Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Project Phase I

SCORE is a global project initiated by the ILO and implemented in seven countries. The CO-Beijing Office works in partnership with UNIDO, CEC and local partners to upgrade competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through good workplace practices.


Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) make up 99 per cent of all private registered enterprises in China. Furthermore, SMEs are the largest employers for both women and men and therefore are key to achieving sustainable economic development and poverty reduction. Current research shows that innovations in work organization, continuous workplace learning, environmentally responsible production, good labour -management relations, safe working conditions and respect for workers' rights are all important methods to raise productivity in SMEs while also promoting decent work.

Chinese SMEs play an important role in global supply chains. However these enterprises need, as much as larger enterprises, to be competitive and productive in order to access market opportunities on national and international markets. While interested in raising productivity and competitiveness, SMEs in China find that they are facing a double barrier: they rarely qualify for public financial support nor do they benefit from the business development service sector, which primarily targets larger enterprises.

The Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) project aims to address this problem by providing advice and tools to help SMEs incorporate sustainability into their strategic business planning and operational management in China. The project is jointly funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

Implementing partners

Based on the good cooperation relationship established in the Corporate Social Responsibility in the Chinese Textile Industry project, the ILO and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) continue to provide SMEs in key manufacturing sectors in China with access to sustainable business training as well as support the capacity building of local trainers through the private business support service sector.

China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) as the implementation partner, will play a key role in selecting sectors and business development services providers and facilitating national replication of local activities.

Project objective

SMEs are more sustainable and provide more sustainable and decent employment by being cleaner, more productive and competitive.

Project strategy and activities

The project will focus on building the local capacity of private sector business development services (BDS) to provide Chinese SMEs in selected sectors with the best practice training in the five core modules. After training of trainers, the project will support the local BDS providers in their initial training activities in SMEs to monitor the effectiveness of the training and ensure international best practice. By the end of the project, local BDS providers will have the capacity to provide the training to SMEs on a commercial basis.

SCORE will mobilize international and national resources to develop international best practice training and individual intervention through customized on-site counseling services in the five core modules:

  • Workplace cooperation – building effective communication, trust and cooperation in the workplace;
  • Quality management – linking quality management with customer and business needs;
  • Productivity and cleaner production – bringing the gap between competitive industrial production and environmental concerns;
  • Occupational health and safety – creating a safe and healthy workplace without sacrificing productivity; and
  • Human resource management – guiding the human resource process through building appropriate strategies and systems.

Meanwhile, SCORE will continue constructive dialogue with government, workers’ organization and employers’ organization to raise their awareness on corporate social responsibility and strengthen joint actions for promoting sustainable enterprises.

For further information please contact:

Mr Zhang Xubiao
National Project Manager
ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia
Tel: +86 10 6532 5091