At Freudenberg, corporate citizenship has always been an integral part of corporate leadership and is practiced both inside and outside the company. The Group’s aim is to be a responsible corporate citizen in all states, countries and communities where it does business, and to be recognized as a good neighbor. For Freudenberg, corporate citizenship goes beyond the value chain – with many hundreds of projects around the sites.
- To strengthen its corporate citizenship, Freudenberg launched the “e²” (education and environment) international program in 2015. The objective is to give people access to education and work and to encourage environmental protection. e² complements existing initiatives based on a catalog of specific criteria. Over a 7-year period, Freudenberg is making available funds totaling €14 million.
- As part of a company-wide initiative, the Freudenberg Group supports numerous projects for the integration of refugees with donations totaling 2.6 million euros. Up to the end of 2016, the company supported more than 70 different initiatives in Germany and in the crisis regions – with particular emphasis on helping children and young people as well as on teaching language skills. To help refugees enter the job market, Freudenberg is now making roughly 15 trainee positions available. The remaining funds will be used exclusively for this purpose.
The following two examples illustrate the long-term nature of the local projects:
- Since 2009, Freudenberg has been offering young people the opportunity to complete dual study courses to qualify as welding technicians, plumbers, electricians, motor mechanics or machinists at a non-profit training center in Nagapattinam, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu south of Chennai. So far, some 400 young people have successfully set out on a career since the center was founded. The Nagapattinam region, with a population chiefly comprising low-income agricultural workers and fishermen, was very hard hit by the tsunami in 2004.
- An elementary school was rebuilt with Freudenberg’s help and opened in 2009 in Haijin, a village in Sichuan province, China, hit by an earthquake in May 2008. Freudenberg employees visit the school each year and organize various activities such as the summer school project, extra tuition and a Christmas party. A new multi-function hall was inaugurated in July 2016.
All projects focus primarily on children and young people and their social, language, educational and vocational integration.