Acer is a hardware manufacturer headquartered in Taiwan. The company was founded in 1976, and its products are sold in 160 countries. Acer is known for its consumer products, including laptops, desktops and monitors. It has also expanded into the gaming market.
Through its Barrier Breakers programme, Acer partners with organisations that provide tech donations to reduce digital access barriers. Furthermore, the company partners with the Society to Create Awareness towards Life and Environment (SCALE) to provide computer labs in two Indian regions to advance inclusivity for women and girls. The company also integrates accessibility features into its products. Moreover, it reports how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders.
The Acer Digital Literacy Project provides seminars to parents to develop their digital literacy skills, which in turn also helps their children develop digital literacy. The company has also donated laptops to schoolchildren from low-income families. Additionally, Acer contributes to intermediate digital skills development as part of the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Trainer programme. The programme trains teachers to integrate Microsoft’s global technology and resources into their classrooms and lessons to better engage students.
Acer demonstrates best practice by providing information about high-level oversight of cybersecurity in the company and by reporting the number of data breaches it experiences. It also supports educational initiatives for child online safety with digital literacy courses that touch on issues such as healthy use of the internet, cyberbullying and information security.
Acer has a high-level commitment to open source initiatives, supported by a range of open source projects, including a project to develop paperless tickets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Acer Foundation, the company supports the tech start-up ecosystem with an entrepreneurship competition under the banner ‘IoT World, Smart Taiwan’. Acer has also contributed to a research project on COVID-19 pandemic control carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan, and it provides support to the global non-profit National Geographic Society. Furthermore, the company uses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for its activities. Acer also demonstrate how it is contributing to inclusivity by disclosing the number of women it employs in tech roles.
The company has an opportunity to provide metrics on its financial and in-kind contributions to its existing programmes SCALE and Barrier Breakers, and report the number of people who have benefitted. The company can also report the number of its employees with disabilities and the initiatives it has introduced to make the workplace more inclusive for them. Additionally, the company can disclose the income taxes it pays and employment in its main markets.
Acer can introduce programmes to develop advanced digital skills. The company can also provide metrics for its Digital Literacy Project, such as its financial and in-kind contribution to the project and the number of participants. Additionally, the company can undertake an impact assessment for the project.
Although Acer is transparent about how cybersecurity is handled at a senior level in the company, it should make a high-level policy commitment to cybersecurity. There is also an opportunity for Acer to publish a transparency report, which details the number of government requests it receives for data. As a digital company selling products that can be used by children, Acer should make a high-level commitment to child online safety.
The company can expand its support for start-ups by introducing initiatives targeted at social and non-profit start-ups as well as towards entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. Acer should also demonstrate how it is contributing to ethical innovation by disclosing its measures to promote ethics in R&D.
Core Social Assessment
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Acer commits to respecting human rights and the ILO core labour rights. However, the company lacks the necessary processes to identify, assess and take action to address the salient human rights risks in its own operations and in its business relationships. Acer identifies and engages with stakeholders whose human rights have been or could be impacted by its operations. It also has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints.
Acer publicly commits to respecting worker health and safety and places the same expectation on its business relationships. Furthermore, the company provides time-bound targets for paying all its workers a living wage. It also provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender, race and ethnicity, but it does not report employee figures for any other indicators of diversity. The company reports basic salary and remuneration of women compared to men by region and employee category. However, it lacks relevant disclosure on the topic on working hours.
Acer has a global tax strategy, and matters related to the company’s tax strategy are ultimately reported to the board of directors. The company also has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its business relationship contracts. Furthermore, the company takes steps to identify and address bribery and corruption and has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints on the topic. However, the company does not disclose its approach to lobbying and political engagement in a policy statement, and it does not disclose its lobbying expenditures.