Companies are socially responsible; In the midst of their business activities, they must seek the development of society as a whole. Just as citizens play their part as members of a social community, corporations, as members of society, must fulfill their responsibilities in all areas related to society - the environment, neighborhood, people, etc. This is why Hyundai Motor Group carries out social contribution activities under its key message - ‘The Right Move, for the Right Future’. It contains the values of right movement for the earth, right direction for growth, and right change for society.
Hyundai Motor Group jumped into the Chinese market in 2002 and celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. While thinking about how to celebrate their 20th anniversary, they looked back at their 20 years in China from the perspective of their clients. They could have introduced their sales volume or cutting-edge technology, but they had a more important story to tell - long-term social contribution activities that other companies rarely do. Hyundai Motor Group has been engaged in social contribution activities for a long time to become the favorite company of Chinese people; The automaker has also successfully fulfilled its corporate social responsibility in China. This is why Discovery Channel, a global documentary broadcasting channel, captured Hyundai Motor Group’s social contribution activities.
The Discovery Channel covered Hyundai Motor Group’s social contribution activities in three episodes. The story begins from the perspective of Wang Jingchun, a famous modern photographer in China. He has continuously documented changes in Chinese society with realistic impressionist techniques. And, this time, he set out to capture the landscape that Hyundai Motor Group’s social contribution activities have changed.
Episode 1, “Toward the Green Grassland,” unravels the changes in Dapodi Village in Inner Mongolia, China. A year ago, Hyundai Motor Group chose Dapodi Village for their rural economic revival pilot project. The neighborhood resembles Korea’s rural areas; Young people left for the city in search of work, and since then only the elderly have lived in the village. Even if young people who are tired of failing to find work return to the village, the village has already lost its opportunity for growth.
Hyundai Motor Group is creating a public forest here and building a homestay village to support the village economy. The Automaker not only improved the natural environment there, but also used it to provide a power source for the town’s growth - tourism. Thanks to this, the desolate pasture is being reborn as a village with beautiful scenery. After the homestay village is completed, young generations will not only visit the village for tourism, but also will have a place to work after returning to their hometown.
This activity by Hyundai Motor Group was not a one-time event; Hyundai Motor Group started the ‘Hyundai Green Zone China Project’ in 2008. The project to transform lakes in Inner Mongolia, which have been dried up due to climate change, into grasslands has improved the environment in Chakannor and Zhenglanchi so far, and is currently carrying out the 3rd project in Wulanchabu.
The third project is a bit different; At the same time as restoring dry lakes to grasslands, they are planting trees to create forests and create ‘green guesthouses’. This is to create a foundation for self-reliance of residents. Going one step further from restoring the environment, once a beautiful landscape is created and empty houses are transformed into high-end guesthouses, residents can create a sustainable income-generating model such as directly operating these facilities through a local control tower.
Currently, 15 guest houses and 28 guest rooms are being built in Dapodi. Various facilities such as a landmark building, a training center, an auto camping site, migratory bird watching trails, and a cultural experience zone will be built around the guest house village, which is scheduled to start operating in July this year. For your information, all energy used by the guest house comes from wind power; This method named ‘green homestay’ suits well with this energy supply method. A project like this of Hyundai Motor Group will be a good example of resolving the contradiction between eco-friendliness and regional development.
Episode 2, “Towards a Shining Dream,” depicts the mountainous region of Huizhu County in Yunnan Province. It was severely damaged by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in 2014. But now, eight years later, the young children’s new dreams are growing. In the video, sisters Tiandan and Tianhang go to school through the mountains for two hours every day. Waking up early and walking to school can be tough, but these girls prefer school, where they can meet friends, rather than their own homes.
Hyundai Motor Group built Heemang Elementary School here. In the past, school buildings were built with soil, but in 2015, Hyundai Motor Group was able to build a new elementary school building. The story doesn’t end here; They brought in new materials and equipment for teaching. Since 2011, Hyundai Motor Company’s ‘Dream Classroom’ project has provided educational materials, computers, books, and cultural and sports materials to elementary schools in 83 underdeveloped areas in 30 provinces in China.
In the Hyundai Motor Company Dream Classroom Project, the automaker invited their customers around the school as volunteers and held an event where the customers loaded their cars with books and gifts and went to the school to hold a donation ceremony. The event was popular not only with the beneficiaries but also with the customers who attended the event; Until now, donation ceremonies have been regarded as corporate affairs, but it is probably because everyone could sympathize with each other.
Improving the educational environment in underdeveloped areas, like the Hyundai Motor Company’s Dream Classroom project, is for the future of children. A good education environment can lead children’s future to a better way; just as every parent wants. Tien Dan & Tien Hang’s parents also struggle to carry heavy corn sacks, but tell the children, "It’s not heavy at all." Rather, they tell their children, “Study is the only way out for country people. If you study hard, you can get out of this mountain.” The couple’s words, "Even though we struggle, we want our children to achieve their dreams," make the audience shed tears.
Children who know what their parents think study harder. So we need more help for those children. Hyundai Motor Group established the Hyundai Scholarship in China in 2019 to pick students from poor families but with excellent grades, and support them so that they can continue their studies from middle school to university.
The more underdeveloped the region, the more hope is needed. And our efforts to keep their hopes alive must continue - like the Kia Home World business in China. The Kia Home World program began with support for building new homes for earthquake victims in Sichuan Province, and the automaker has provided 165 homes since 2009. They are also supporting activities for local self-reliance, such as building village community centers, local markets, and university start-up centers.
Kia Home World is a part of ‘Happy Move Global Youth Volunteer Group’, one of Hyundai Motor Group’s programs. After the COVID-19 pandemic, college students in China and employees in Kia China are working together; This has the meaning of ‘volunteering with young people from both countries’.
Episode 3, ‘Going with the light’, illuminates the international hydrogen energy demonstration district in Daxing District, Beijing. Here, Wang Jingchun met Sun Tao, the CEO of Beijing Huafu Science and Technology Co., Ltd., a startup with the technology to make hydrogen using methane; This idea was so promising that it won second place in the Chinese Entrepreneurship Competition.
However, Sun Tao’s start-up was not an easy one. It was a series of hardships. He started his business in anticipation of technological advances, but was shocked by his partner’s betrayal and the COVID-19 pandemic. When he was cornered, his friend recommended the Hyundai Startup Support Center, and it turned into an opportunity. Participating in the start-up camp free of charge and receiving multiple supports, he made a technological breakthrough.
Feeling secure now, Sun Tao looks forward to the future, eighteen years later, when his son becomes an adult. “My son was born in 2020, so he will be 20 in 2040. At that time, new energy vehicles such as hydrogen cars will be the main means of transportation. How cool would it be if my son drove the hydrogen car and boasted to his friend sitting next to him, saying, ‘My father made this hydrogen energy supply device’?” says Sun Tao.
In July 2020, Hyundai Motor Group established the ‘Hyundai Creative Accelerator (HCA)’ in Zhongguancun, where small startups are concentrated in Beijing, China. The automaker recruits startups in two fields - advanced mobility technology and ‘nice’ technology - and then continues to provide various support, such as office space, training, consultation, communication, and investment opportunities. The advanced mobility-related technologies to which Sun Tao belongs include robots and hydrogen-related sectors. ‘Kind’ technology focuses on creating social values through technology such as rehabilitation for the disabled and recycling of waste plastic.
The Hyundai Startup Support Center has supported 66 companies since its establishment so far - a company that makes clothing or household items out of plastic bottles, a company that measures carbon reduction and provides solutions, a company that makes sign language translators for the hearing impaired, or a company that manufactures robot hand for improving hand motor skills of stroke patients, etc. Such support can contribute to solving social problems with technology and creating a sustainable society.
After finishing all the filming, Wang Jingchun said, “It was not easy to capture on camera the long-term efforts of the Hyundai Motor Group that resonated with Chinese people.” In addition, he promised, "I realized the importance of corporate support through this companionship, and I will participate in another social contribution activity of Hyundai Motor Group."
In 2022, 20 years after starting business in China, Hyundai Motor Group ranked 3rd among all Chinese companies in the ‘China Corporate Social Responsibility Development Index’, and won 1st place in the automobile sector for 7 consecutive years. So Hyundai Motor Group introduced their social contribution activities again in celebration of their 20th anniversary. In this way, Hyundai Motor Group has been committed to environmental protection and social public interest for the past 20 years since entering the Chinese market. However, Hyundai Motor Group’s social contribution activities have only just begun. They will deliver hope to everyone in the future and will make ceaseless efforts to realize a sustainable future.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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