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Hyundai stresses being good corporate citizen

There are many corporations that stand out for profitability while there are as many gaining prominence for exceptional corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

However, there exist a relatively small number of companies, which excel both in profits and CSR activities, otherwise dubbed as the double bottom lines in the business world. 

Hyundai Motor Group said Monday that the country’s largest automaker aims to join the exclusive rank of “double bottom-liners” by chalking up success in both areas. 

“One of our top priorities is to become a responsible corporate citizen. On top of racking up good business results, we will do our best to return many values back to society,” a Hyundai Motor Group spokesman said. 

“In particular, we have set our sights on the young generation, who are the leaders of the future. Under this philosophy, we will channel our energy and resources to educating and nurturing young talent.”

The Seoul-based carmaker said that it would further expand its global corps composed of young volunteers aimed at helping the poor in other countries.

Hyundai Motor Group, the country’s second-largest conglomerate, already has the biggest such organization here and has carried out unique activities across the world. 

Since its foundation midway through 2008, the corps has dispatched 500 volunteers from university students twice a year to such countries as India, China, Brazil, Turkey and Slovakia. 

This summer, it also sent 500 volunteers to China, India, Brazil, Thailand and Ethiopia. 

“They work in regional welfare systems, medical services, nutrition and environmental missions for around two weeks. It is not just a one-off event as they typically maintain relationships with residents there,” the spokesman said. 

“In return, the volunteers can communicate with people in various regions and learn their cultures so that they can foster global sentiments. The program generates a kind of win-win situation.”

`Move’ to better society

Hyundai Motor Group has strengthened its focus on CSR programs in a full-fledged manner since April 2008 when the outfit came up with its long-term vision for the activities. 

Its plan is categorized into four segments, which is in line with the automaker’s specific business.

The four sectors are “Easy-move” for better mobility of the disabled, “Safe-move” for improved car safety, “Happy-move” for voluntary activities for the needy and “Green-move” for eco-friendly activities. 

“Beginning in 2005, we have supported children whose parents died in car accidents. It is one of the major programs of our Safe-move initiative,” another Hyundai official said. 

“What we really want to do is care for the children instead of giving just a one-time donation with the view to encourage them and help them become a good citizen in our society.”

In addition, Hyundai Motor Group created a pair of social enterprises including Easy-move, the manufacturer of a different kind of mobility aids and equipment for the disabled. 

By next year, the Anyang, Gyeonggi Province-based company aims to record up to 18 billion won in sales as well as create 200 new jobs, a substantial part will be allocated to those with disabilities.

“Highlighting our strong stress on social activities, there lies our belief that corporate competitiveness is eventually underpinned by people,” the official said. 

Global CSR activities are included. Hyundai also conducted a set of programs and one of them is to plant trees in Mongolian deserts, which began in 2008. 

Originating in the deserts of Mongolia and China, dust clouds plague Korea, mostly during the spring as the airborne particles cause health problems due to their toxicity.

The sand storms containing yellow dust, were observed on average of 3.7 times a year between 1971 and 2000 but the yearly figure has risen to more than 10 times over the last decade. 

Profitability

As far as the conventional bottom line of profitability is concerned, Hyundai Motor Group, composed of the two flagships, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors has also been impressive in tandem with its fast rise in the global list of late.

During the first nine months of this year, Hyudnai Motor sold 2.95 million cars, up 10.5 percent from a year before, for sales of 57.28 trillion won, up 18.2 percent. 

Its sister firm Kia moved 1.85 million vehicles during the same period of time, up 23.4 percent from a year before, for a turnover of 32.23 trillion won, up 25.2 percent. 

As a result, Hyundai and Kia saw their net profits jump to 6.1 trillion won and 2.7 trillion won during the three quarters, respectively, for year-on-year growth rates of 34.1 percent and 45.2 percent each. 

The fast growth raises hopes that Hyundai Motor Group might become one of the world’s top three automakers in 2011 along with Volkswagen and General Motors in terms of sales. It’s currently in fifth place. 

“Many think that CSR programs are about spending money while businesses are about earning cash. They might be right in part but over the long haul, the two are closely related,” the Hyundai official said.

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