For Germany, China is more than a market. That is the motto the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the German Chambers of Commerce in China used to honor the social engagement of German companies in China for the third time. Businesses employing more than 500,000 people are responsible for the more than 100 projects that were submitted for the award. That is more than half the jobs created by German firms in China. Especially at a time when political relations are becoming strained, the More than a Market initiative demonstrates how much positive momentum can be generated by closer economic cooperation.
All of the German companies active in China were invited to compete for the award based on their social projects. A shortlist of 31 companies was subsequently selected. An independent jury made up of German and Chinese representatives from the business community, political sphere and civil society then chose winners in five categories. The winning companies’ projects make use of innovative approaches in the areas of education, improving training and supply chains, and inclusion of people with disabilities.
For a number of years, the textile company Ningbo Silk Trend Garments has been organizing a summer camp that offers numerous activities for children of migrant workers, so that families which would normally be separated by extended distances can spend more time together.
Festo, a leading innovator in the area of automation, provides Chinese participants with know-how and equipment for WorldSkills, the globe’s largest international skills competition.
Chemical manufacturer BASF engages young people by organizing summer courses that include chemistry experiments, giving participants a practical understanding of the natural sciences.
Metro was recognized in the special category Supply Chain Management for its Star Farm initiative, which certifies that food products in Metro’s Chinese wholesale stores are safe. It also supports farmers in implementing more sustainable farming methods and better food-safety controls.
The jury also awarded a special prize to acknowledge the many German companies active in the area of social inclusion. The prize was given to Bach’s Bakery in the city of Changhsha in central China. The firm gives hearing-impaired individuals the opportunity to train as bakers, making it possible for them to find gainful employment and become financially self-sufficient.
The More than a Market initiative has been promoting socially responsible business practices among German companies in China since 2015. It was launched by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. The initiative is supported by Germany’s diplomatic missions abroad.