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BASF to realign social engagement activities

December 09, 2016

BASF is further developing its social commitment activities worldwide, based on its Social Engagement Strategy. When selecting the educational, sports, social and cultural projects it supports, BASF will now place even more emphasis on ensuring they have a long-lasting effect for society and offer learning opportunities for the cooperation partners involved.

The common guiding principles for all activities worldwide will be the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. To specifically address local challenges, regional focus areas may be identified. In Ludwigshafen these will include “strengthening the participation and integration of disadvantaged population groups” and “supporting research and discovery.” The region South America focuses on three themes: the “support of natural sciences education”, “improvement of labor market situation and employability especially for young workers” and “protection of natural resources”.

“Hemsbach Protocol”: Performing together on stage. Photo: Andreas Neumann

One successful example is the multi-year project “Matchbox,” which was initiated by the cultural office of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region and is supported by BASF. It is made up of individual local projects, including the “Hemsbach Protocol,” which aims to integrate refugees living in Hemsbach, a town with a population of 12,000, into the community. As an art project, the Hemsbach Protocol sees itself as a complement to other integration measures such as language courses. “On the one hand, we want refugees to be able to show their talents and develop new skills: When working together on an artistic performance, for example, they learn to act more confidently in a new cultural environment and learn German language skills. On the other hand, the citizens of Hemsbach also benefit: They see how the refugees can be an asset to the town,” said Karin Heyl, Vice President Social Engagement at BASF.

Under the umbrella of its Social Engagement Strategy, BASF is connecting two pillars

With activities in the area of corporate citizenship, BASF wants to contribute to an attractive living environment for neighbors, employees and their families in the regions where its sites are located. To do so, the company supports projects that reach as many people as possible and have long-lasting effects. One example is the global “Connected to Care” program for employee engagement that BASF developed following the positive experiences made during the eponymous team competition to mark its 150th anniversary last year. It is being continued as a mainstay of the company’s corporate citizenship activities. Employees worldwide form teams in order to implement social projects in cooperation with a non-profit organization. The employees can either receive funding for their own ideas or take part in the company’s initiatives.

Picture series on some “Connected to Care” projects

The project Espacio Inclusivo facilitates vocational trainings for young people in Chile, Argentinia and Uruguay.

The second pillar includes all Starting Ventures activities. With these activities, BASF develops entrepreneurial solutions that give people with low incomes the opportunity to improve their quality of life themselves. These include, for example, providing skills that will make people more employable as well as access to affordable products for healthy nutrition, hygiene and housing. Starting Ventures concentrates on new partnerships and innovative business models in order to gain access to new markets.

One proposal example is from the automotive industry in South America, called Espacio Inclusivo.

The project Espacio Inclusivo builds on earlier successes in Chile and has expanded to targeting unemployed young people in Argentina and Uruguay. In these countries, people with low-income family backgrounds often have limited opportunities to learn technical and other skills relevant for formal employment. At the same time, our customers in the automotive repainting and repairing industry face shortages in skilled labor.

Through Espacio Inclusivo, BASF has therefore started to facilitate vocational trainings for unemployed young people, empowering the graduates to find jobs at our customers. Earlier successes in Chile have shown that graduates earned at least 55% more than the minimum wage.

Social commitment will remain at high level

For several decades, BASF’s social engagement has contributed to positively influencing the way residents live together in the communities around its sites and working with partners on solving questions of the future. In the past five years, worldwide expenditures in this area have been around €50 million annually. Following the realignment, BASF’s social commitment will remain at this high level.