CSR is a Passion – not a Fashion Trend

Thilo Koeppe on CSR in China and the Industry 3.5 concept

 

(Article published in German Chamber magazine GCTicker, issue Oct-Nov 2016, download PDF)

by OLIVIA HELVADJIAN


Industry 4.0 focuses on increasing efficiency, quality and flexibility, while adopting cyber connectivity. Where Industry 4.0 puts CPS (cyber-physical systems) in its focus, the Inclusion Factory’s Industry 3.5 concept focuses on human talents namely Talents with Disabilities (TwD). The aim is to provide challenged individuals with the training to produce demanding cable harnesses and assemble a variety of products using specially designed fixtures and machinery.

The Inclusion Factory is an innovative example of consolidated action; as part of the Taicang roundtable, more than 80 partners joined forces to establish the workshop, which is the first institution in China to offer a meaningful employment solution to individuals who are intellectually or physically challenged under real market conditions. The workshop is based on a model established in Germany by Lebenshilfe e.V. and focuses on becoming an integral part of the industrial value chain of companies operating in and around Taicang.

GC Ticker team met with Thilo Koeppe, chairman of the board of directors, Taicang Inclusion Factory to further discuss CSR in China and the Industry 3.5 concept.

What are the challenges and advantages of beginning CSR projects in China?

It’s hard to speak about this topic generally but I can tell you a little from our experience. The main challenge of starting a larger scale CSR project was certainly getting the local authorities intrigued by the concept and its potential impact. For us, the most important assets are the employees. Without the help of the local disabled federation we would not have been able to identify our Talents with Disabilities. Furthermore, we required governmental support to provide our employees with regular work permits and social insurance coverage. Consequently, the backing of the local authorities is key. Once those hurdles were successfully negotiated, the CSR engagement became highly rewarding due to amazing public interest helping us tremendously in increasing the number of supporting organizations. Read more