NAVER, founded in 1999, is a Republic of Korea company that operates the country’s largest search engine. It is also known for its communication services, including LINE Messenger, used by over 200 million users worldwide. The company is active in a dozen countries across the globe.
The company has made a commitment to support users with disabilities. It works with social enterprises to provide employment for people with disabilities and reports the number of its own employees with disabilities. It also discloses how the economic value it generates is distributed among stakeholders.
Naver has a programme for individuals that aims to teach digital skills in software. The company also supports technical skills development through its programme Boot Camp, which aims at fostering IT talent. Furthermore, the company improves school connectivity through its e-Learning centre, which is an integrated online learning solution for elementary and middle schools.
Naver clearly discloses how responsibility for cybersecurity is managed at the senior level in the company. It follows best practice for monitoring, responding to and reporting on security incidents. The company also discloses information regarding government requests for data. Moreover, Naver discloses its mechanisms for reporting online harms to children and provides options for controlling sensitive content for children.
Naver collaborates with universities and supports start-ups. The company demonstrates dedication to sustainability. It commits to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and uses them as a framework for measuring its goals and progress. Naver also stands out among its peers with its publicly available ethical artificial intelligence (AI) framework.
Although Naver has a committee for oversight of cybersecurity, the company can make a high-level commitment regarding cybersecurity. The company can also follow best industry practice and make its information security certificate publicly available. While Naver has some initiatives to protect children online, the company can make a high-level commitment to child online safety.
Naver can demonstrate how it practises open innovation and can consider supporting non-profit start-ups and those founded by people from underrepresented groups. It can also demonstrate how it supports inclusive and ethical innovation by reporting the number of its women employees engaged in tech roles.
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.
Although Naver states a commitment to respect human rights, its wording remains too weak to be considered a formal policy document. Additionally, the company does not have a publicly available policy statement that expects its business relationships to commit to respecting the ILO core labour rights. The company conducts human rights impact assessments. Moreover, it reveals its comprehensive framework for conducting due diligence on human rights. However, it does not disclose a process to identify, assess and act on the salient human rights risks associated with its own operations and with its business relationships. The company does engage with stakeholders impacted by its potential human rights issues. Furthermore, the company has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints.
The company states in its ESG report that it creates a safe and healthy workplace. However, it does not have a publicly available policy statement committing to respect workers’ health and safety. Furthermore, the company does not specify that it does not require workers to work more than regular and overtime hours. It also does not disclose the percentage of its workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements, and it provides no relevant evidence in relation to paying its workers a living wage. In relation to workforce diversity, the company provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender. However, it does not disclose employee numbers for other indicators of diversity per employee category.
Naver discloses a global tax strategy. However, it does not state that an executive or board-level group or individual oversees this strategy. Furthermore, it does not disclose its income tax payments in individual tax jurisdictions. Although the company states in its ESG report that it is politically neutral, it does not disclose its approach to lobbying and political engagement in a publicly available policy statement. Similarly, though Naver takes steps to identify and address bribery and corruption and has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise related concerns and complaints, it does not have a publicly available policy statement prohibiting bribery and corruption.