Property / Construction

More than bricks and mortar

by Wattie Lo

Zhou Yong, vice chairman and chief executive officer
China State Construction International Holdings Limited
Photo: Courtesy of China State Construction International Holdings Limited

Environmentally aware construction group achieves results by putting people first

Regardless of size and business scope, companies that implement socially and environmentally responsible policies find that it pays long-term dividends.

China State Construction International Holdings Limited is a case in point. Established in 1979, the firm is one of the largest construction contractors in Hong Kong, engaged mainly in building construction and civil engineering projects, but also taking on foundation work, site investigations, mechanical and electrical engineering and highway and bridge construction, among other works. The firm has successfully developed both its construction and infrastructure investment businesses and now takes pride in its operation as an integrated multinational that complies with strict international standards.

Known for its participation in the Central district waterfront land reclamation project, the firm's clientele encompasses the government, public organisations as well as private corporations.

"As a successful business, we believe that we have a responsibility to the broader society," says Zhou Yong, vice chairman and chief executive officer, China State Construction International Holdings Limited.

Mr Zhou points out that the firm is determined to stand out among its competitors, continuously improve its services and raise awareness about environmental protection.

Industry catalyst

One of the few contractors noted for its strong adherence to business practices that comply with internationally recognised ISO 14001:2004 environmental management standards, China State Construction earned an array of accolades over the years, particularly for its efforts to promote workplace safety among its employees and subcontractors.

The firm is also committed to social responsibility and last year participated in non-profit organisation The Climate Group's Hong Kong Carbon Reduction Campaign, which aimed to promote the benefits of a low-carbon economy through the collective effort of its participating businesses.

Employees had the opportunity to attend various seminars and training workshops, as well as group outings to learn about green technologies for a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

"We've set up management committees to monitor on a monthly and quarterly basis the specific measures we've taken and to ensure they"re up to par," Mr Zhou points out. "Serving the community and fulfilling our obligations as a responsible corporate citizen are among our group's main objectives."

The firm believes that its strong culture of caring sets it apart from competition and has contributed to the numerous awards and contracts won over the past years.

Putting people first

With a view to achieving sustainable development in the cut-throat global business arena, China State Construction places particular emphasis on its people as its most valuable asset and sees this as another key aspect of building a cohesive workforce. "The well-being of our employees has always been a priority," says Mr Zhou. "We make a point to provide all our employees career development paths that are paved with opportunities and challenges."

Two special on-the-job training programmes have been rolled out to cultivate existing talent and attract new blood, targeting trainee engineers and apprentices.

These programmes cover a wide range of topics—from quality management to workplace safety, environmental protection, contract administration, language and computer skills and basic business management techniques. Staff members are also encouraged to enrol in extramural learning programmes.

Mr Zhou stresses that China State Construction is a keen advocate of work-life balance. "We regularly organise in-house talks on healthy living and arrange for our site personnel to attend Occupational Safety and Health Council seminars. We've also implemented a five-day working week for all office staff," he adds.

The firm was listed on the main board of The Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July 2005 and has a series of standard procedures in place to govern all key aspects of its operations, including project tendering, subcontracting, purchasing and construction processes.

The aim is to create an environment where employees find work both enjoyable and challenging, says Mr Zhou, adding that the firm fairness standards also extend to subcontractors and suppliers. "Treating people fairly has turned out to make great business sense," he concludes.

Responsible employer

  • Accolades acknowledge efforts to promote workplace safety
  • Social responsibility and environmental protection major objectives
  • Staff viewed as important asset and treated with fairness

Taken from Career Times 5 March 2010, B5

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