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Corporate Social Responsibility Challenges for Chinese Manufacturers

By Jesus David Cano Romano
June 27, 2016

Chinese Manufacturers are implementing more and more Corporate Social Responsibility measures and policies in their business plan. While CPR is already deeply embedded in Western companies, China’s suppliers are still in the stage of progress and are slowly catching up. Here’s an insight of the challenges for Chinese manufacturers focusing on CSR.

The principles

The social auditing standard measures CSR performance in Southeast Asian markets according to six different social audit principles. Self explaining principles are the number of working hours, the hiring of child or compulsory labor and the compensation. Furthermore safety issues like emergency plans or the right handling of toxic substances are being looked at. The health and hygiene are determined by considering medical appliances and medical services access. Last but not least it’s about labor units, disciplinary practices and discrimination at the workplace.

China 2 West has been visiting numerous factories and suppliers in China and observed the three main CSR categories that challenge Chinese manufacturers .


A category that is often times lacking of sufficient measures is safety. Common mistakes are missing emergency plans, the adventurous treatment of dangerous chemicals and supplies and the absence of a plan for evacuation. Often times fire hoses or smoke detectors are missing and emergency exists are blocked or locked. Furthermore evacuations are seldom tested and plans are not clearly communicated.

Working hours

Officially the government limits the amount of working time to 60 hours and 6 days per week. This regulation is not always met in China and it’s not unusual for Chinese employees to work overtime. Just recently published articles reported again about Chinese employees sleeping at the office at night to have more time to work.

Compensation and keeping of records

Some Chinese manufacturers have difficulties keeping records of compensation, which makes it hard for employees to claim adequate compensation. Manufacturers are sometimes accused of changing wage records and not compensating the right amount. To ensure appropriate payment, suppliers have to make records more transparent.

Chinese manufacturers are aware of the importance of modern CSR challenges and are trying more and more to meet Western standards. By focusing on the three mentioned critical categories, suppliers are on the right path to fulfill common CSR measures, that add value to their business.