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CSR, a bright symbol of brand building

2016-02-26

The 2015 China Corporate Social Responsibility Summit organized by Xinhuanet has recently been held at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. BAIC Group (BAIC) won the "2015 China Outstanding Enterprise Award for Corporate Social Responsibility" by virtue of its remarkable contributions to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Coming right at the end of the "Twelfth Five-year Plan" period, the award recognizes the huge value created by BAIC for society, enterprises, stakeholders and employees, showing its achievements in such aspects as social economy, environmental protection, charity, employee quality improvement and corporate culture building.

BAIC has overcome all hardships and achieved fruitful results in brand building over the past years: It has been listed in the "Fortune Global 500" selected by Fortune three years in a row, ranking 207th; ranked 19th among "China's 500 Most Valuable Brands"; and won the "2015 China Best Employer Award" for five consecutive years, topping the list of Chinese automakers and refreshing the best record of automakers. During its carrying out of CSR, BAIC has grown out of nothing, made great strides and opened up an exclusive way of "CSR".

Constructing the CSR system from scratch

The hard strength of products is the symbol of corporate development, but the cultivation of soft strength, which is more important to the long-term development of a brand, is the right path of development.

Based on the advanced technology of the high-end brand-SAAB, BAIC opened up a new pattern for the development of its independent-branded passenger vehicles in 2009. However, the competition in the auto industry was increasingly fierce and the brand gradually became the focus of competition. To BAIC, constructing a group brand management system and pooling brand strength were important to promote market development. At that time, CSR became the penetration point of BAIC's brand building.

In 2010, BAIC launched a charity brand named "Sunflower", established a complete scientific system in charitable fields such as caring for vulnerable groups in society, repaying society, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, social service, corporate responsibility, building schools and supporting education, thereby building it a favorable image as a corporate citizen and enhancing its brand influence. BAIC paid to set up the BAIC Special Charity Fund for Seriously Ill Children; initiated the "Han Hong– BAIC Sunflower Tibet Charity Trip" together with renowned singer Han Hong; and supported brand charity events such as China's polar science investigation, earning high praise from all walks of life. After the outbreak of disasters such as the Wenchuan Earthquake, Ya’an Earthquake and Ludian Earthquake, BAIC showed its CSR in a big way by donating money and vehicles at the earliest possible time.

Since 2013, BAIC has released an annual CSR report, performed CSR spontaneously and consciously, and subjected itself to public supervision. Hard work pays off. By performing CSR more actively, BAIC has built a bright symbol for its brand. BAIC won the "Special Achievement Award for CSR" in 2014 and the "China Outstanding Enterprise Award for Corporate Social Responsibility" in 2015. From exploration and practice, BAIC's brand image as a corporate citizen has struck deep roots in people's hearts.

Performing CSR from scratch

"BAIC has advanced in chase these years." According to BAIC Chairman Xu Heyi, "chase" is presently a topic at BAIC and will be for a long time to come. As a chaser, how will an enterprise overtake its peers in CSR?

BAIC's independent brand was at its initial stage of development in those years. The enterprise's focus once inclined towards product R & D, system construction, channel distribution and market development. At that time, BAIC's JV brand-Beijing Benz set up the "Star Fund" and sponsored the China Open; Beijing Hyundai carried out a series of charity activities such as "donating vehicles to universities", sponsoring the Chinese Football Association Super League and joining desertification control, earning high praise from all walks of life and staying ahead of other independent brands.

With the establishment of BAIC Motor Corporation Ltd., BAIC has gradually expanded its independent brand business, opened up a model of becoming refined internationally and externally, continued to increase its input into charity and humanities, and enhanced its strength in performing CSR. BAIC sponsored the Tour of Beijing for four consecutive years to build it into the only world top professional road cycling race in Asia; joined up with Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports to construct BAIC Volleyball Club, so as to create the "BAIC model" in volleyball development and accomplish the leapfrog development for BAIC men's and women's volleyball teams; sponsored the Asian Beach Games to carry forward a healthy and joyful way and concept of leisure; and sponsored the 1st Beijing International Film Festival to enrich citizens' spiritual lives, which was welcomed by the common people.

CSR extends from inside to outside and from products to concepts

With the deepening of the concept of performing CSR, BAIC has been committed to humanities, advocated technology, created a green life through clean production, and blended environmental protection into the full lifecycle so as to accomplish the coordinated development of man, vehicle and nature.

During the "Twelfth Five-year Plan" period, BAIC's employee size increased from 60,000 in early 2010 to 105,000 at the end of the "Twelfth Five-year Plan" period, up 78.7 percent in five years, thus promoting the employment and the harmony and stability of society; it organized employees to take hundreds of environmental protection trainings to enhance their environmental awareness; and invested hundreds of millions of yuan in such fields as sewage treatment, waste disposal, air pollution control, energy conservation and emission reduction, thus achieving remarkable results.

Meanwhile, BAIC followed the national strategy to establish BAIC BJEV, taking new energy vehicle development as an important sector of strategic transformation. Thus, BAIC's CSR began to extend from inside to outside and from products and concepts.

In 2015, BAIC BJEV manufactured and sold 20,000 units, holding a share of 24 percent in the Chinese electric vehicle market, defending its lead in domestic electric vehicle sales and the fourth place in the world. However, BAIC made great efforts to construct a new energy company not just to obtain more benefits, but to achieve the prosperity of China's auto industry with the social responsibility of urgently pressing ahead with green travel, energy conservation and emission reduction.

Such urgency is reflected in BAIC BJEV's commitment to charity from its early days and its brand proposition of "Travelling in Blue, Living in Blue". Since 2014, BAIC BJEV has launched "Pioneer in Blue", to popularize a green travel lifestyle of "zero pollution, zero emission" in society; it has given substantial subsidies to consumers, advanced charging pile construction, perfected services, implemented "Sharing in Blue A Plus Program", constructed "Smart Travel Ecosphere" and so on. BAIC BJEV planned to sell over 200,000 units and reduce carbon emissions by over 20 percent by 2020, thus becoming a "domestically and internationally leading" new energy vehicle brand.

Keeping CSR in mind

As the largest state-owned enterprise in the capital, prospering and serving the country through industry is the morality and responsibility BAIC must assume. Thus, at every historic moment the country has, BAIC is always seen to assume heavy responsibility and bring its value into play.

At the APEC meeting in 2014, the independent-branded passenger vehicles and commercial buses of BAIC's subsidiaries including BAIC Motor, BAIC BJEV and Foton were designated as the official vehicles for "APEC China 2014" to provide a guarantee of safe, reliable and comfortable vehicles and high-level operation services for the meeting.

At the "September 3 military parade" in 2015, BAIC's BJ40 off-road vehicle assumed the important mission of escorting "salutes" as the "exclusive vehicle towing salutes for the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese people's resistance against Japanese aggression". BAIC has always used its best products in China's major historical events.

In the "Twelfth Five-year Plan" period, BAIC established its CSR system from scratch, experiencing the process in which independent brands learned from and were implanted into JV brands". In terms of energy conservation and environmental protection, BAIC implemented general regulations and conveyed the concept of environmental protection to society based on national emerging strategic industries, gradually changing from an unwitting follower into an intuitive and conscious maker.

As BAIC expands its production and sales, intensifies environmental management and initiates its investment in global energy conservation and environmental protection in the "Thirteenth Five-year Plan" period, under the guidance of national strategies such as "the Belt and Road Initiative", "Made in China 2025" and "Integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei", BAIC is expected to shine brilliantly in the world as a responsible brand.

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