“As a company we are committed to giving back to the community and we want to do that with what we do best.”
A global brand that is instantly recognisable, Samsung Electronics is also an organisation that has made concerted efforts in its community outreach and care programmes.
Emphasising that their Corporate Citizenship initiatives are not fuelled by the motivation for financial gain, the organisation believes that it has a social responsibility to the communities in which it operates. This is a profound commitment given that the company is present in some 80 countries with a workforce of over 300,000 people. In terms of revenue, it is the second-largest consumer electronics company in the world.
The company’s strategy for Corporate Citizenship is “to deploy our technologies and expertise to address some of the social issues of our time.” The priority in drawing up and carrying out these initiatives is the beneficiaries of said programmes and the impact they have on social communities.
Given the company’s widespread presence across the globe, their focus and work on community initiatives and projects have been steady and segmented by different markets over an extended time period of time.
Corporate Citizenship is not a secondary option for this organisation, as it takes the future of communities seriously. Being a global citizen means “we aim to create positive change for people everywhere, helping them to lead better and healthier lives.”
Their commitment stems from the belief that being a global citizen underpins their success. “As a company we are committed to giving back to the community and we want to do that with what we do best.”
The company aims to use its technology to tackle key problems in education, employment and health, in an effort to make life better in the world. There are initiatives in place all over the world, to help support the economic and social development of the communities in which Samsung operates.
On the educational front, Samsung has equipped schools in over 70 countries with smart devices to help bridge the digital divide and to help students take advantage of a smarter approach to education. These Smart Schools meet specific local educational needs to enhance their learning environment.
Continuing their commitment to education, Samsung has also established the Tech Institute in over 34 countries. This move has been made in an effort to increase the number and quality of technicians, to address the deficiency of technical talents and ultimately meet market employment needs. Helping people to build their skills and earn a livelihood is a noble endeavour. It is also a reflection of the company’s recognition of the need to localise citizenship programmes as a response to the needs of particular markets.
With the aim of bridging the digital divide in certain areas, Samsung has partnered with schools and libraries to create immersive learning opportunities for students, through tailored education programmes as well as enrichment and infotainment content.
Part of taking care of communities also involves being concerned with public and individual healthcare. The company has launched healthcare initiatives in many regions of the world, including the populous areas of China, Southeast Asia, in the Middle East and in Africa. The impetus for these initiatives was borne of the recognition that these regions lack sufficient medical technologies and trained staff that can have an adverse effect on issues such as infant and maternal mortality. There are two specific types of initiative under this banner: healthcare services in the shape of a Mobile Health Centre for underprivileged areas and the provision of medical training at the “Sono” (short for Ultra-sonography) School related to prenatal ultrasound.
The company works closely with hospitals and medical facilities in an effort to help reduce infant mortality, providing equipment such as ultrasound systems, educational devices, electronic boards and large-format displays (LFDs). Simultaneously, Samsung works with local medical associations and institutions to design a strong curriculum and operate courses for medical professionals in the field of ultrasound diagnostics, obstetrics and gynaecology.
Another instance of their altruistic efforts is the Nanum Village, also known as the sharing village. This is a project aimed at villages in the rural areas of emerging markets. A series of new constructions is carried out, encompassing schools, medical centres and cultural houses. The intention is to empower and improve the lives of the younger generation.
In more developed markets such as Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, the company focuses on investing in the grooming of the potential of youth into future leaders. The company has instituted the Solve for Tomorrow competition in these regions, targeted at schools, with the intention of encouraging students to leverage technology innovatively to address social issues and conceptualise solutions for the benefit of local communities. The competition is a reflection of Samsung’s dedication to building up the future generation of leaders not just for their sense of responsibility to the community but also for their creativity and innovation.
Over the years, Samsung has built and refined its expertise and capabilities, resulting in the company being able to maintain its focus on these areas of need. This helps them to use their Citizenship programmes with targeted effect and to direct their efforts in addressing pertinent issues in the areas identified.
Corporate Citizenship occupies such significance in the company’s culture that the company has chartered its Corporate Citizenship Committee within its Board of Directors. This is done to ensure legal compliance around ethical issues, to oversee the company’s contributions to promoting public welfare and to provide guidance to initiatives so that they satisfy the ambitious corporate citizenship goals.
The Committee, which is made up entirely of independent directors, also heads a subordinate research group made up of experts from a variety of fields. The research group also participates in discussions with the committee. There is a growing recognition within the committee that opportunities exist with which to further broaden Samsung’s social contribution programmes through collaboration with external parties.
The company also states that it aims to involve at least 30 percent of their employees on an annual basis – including leadership and management staff – in its Citizenship initiatives. Each country in which the company operates also contains a dedicated Citizenship team to ensure these initiatives are maintained and executed. These teams work closely with the Corporate Citizenship lead in Southeast Asia and Oceania Regional headquarters.
There is a rigorous process in place to evaluate the relevance of these programmes. The process includes research on local issues to help the company better understand how and if these programmes leave a positive impact, and the evaluation of existing policies. Partners and technicians are consulted regularly to advise on the feasibility of these programmes.
Samsung, as a leading global brand, is strengthening its position as a global citizen in leading by example in community care.