Within the last decades, China has made unprecedented progress in many areas. Hundreds of thousands have been lifted out of poverty and given the chance to play an active role in the country’s progress. However, China still faces enormous challenges. Social exclusion, left-behind and underprivileged children and a huge gap between the level of development in urbanized areas and the countryside are just some of the most pressing concerns the country has to deal with today.
More and more German companies see themselves as part of the Chinese system and want to get involved in improving the conditions for their employees, their communities and the environment they all live in. To support this development,the initative “More than a Market” by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the German Consulate General, Shanghai honored four outstanding projects by German companies this year and shone a light on very different approaches to social engagement.
See how the four Award-winning projects really work in the project-videos below:
Krones: Apprentice Training Program
With its project, Krones tackles the issue vocational training in China. Vocational education is globally known to be an excellent way to train young people, transfer knowledge and guarantee the production of quality goods. In China, most young people do not have the chance to receive adequate vocational training, as they do in Germany. Most people in China either receive a more theoretical education at university, or learn directly on the job. Consequently, young people who do not go to university do not have the opportunity to develop a career based on a solid qualification that can be transferred from one company to the next. A big challenge in China is therefore fostering vocational training and further increasing loyalty to the company by empowering employees and creating a culture of trust.
Merck: School Water Project
Providing safe drinking water to people in China, especially children, is a pressing topic that needs to be addressed by making use of modern and innovative technologies. China’s economic rise and its large population are posing difficult environmental challenges. Water pollution is clearly among the most acute issues nowadays and will remain so in the future. China is not a water-rich country and its existing supplies are unevenly distributed across the country. Some waste-water treatment plants and sanitation systems already exist, but much more needs to be done. Currently, there are millions of people in China who drink contaminated water. They are therefore in danger of contracting serious illnesses. Merck AG, with its “School Water Project” addresses this topic, by providing children in five primary schools in Shanghai with safe drinking water and raising their awareness for environmental protection measures.
Bayer: China Volunteer Association
Ensuring social inclusion is one of the most pressing concerns in China today. Unresolved issues in this field include income inequality, access to social services and the unequal distribution of public funding. A number of groups are directly affected by these problems, particularly underprivileged children, women and people with disabilities, the poor and the elderly. One of the core challenges in tackling these concerns is raising social awareness among the Chinese public. Bayer tries to do so with the activities of the “BAYER CHINA VOLUNTEER ASSOCIATION”, which is a corporate-sponsored, employee-run volunteer project dedicated to making a positive impact on society and maximizing the social value of Bayer’s employees.
Taicang Sino-German Handicapped Technology co: Inclusion Factory
The path towards becoming a truly inclusive society is long and challenging: it requires improved access to basic education and vocational training as well as working environments suited to the skills and interests of people with disabilities. Like in many countries, real employment opportunities for people with disabilities are scarce in China. In particular, mentally challenged individuals do not have a realistic chance of contributing to the country’s economic development and thus have difficulty integrating into wider society. One major challenge is therefore providing opportunities for social and economic inclusion to people with disabilities —and the mentally challenged in particular. The Inclusion Factory Taicang tries to face this challenge: More than 80 partners joined forces to establish the workshop, which is the first institution in China to give meaningful employment to mentally challenged individuals under real market conditions. See how the workshop focuses on becoming an integral part of the industrial value chain in China in the video.