Corporate Citizenship

We see corporate citizenship as an integral part of our responsibility for society. Many Freudenberg Group companies, sites and employees engage in local projects and initiatives, providing concrete aid in the spirit of responsible corporate citizenship.

Social responsibility in the Freudenberg Group over the years
  • 2011 Following the natural disaster in Japan on March 11, the management of Freudenberg called on employees to make donations to help affected colleagues in our Japanese partner company, NOK Corporation. The result exceeded all expectations. By early June, we were able to make a donation of 438,000 Euros. Of this sum, 219,000 Euros came directly from employee donations. This amount was then matched by the company itself.
  • 2009 Freudenberg opened a new primary school in the Chinese village Haijin, near the city of Jiangyou. The company rebuilt the village school, which had been completely destroyed by the devastating earthquake in the Sichuan region on May 12, 2008.
  • 2005 To promote tolerance, charity and community spirit, Freudenberg set up the "We do something" project fund. Every year, clubs, institutions and groups can apply to the fund for support with their projects.
  • 2005 In India, Freudenberg launched a sustainable support project designed to relieve the effects of a devastating tsunami in 2004. In Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu province, a training centre was established to provide young people living there with a basis for a better future. Since then, the Freudenberg Training Centre has received "State Level Recognition" certification from the state of Tamil Nadu.
  • 2002 The company-wide initiative "We all take care" is started, based on the company’s business principles. The aim was to promote the safety and health of all employees, the environment, the awareness of corporate responsibility and site security.
  • 1999 To celebrate its 150th anniversary, the company set up the TANNER youth program. This enables the children and grandchildren of employees across the world to travel to other Freudenberg locations and to stay as guests of the families of company employees. The company also made a donation to the city of Weinheim, covering two-thirds of the cost of restoring the city hall.
  • 1990 The partners set up the Carl Freudenberg support fund with a capital of 10 million DM for employees suffering severe financial hardship and for the payment of death benefits.
  • 1985 The new pension scheme for the administration of company pensions came into effect.
  • 1984 The Partners set up the Freudenberg Foundation with a capital of 3 million DM. The Foundation is a limited partner of the company, without voting rights. Its aim is to support the integration and promotion of disadvantaged groups and to encourage cultural projects.
  • 1962 To celebrate his 70th birthday, the Partners gave Richard Freudenberg the annual sum of 500,000 DM for a period of 10 years to support projects of his choice.
  • 1958 To commemorate his 70th birthday, Hans Freudenberg set up the Heiner and Walter Freudenberg Foundation to support gifted young people. This foundation operated from 1960 to 1978.
  • 1957 To mark the 100th birthday of master craftsman Georg Böhler, a prize was established for the graduates of vocational training schools. This prize was awarded every year up to 1970.
  • 1949 On the occasion of the company’s 100th anniversary, the Partners set up the Home Construction Fund. At the same time, two foundations with a 10-year term were donated to the cities of Weinheim and Schönau for the support of citizens in need.
  • 1942 To mark his 50th birthday, Richard Freudenberg donated 100,000 Reichsmark to the city of Weinheim for the construction of an indoor swimming pool. Walter and Annie Freudenberg donated the same sum in 1948 for the same purpose, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Walter Freudenberg joining the company.
  • 1938 To mark the 90th birthday of Friedrich Carl Freudenberg, the partners in Weinheim set up the Carl Freudenberg Foundation to support young people. Further funds were bestowed on the foundation in 1940 from the will of Helene Freudenberg.
  • 1924 After the end of hyperinflation and the currency reforms, the balance of the foundations’ funds were consolidated and handed over to the company's health insurance fund for administration.
  • 1918 Richard Freudenberg drew up the "service premium contract", an interest-bearing share in the company capital from which its employees would benefit. Workers were allowed to enter the scheme up to 1929. After that date, no further contracts were concluded, but interest was paid out for many years until the death of the last contract partner in 1992.
  • 1914 On the day of mobilisation for the First World War, Hermann Ernst Freudenberg set up a support fund for the families of the men called up to war. The company invested 1 Gold Mark per man per day. Employees joined in with voluntary contributions.
  • 1905 The company, as sole contributor, established a complementary benefit fund for employees.
  • 1904 To mark their silver wedding anniversary, Hermann Ernst and Helene Freudenberg set up a widows’ and orphans’ fund with a capital of 150,000 Gold Marks. Widows received 200 Marks per annum and orphans 50 Marks p.a.
  • 1903 Friedrich Carl Freudenberg set up an improvement fund with a capital of 100,000 Gold Marks and income of 4,000 Gold Marks per year. This fund guaranteed a small company pension to invalids from occupational diseases and accidents suffered at work.
  • 1902 Donation of municipal public baths to Schönau city.
  • 1894 On the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary, Carl and Sophie Freudenberg set up an assistance fund for employees and their families in financial hardship, with a capital of 100,000 Gold Marks and income of 6,500 Gold Marks per year.
  • 1893 Construction of a kindergarten in Schönau, donated to the Schönau parish by Friedrich Carl Freudenberg.
  • 1889 Johanna Freudenberg founded a church-run nursing station in Schönau.
Freudenberg Training Centre Nagapattinam in India

In the wake of the devastating tsunami in December 2004, Freudenberg built a Training Centre in Nagapattinam in the south Indian province of Tamil Nadu. It officially opened in 2008, with a vision to provide career and skills-oriented vocational training to young people, contributing to the creation of a sustainable future and bringing perspective to peoples’ lives.

  • Learn more about the Freudenberg Training Centre Nagapattinam in India
Earthquake aid project in China

On 31 August 2009, the Freudenberg Group officially opened the new primary school in Haijin village, near the city of Jiangyou, in time for the beginning of the school year. Guests attending the ceremony included the German Ambassador to China, Dr. Michael Schäfer, and the Consul General of Chengdu, Hans Mondorf, as well as other high-ranking local officials. The family-owned German company rebuilt the village school that had been completely destroyed by the horrific earthquake in the Sichuan region on May 12, 2008. Alongside immediate financial assistance, Freudenberg launched this long-term aid project as a gesture of help for and solidarity with the affected people. It is one of the company's largest aid projects outside Germany.

To finance the project, the company established the Freudenberg Help e.V. charity, shortly after the catastrophe. Members of the charity coordinated the project and made available the funds needed to rebuild the school. The funds were largely made up of donations from Freudenberg and its employees. Chinese Group companies also donated tangible goods and provided personnel services.

The new school carries Freudenberg's name in Chinese and is called Haijin Ke De Bao Primary School. In order to prevent another such disaster, Freudenberg placed great importance on making the school earthquake proof. The foundations were reinforced with 86 tons of steel, allowing the school to withstand earthquakes measuring up to 9 on the Richter scale. The two-storey school building extends to around 1,000m² and can accommodate up to 300 pupils. Additional facilities include a canteen of over 120m², a playground, a sports ground and a surrounding wall. Children were educated in temporary buildings while the construction works were taking place. As an emergency measure, employees of a Freudenberg company donated warm winter clothes in December 2008 to enable them to attend school in the unheated temporary buildings.

Freudenberg is striving for a long-term partnership with the school. Employees have voluntarily initiated a sustainable support programme that includes teacher training, provision of school supplies, books for a library and education support for poor children.

The school opening ceremony was also attended by the school's children and their parents, teachers, media, the Freudenberg project team and employees of the Group in China. The construction of the school was completed in just six months and is among the first reconstructed schools from a foreign donor.

Every summer since the school’s opening, Freudenberg managers have agreed to spend a few days at the school teaching the young people in various subjects.

"Wir tun was" (We do something)

Support for social institutions and initiatives in the communities where the Freudenberg Group operates is one of the company’s basic principles and is derived from the corporate guidelines. Since the resources available for such work are always limited, Freudenberg directly supports projects that deal with issues of tolerance, charity and community spirit. The donation is linked to the achievement of specific aims. Projects can receive financial support up to a maximum of 5,000 Euros.

Helping young people in Jacareí, Brazil

JAM means Jacareí Assists or Protects Young People. This private institution was founded in Jacareí (SP) in 1969 and legally acts as a NGO, receiving financial contributions from the government, private companies and other contributors.

Its mission is to support and assist people with learning difficulties from a low socio and economic background whose parents struggle to make ends meet. They deal mainly with children and young people, promoting their integration in social and working life, developing their skills and capabilities by special teaching and training.

Professional training for these young people with learning difficulties offers a variety of practical job experience, developing their skills for future integration in real jobs, attaining personal satisfaction and if possible, economic independence. JAM also offers them social assistance, medical care, sports and social activities.

Additionally, JAM also takes care of 260 young people aged between 16 and 18 from a low socio and economic background. JAM has initiated a special programme that places these young people with various companies in the region where they are employed as office support. Furthermore, JAM organizes extra classes for them on Saturdays. The aim is to give these young people a different outlook on life and to provide a new set of skills for future jobs.

Our work with the organization Our cooperation with JAM started many years ago when we employed the first group of young people as office support. The cooperation is still going strong today; at the moment, we have eight young people working for us as part of the program.

A couple of years ago, we decided to try and see if we could extend our cooperation with JAM. As an experiment, we moved the packaging of some of our products, mainly tapes and shirt collars, to one of JAM’s workshops. The results for both sides were good so we decided to move our collar welding production as well. Later we moved some of our production from the filter division: packaging for the aftermarket, mounting of plastic pieces on simple models, and cutting of air filters for kitchen extractors. This was just as successful and the commitment and enthusiasm of JAM’s young people was amazing.

Helping with free education

Thirty percent of all children in Brazil do not finish elementary school. Ten percent of all young people drop out of high school. A free, six-month professional training course from Freudenberg-NOK South America provides young people from low-income families with the opportunity to improve their vocational skills.

 The course’s very name indicates its goals: “Aprender para Transformar” or in English “Learning for Change.” Young men and women receive a basic certification in the course on how to operate a machine properly, for example. They also learn about marketing, administration and environmental protection. The course also includes classes in etiquette, as the business environment demands polite interaction with others as an important building block for good and constructive collaboration. An examination committee composed of executives and experts from Freudenberg-NOK South America evaluates the students’ final papers. “It gives the students an extra push to really step up and perform,” says George Rugitsky, President of Freudenberg-NOK South America.

One special feature of the course is having experts from the company teach the courses. As Rugitsky explains, it is a factor that has a very positive impact on employees: “It improves their self-confidence and leadership skills.” In addition the working environment is improved when employees look outside the box. The successful initiative also polishes the company’s image. “The
course allows us to make a meaningful contribution to society and give something back. It has found a lot of recognition,” says Rugitsky. 

Since 2009 we have trained 176 students. About 24 percent of them (42 people) now work for the company while half of the remaining graduates have found work in other companies.

Relay for life

The “Keep Hope Alive” team of Freudenberg Household Products participates in annual American Cancer Association’s Relay for Life fundraising events in Bolingbrook, IL. Through a variety of fundraising activities such as bake sales and T-shirts sales, they rally support from their family, friends, and neighbors, increasing their contribution to American Cancer Association for cancer treatment and research support with every event.

Giving Garden

In honor of Chem-Trend's 50th anniversary in 2010, employees at the company's North American headquarters dedicated a community garden on the grounds of the Howell, Michigan offices to contribute to area food sources for those in need. The garden was conceptualized and named by a team of Chem-Trend employees who, along with some family members and community volunteers, worked to plant, water, weed and harvest fresh vegetables and herbs throughout the growing season for delivery to the local Gleaners Community Food Bank.

Every year, the garden averages 2,000 of fresh produce that is donated to church charitable pantries and soup kitchens in southeastern Michigan.

Many Chem-Trend employees volunteer time in the garden, some as frequently as several hours each week and some work side-by-side with family members who volunteer their time. The project is greatly supported and encouraged by Chem-Trend's executive committee, which has granted employees one hour a week from their work time to volunteer in the garden. Other support has come from local businesses and organizations in the form of sponsorships, services donated and employee volunteer groups.