Responsibility Report 2022

Corporate Citizenship

Helping where help is needed

At Freudenberg, corporate citizenship goes beyond the value chain. The Group wants to be recognized as a good neighbor in the communities where it operates, which is why it supports a whole raft of social projects – from small local initiatives to complex international programs. All the campaigns are tailored to local requirements, and Freudenberg employees often participate in their free time.

Global program for education and environmental protection

Since the founding of the company, Freudenberg has been committed to serving the community. Corporate citizenship was strengthened with the launch of the e² (education and environment) program in 2015. The program’s goal is to provide people with access to education and employment and to support environmental protection. The e² program supports projects on the basis of a catalog of defined criteria and complements existing individual initiatives. In 2021, Freudenberg decided to provide e² with a further four million euros in funds, bringing total funding to 18 million euros.

Examples of e² projects

So far, the e² initiative has supported some 170 projects worldwide. They all show that commitment can make a difference. Here are some examples.

Help for orphans in Vietnam

Many children in Vietnam suffer from the effects of harsh social and economic conditions. Abandoned by family members or orphaned, they are often left to fend for themselves. The SOS Children's Villages in Vietnam take care of such children. In 2022, Klüber Lubrication employees in Vietnam supported the work of the SOS Children's Villages in Ben Tre and Da Lat, southern Vietnam. The program included joint activities such as gardening, self-defense training and the teaching of life skills.

Cooperation with an elementary school in the USA

Children need a good education and the feeling that someone believes in them. Thanks to financial support from e² and the personal commitment of EagleBurgmann employees, the children at Kirk Elementary School in Houston, Texas, now have both, giving them much better chances for the future. This is the 150th project supported by e².

Bird-proof glass in the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Glass facades and windows pose a major threat to birds. They do not recognize the glass as an obstacle and often die from the impact. Teams from Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are helping to prevent such bird strikes. Together with their project partners, they stick small stickers on the glass facades of houses and bus stops. In addition, the employees visit schools and inform children and young people about the life of native birds.

Freudenberg’s aim is to provide long-term support for projects in the two key areas of education and the environment. However, in exceptional situations the company takes a flexible approach to its funding rules, and also provides spontaneous assistance.

In response to the Corona pandemic, the company supported food banks worldwide and distributed face masks to protect people.

In the year under review, Freudenberg also responded just as swiftly and decisively to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company donated €3 million as immediate humanitarian aid for those affected by the war in Ukraine. Further donations were forthcoming from employees and Partners. Many of them were also actively engaged in providing support.

After arranging for the immediate aid which was so important right at the start of the war, Freudenberg focused more heavily on organizations dedicated to the long-term support and integration of refugees. So far, some 40 organizations in Ukraine and other European countries have received assistance.

One of these is the Ukrainian Friends Foundation which builds container villages. 20 houses in the container village near Lviv were built with donations from Freudenberg. The company has also provided funds for maintenance. A container houses up to four people, with preference given to families with children. Each container is connected to the sewage network and contains a small kitchen and dining table, in addition to four beds.

Here are some examples of the Freudenberg Group’s long-term orientation on local aid projects:

Training center in India

Since 2009, Freudenberg has offered young people the opportunity to qualify as electricians, welders, plumbers, motor mechanics, and machinists under dual training programs at a non-profit training center in Nagapattinam, India in the province of Tamil Nadu, south of Chennai. So far, around 800 young people have had a successful start to their careers. Most have found a job in the large, well-known organizations located in and around Chennai. The Nagapattinam region is poor, populated mainly by farmers and fishers, and suffered enormously from the 2004 tsunami.

School project in China

A primary school in the Chinese village of Haijin in Sichuan Province devastated by an earthquake in May 2008 was rebuilt with support from Freudenberg and reopened in 2009. The building has space for up to 300 schoolchildren and can give them a good start to their education. Freudenberg employees visit the school every year and organize various activities such as the summer camp, extra tuition and a Christmas party.

„Service Day” in North America

Every year, more than 60 Freudenberg sites in North America take part in a range of corporate citizenship activities. A large number of employees again came together for the 2022 “Service Day” to plant trees, clean up parks and install water towers.

Freudenberg Foundation

Since 1984, the Freudenberg Foundation has been helping to bring about real, long-term change by promoting inclusion, education and democracy. As a non-profit company, the Foundation is a Partner of Freudenberg & Co. KG. The main focus of all its projects is the social, linguistic, educational and professional integration of children and young people.