Visit of BB Factory in China- the informal way of CSR in a workplace reviewed

After 2 hours of crawling through the Beijing traffic  (with an apologetic nice driver), I made it to the factory I was planning to visit , only to find google maps had led me to the wrong site, where the factory used to be 18 months ago.  But a few turns down the street and I finally made it.

BB China has been able to improve the whole process of their product construction in the factory site by doing hands on research (trial and error) and constantly improving the overall process of construction. The workers (the turnover is low) have seen their work conditions improve on the site but also their extra benefits have improved; BB has provided a washing machine, better restrooms, a bathroom/ shower for workers etc. The upstairs offices have seen a change into a pleasant open space office environment with a clean and light working area.

BB was fined after their recent move for not having the safety banners up in the workplace and not having had the mandatory yearly safety training. But BB has installed many safety measures in the workplace. Not all are government required but even more than that and this pays off: there have hardly been any incidents (one injury to hospital no permanent damage), and only a few accidents with materials. But there is no formal logbook in place on reporting incidents or accidents. BB does not require this in China. BB does not have an international HSE standard formally.

BB has a vision and mission policy stated on their website, but as the manager said, there is no formal CSR policy of any kind (nor Code of Conduct or Governance Policy to be found on their website), but the welfare of the employees is at heart with the managers. It is interesting for me to see that a lot of health (wellbeing) and safety measures have been taken,  some are in reaction to incidents, some are or preventive measures, others are from the ‘heart of the manager’ or the request of employees.

Some thoughts

–          If a company is doing well CSR wise (without a formal policy, but an informal one, and sometimes even unconsciously ‘doing well ’in action,) why not formalize this? Its benefits: overall preventive measures that give quality and safety improvements, more employees involved in decision making, and a more holistic approach on the overall business process will make managers aware of new opportunities and cost saving measures.

–          A company without a Code of Conduct (as part of a CSR strategy) seems from a marketing point of view like its a business that runs only for profit, and does not care about People Planet and Profit. But this certainly not the case in the actual performance of the company; it does care and take care of its employees (and other stakeholders if applicable).  To be aware of the things that are already going well and improving them under the banner of CSR could give the company a boost in their brand; I do not mean the company should go into philanthropy, but just to write down what the values are that they feel as managers and directors for their employees, what this means and what they would consciously want to improve.  The Company could choose a few key CSR issues for 2 years and work them out.