SHANGHAI, China — As Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company says: "A good company delivers excellent products and services. A great company does all that and strives to make the world a better place."
In order to do more to make the world a better place, Ford China recently chose World Environment Day (June 5) to launch its Better World program – a suite of environmental protection projects such as Ford’s flagship Conservation Environmental Grants China (CEGC) as well as its complementary newly expanded Level Up! training initiative — both of which are targeted at grassroots Chinese NGOs.
Thirty representatives from grassroots environmental NGOs near Shanghai as well as 30 media and bloggers attended the event.
CEGC aims to recognize, inspire and support grassroots efforts in China to preserve and save the environment. Over the past 13 years, CEGC has recognized 301 grassroots NGOs and individuals with a total of over RMB14 million (USD 2.22million) in grants.
“At Ford, our vision is to strive to be a great company by delivering great products, building a strong business and contributing to a better world in every market we operate,” said John Lawler, chairman and CEO, Ford China in his opening remarks. “As we strive to be a great company, our challenge is not only to grow profitably for all our stakeholders, but also to grow profitably in a way that is sustainable to our community and our environment.”
“At Ford, we have a long history not just building great cars and trucks, but working with our employees, our dealers, our partners in communities to build a better world wherever we do business across the world,” said Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Fund & Community Services. “Our goal is to work with all of you to meet community needs here in China and to align our resources and efforts with our employees with our One Ford business plan.”
The event was also Vella’s first official visit representing Ford Fund to China and the Asia Pacific region, helping launch the 2013 Better World program in China.
Ford China also realized that a long term partner to help the company is needed. NPI, one of if not the largest NGO in China focused solely on building the capacity of the NGO sector, was chosen to establish a long-term partnership in corporate social responsibility programs with Ford.
“Together with NPI, we will take CEGC and Level Up! to the next level. We will also mobilize Ford employee volunteers in China so they can contribute, just as what Ford employees are doing in other markets. More important, together, we will cultivate and nurture more grassroots environmental NGOs so one day they will thrive as full-fledged organizations capable of effecting positive change in our environment. We are very excited about all the great things we can do with NPI to make our community a better place,” said Lawler.
Ding Li, deputy director of NPI (www.npi.org.cn), released the Environmental Grass-root NGO Investigation Report and Claire Li, vice president, Ford China communications, gave respected guests a brief Better World program introduction. Body.
Before the event, Ford exhibited the great work of Charyou (www.charyou.org), a 2011 CEGC winner that promotes volunteering and environmental education for kids using fun interactive games. Charyou brought several volunteers to run these games before the morning’s events — and also showcased its free mobile app “Green Tour (available on iTunes as “绿行棋”), which teaches children the importance of low-carbon travel and automotive safety. The app was developed with funds from its 2011 CEGC grant.
CEGC was introduced in 2000 and over the past 13 years and is today one of the largest and longest-standing corporate-sponsored environmental awards in China. Due to its independent and transparent grant evaluation process, CEGC has gained wide support and respect from environmentally-concerned citizens, NGOs, media and governments in China.
Reflecting the desire to recognize the importance of taking environmental action out of a silo—and into our everyday lives—this year a new grant category “Community Innovation” was set up and the award will recognize environmental groups and individuals whose projects directly engage and mobilize members of the community in new and interesting ways.
Another new change to this year’s CEGC is that the total funding pool will be raised from RMB 1.5 million (USD 225,000) to RMB 2 million (USD 322,000) to fund the further development of the winners’ projects.