Dutch companies in Fujian province putting CSR into practice
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not only about the effects a company has on the environment, but also the situation of its employees. This can range from recycling waste, reusing water to paying attention to workers conditions and human rights. These aspects of running a company and taking responsibility are also increasingly being considered in China.
Government and businesses are both working to realize China’s transition to a more sustainable and equitable economy. Devising policies, looking at CSR as a business case or genuine goodwill are all part of this process. For many Dutch companies in China, CSR is also an important part of their business abroad. During his visit to Beijing and Xiamen, Minister Kamp visited two Dutch companies in Xiamen that consciously aim to have a positive impact on society through their CSR practices: Bugaboo and Huisman.
Bugaboo designs and produces strollers and luggage systems and has its production base in Xiamen. As their factory in Xiamen is wholly Bugaboo owned, they work with the same code of conduct for their employees as they use in the Netherlands, yet also taking into consideration Chinese culture and customs.
During his visit, Minister Kamp was informed about CSR projects the company undertakes. Included amongst these are a health center, a pre-school facility for kids of employees, a workers’ association and an extensive learning and development program. Maarten Witte, Chief Operations Officer Bugaboo International, emphasizes the importance of these projects. “With such efforts, Bugaboo not only contributes to their employees’ well-being, but also achieves a highly motivated, loyal and skilled workforce eager to help improve their products wherever they can.”
The production facility of Huisman in Zhangzhou, on the south coast of Xiamen Bay, is another example of CSR put into practice. Huisman is specialized in the design and construction of special lifting, transport and offshore equipment. While abiding by the laws and regulations in China, Huisman also pays attention to environmental protection and actively makes positive contributions to society. For example, Huisman offers imported milk powder for their Chinse employees’ children under the age of 1 for free, provides on-going support to several schools in the region and supports the local community elderly citizens by donating daily care and health equipment as well as facilities.
However, it does not stop here according to Cathy Huang, Public Relations Officer at Huisman. “We want to keep learning about successful CSR practices, also from other companies in China. In the future we plan to for example increase our environmental efforts by fully taking into account the biodiversity surrounding our production facility.”
Support from and promoted by the Dutch government
The Dutch government actively promotes CSR, which means that businesses should take account of how their business operations may impact people, the environment and society. In other words, ensuring a company’s performance impacts positively on society by consciously aiming for value creation in the three dimensions of people, planet and profit. The government encourages companies to adopt CSR, by providing information, promoting transparency and setting an example.
To provide more background information and practical tips, a CSR guide was published in 2014 by the Dutch embassy in Beijing to help Dutch companies and their Chinese counterparts with their CSR practices in China. Several events and seminars are also organized regularly by the various missions in China around this topic.