure informed consent is obtained from human subjects and individuals providing samples
- promotes the protection of the safety and privacy of human subjects and individuals providing samples and genetic information
- handles urgent matters the Chairman puts on the agenda because of harm or concerns about possible harm to bioethics or safety
- deals with other matters required by laws and regulations
Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?
The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:
1) G4-56: Describe the organization’s values, principles, standards and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and codes of ethics – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 102-16 Values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior
2) G4-SO4: Communication and training on anti-corruption policies and procedures – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures
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1) This case study is based on published information by Wonkwang University, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:
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