Korean shoe manufacturer focused on social contributions

October 11, 2023 - 08:00
For Nguyễn Thị Hồng Linh and other speech-impaired employees, working at the social responsibility-conscious Changshin Vietnam factory in Đồng Nai Province is a great experience.
Speech-impaired workers at the Changshin Vietnam shoe factory in Đồng Nai Province. - Photo courtesy of Yonhap News Agency

ĐỒNG NAI - For Nguyễn Thị Hồng Linh and other speech-impaired employees, working at the social responsibility-conscious Changshin Vietnam factory in Đồng Nai Province is a great experience.

Linh, 34, one of many disabled workers at the shoe manufacturer’s plant in Vĩnh Cửu District, has been working there for many years.

In an interview with Korea’s Yonhap News Agency and the Vietnam News Agency, Linh said in sign language that despite her speech impairment she and other similar workers have little difficulty in communicating with other employees, either by looking at their mouth patterns and hand gestures or by texting on phones.

Other speech-impaired employees have also been working in the factory for 12 – 14 years and had only positive experiences. While it was hard at first, they received plenty of help to get used to the job.

According to general manager Kim Si Jung, Changshin Vietnam employs the largest number of disabled people of any factory in Việt Nam (374 workers out of a total of 40,000).

They receive the same salaries as other employees and enjoy various welfare benefits and regular support activities.

During the challenging COVID-19 pandemic, the company did not lay off any workers, and, for this, was recognised by the local authority for its contribution to ensuring local livelihoods, which plays a role in enabling the company to retain its high-quality workforce.

Asked about the situation at the time, Linh said: "I think the company was very kind for not laying off a single person despite the difficulties caused by COVID-19... I want to work at Changshin for a long time."

Commitment to corporate social responsibility

Changshin, founded in 1981 by current chairman Chung Hwan-il, entered Việt Nam in 1994 by opening a factory at Đồng Nai to manufacture Nike sport shoes, including the brand’s top model, Air Jordan.

Changshin has grown into a major partner of Nike, recognised for its manufacturing technologies.

Over the years Changshin Việt Nam has undertaken a number of corporate social responsibility activities which benefit the community in accordance with Chairman Chung's philosophy of “10,000 people taking one step is better than one person taking 10,000 steps.”

In addition to providing employments to workers with disabilities, it has been working with the Đồng Nai General Hospital to provide free cataract surgeries to over 400 employees, their families and local residents since 2001.

Every year the company raises donations to support households affected by natural disasters, war widows, orphans, disabled people, and underdeveloped areas.

Students attend Changshin’s free night school. The company attaches great importance to corporate social responsibility. - Photo courtesy of Changshin Vietnam

​Changshin has also operated a free night school since 1997 for those who were unable to continue their education due to disadvantaged family circumstances, enabling over 3,000 people to obtain high school graduation certificates recognised by the Ministry of Education and Training.

Around 700 of them are currently working for the company in managerial roles.

Additionally, the company has been offering gifts and scholarships to outstanding disadvantaged students, providing free after-school tutoring for children of employees, raising money for Agent Orange victims and ethnic minorities, and undertaking many other charitable activities.

Thanks to its contribution to the community and employment policies, the company has received numerous awards over the years.

They include a Labour Order, third class, in 2011 and second class in 2020, an award for occupational safety and health given by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs and “Outstanding Business for Labourers” awards in 2017, 2020 and 2023.

Kim said, “As we are a global company with manufacturing plants in China and Indonesia in addition to Việt Nam, we realise the importance of corporate social responsibility.

“We will continue to work with government agencies and private organisations in Korea and Việt Nam to expand and diversify our social contribution activities.”

Korea and Việt Nam celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in December last year, when they elevated their relations to the level of “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”

Korea is currently the leading country in terms of investment in Việt Nam, and many Korean companies focus on making contributions to the community. — VNS