When can a company be said to do its business in line with the principles of corporate social responsibility? Simply when it respects all the partners it encounters while still running its business and generating profits. This not only applies to their customers or subcontractors but also to their employees, the competition and the local community. Kia Motors Slovakia, the Slovak arm of the Korean carmaker Kia Motors, has been pursuing this goal since it launched its business in Slovakia more than 10 years ago. This year it won the main award, Via Bona, for a responsible large corporation. The awards ceremony took place on April 4 in Bratislava.
“The strategy of corporate social responsibility used by Kia Motors Slovakia is based on the corporate vision of the Hyundai Motor Group ‘Together for a better future’,” said Katarína Gazdíková from the PR and press department at Kia Motors Slovakia.
To be a responsible member of the community means, for this carmaker, production of high quality environmentally-friendly cars, creation of good working conditions for its employees as well as helping the local community where it needs this but also to be fair to suppliers and meet its tax duties towards the state.
Fair towards customers
Since the launch of production in its brand new plant in Teplička nad Váhom in 2006 the carmaker has provided an upper standard guarantee of seven years or for 150,000 driven kilometres for all cars produced here.
“Even after 10 years, no other producer in Europe provides such a long guarantee,” said Gazdíková.
Last year several renowned car magazines and institutions confirmed the quality of the cars manufactured in the plant near Žilina. For example, in the two-year test organised by German magazines Auto Motor und Sport and Autobild, the third generation Kia Sportage, achieved a zero error rate, the first and only car out of all tested car makes to do this.
“Models produced in our plant thus earn a good reputation for Slovakia beyond its borders,” said Gazdíková.
Harmony at work
A safe, clean and likeable work environment is of key importance for the production of quality cars. Contributing to this are the so-called Harmony rooms located directly on the production premises.
“In these harmony rooms, employees can discuss any problems related to their needs, submit recommendations and suggestions and simultaneously they themselves can contribute to the creation of a pleasant and conflict-free work environment,” said Gazdíková.
In Kia Motors Slovakia the care of employees also includes educational and development activities and an upper standard social and remuneration programme.
“When the basic salary is counted up with surcharges, Christmas, summer and other bonuses, the gross average monthly wage of a manufacturing worker at Kia Motors Slovakia amounted to €1,354 in 2016,” specified Gazdíková, adding that this was 47 percent above the average wage in the Žilina Region.
The responsible approach of the carmaker to the environment is reflected on two levels – in improving the parameters of the cars manufactured there and the improvement of production itself.
“Kia cars have been manufactured with the ISG system called Start & Stop,” said Gazdíková. “It directly affects emissions and thus contributes to the protection of the environment.”
Thanks to the implementation of innovative solutions the carmaker has also improved its energy effectiveness when using power by 17 percent over the last five years. It has also reduced its consumption of natural gas, thanks to which the CO2 emissions generated during the production of one car has decreased by 13 percent during the same period of time. It also improved its waste management and it now recycles as much as 91 percent of the waste it generates.
Ethics in doing business
The favourable sales of Kia cars are also reflected in the profits of the carmaker, which pays its corporate tax in Slovakia.
“Kia Motors Slovakia has won the Merkúr award granted by the Financial Administration for the biggest corporate tax paid three times,” said Gazdíková. Last time it happened in 2015 when it paid €103.95 million in corporate tax for 2014.
Care for the local community
The carmaker has been engaged in the support of the region for a long time. It has been developing many philanthropic activities, supporting the volunteer work of its employees with a focus especially on the Žilina Region from where its employees come. In 2016 alone, it supported, via the Kia Motors Foundation, 181 projects to a sum exceeding €1.615 million.
The carmaker also realises the need to support the education of young people and thus it actively cooperates with local secondary schools and universities.
Volunteering also creates a significant part of the corporate philanthropy at Kia. In total, 521 of its employees worked almost 1,875 volunteer hours in almost 20 non-profit organisations in 2016.
“The goal of Kia in Slovakia is to be a responsible member of the community in which it lives and operates,” said Dae-Sik Kim, President and CEO of Kia Motors Slovakia. “I believe that our company makes a contribution not only to the Žilina Region but also to the whole of Slovakia.”