Our social engagement
We are using our social commitment as a catalyst to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aimed at creating a world with greater justice, resilience and well-being for humans and the planet by 2030. As one of the world’s largest polymer companies, Covestro would like to use its position to work with different organizations in numerous regions in the world to advance projects for protecting the environment, improving the welfare of society, and stimulating the economy. To achieve this, a central unit in the company supports Group-wide efforts to plan and implement cooperative efforts with partners and award donations in order to work toward reaching the SDGs.
You can find some examples here and in our annual report.
We’re involved in these areas
Education and Science
We have collaborated on the Covestro-Tongij Eco-Construction & Material Academy with Tongij University in Shanghai since 2011. The Academy promotes innovations in the field of energy-efficient construction through teaching, research and development as well as a program for talented students. 1.5 million euros worth of investment, 49 grants awarded, around 1500 training courses in the field of “energy efficient construction”, 20 research projects, 30 research articles and financing of various professors – these are the successes we can look back on after 5 years of cooperation. In 2015, Covestro was awarded the “Shanghai Best Innovation Practice Award” for this collaboration.
Umeå Institute of Design
As part of a collaboration with the renowned Swedish Umeå Institute of Design and the Finnish design agency “Northern Works”, Covestro implemented the project “Magic: Revealed”. This enabled students to develop innovative designs in automotive construction that are made possible only through the use of polycarbonate. The success of the project is proven among other things by the valuable incentives and findings that were incorporated in the development of a car design study by Covestro for K 2016.
CAT Catalytic Center
Covestro has operated the CAT Catalytic Center together with RWTH Aachen since 2008. This aims at launching sustainable projects in which new types of catalysts play an essential role. Cardyon technology, which uses the waste gas CO₂ as a raw material in the manufacture of high-quality plastic for the first time, was a result of this collaboration. In various other projects, Covestro experts are carrying out research with the scientists from CAT as to how even more CO₂ can be incorporated into more products.
In Taiwan, Covestro is involved in the field of early learning with its MagicMaterial initiative targeting early scientific education for children. Using experiments and games suitable for children, around 200 schoolchildren from the Taichung Special Education School, Taipei School For The Hearing Impaired and the National University of Tainan’s Affiliated Hearing Impaired School gained insight into the world of science.
Covestro Science Lab
In Germany, Covestro runs the Covestro Science Lab. There, schoolchildren and students learn the step-by-step process for creating a product from plastic and how a modern company operates.
UK – “Design Innovation in Plastics”
Innovations are also promoted: in the United Kingdom, Covestro supports the “Design Innovation in Plastics” competition where design students can enter their plastics-based products. It is the oldest plastics design competition for students in Europe and has already produced plenty of good ideas and given young academics a foothold in the plastics industry.
Russia – “Bezgraniz Couture™”
In Russia, Covestro supports the project “Bezgraniz Couture™” (bez graniz means something along the lines of “without borders”) which aims to change the attitude of society to people with disabilities. In 2015, as part of “Mercedes-Benz-Fashion-Week Russia”, fashion for people with disabilities that was designed by students from the “British Higher School of Art and Design” in Moscow was presented in front of over 700 people. At K2016, some items of clothing and accessories for people with disabilities were exhibited at the Covestro stand – and Janina Urussowa, founder of Bez Graniz, also gave a presentation.
As part of its social engagement, Covestro promotes its employees’ voluntary projects and activities throughout the world.
In Spain, for example, Covestro employees support communities that have been particularly affected by the economic crisis. One focus is on the region of Tarragona. In 2015, the Covestro workforce collected food and toys that were then distributed to families in need via aid organizations.
At the company’s locations in the USA, staff members from South Charleston in West Virginia have been involved as volunteers in projects run by the aid organization “Habitat for Humanity ” in the Kanawha and Putnam County regions. In 2015, this involved renovations, deconstruction work and the construction of homes for those in need. Overall, Covestro employees donated 5,500 hours worth of voluntary work for “Habitat for Humanity”, in particular for the “Raise the Roof” project where new homes for low-income families were constructed. On average, 15 to 20 employees have been involved in “Raise the Roof” every year since 2005, many of them in their own spare time.
In this context, Covestro has introduced the new concept “Skills-based Volunteerism (SBV)” for voluntary activities in the locations of Pittsburgh, and Baytown in the state of Texas. SBV deploys staff teams to charity organizations to provide them with support. This also helps employees because they learn new skills.
In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Texas. In addition to providing financial support to the U.S. Red Cross, Covestro and charity organization United Way put together activity kits for the children of employees at the Baytown site.
Covestro promotes sporting and cultural activities in the local communities where it is based. At the end of 2015, the company decided to continue with its support of the sports, culture and hobby associations in the German locations of Dormagen, Krefeld-Uerdingen and Leverkusen. Together with Wuppermann Bildungswerk Leverkusen, the company also offers training courses for refugees so that they can potentially begin an apprenticeship with us. We have also built a prefab house made from our materials in a refugee home in Bergisch Gladbach in cooperation with French prefab house manufacturer Logelis – and hopefully many more will follow.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Covestro is a member of the UN Global Compact, among other initiatives, and is also active in econsense, a forum for sustainable economy. We are also involved in social projects such as “Habitat for Humanity”, an aid project that helps provide homes as part of disaster relief and development work. Together with customers and charitable and governmental organizations, we endeavor to find solutions using our materials that prevent food from spoiling, improve the hygiene situation in rural or poorer regions of the world and provide affordable housing.
Decisions regarding partnerships and donation amounts across the world are made by those responsible for these areas in each region. The impact of the respective activity in terms of sustainability is a decisive factor for us.
Within the context of our voluntary work for the “Raise the Roof” project in the USA, Covestro donated 50,000 US dollars to “Habitat for Humanity” in 2015.
Another donation of 300,000 US dollars was made to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh in the US state of Pennsylvania. The money was intended for the construction of the Covestro Employee Engagement Institute (CEEI) that is aimed at intensifying the relationships between companies and local charitable organizations. In addition, Covestro provides financial support for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank which will go toward expanding its Backpack Program for the region over the next three years.
As part of a collaboration with “Habitat for Humanity” in India, the construction of five houses commenced in 2015 for people in need in the Delhi region. The homes were built based on a new method of construction and form the first phase of the sustainability project “UMMEED KI AWAAS” in aid of families with particular needs, such as HIV infection. As in other places in the world, efficient Covestro materials suitable for quick home construction are used here, such as wall panels with a core of polyurethane hard foam, which has excellent insulating qualities.
Another of our special partnerships is with the United Nations: Together with the UN Environment Program, Covestro has launched a global competition for young adults so that they can share their sustainable ideas for a more livable world and work together with others on this issue. The website for the initiative is now online and the competition will run from 22 April to 18 June.
The “Young Champions of the Earth ” initiative honors young people that advocate for the environment with passion and exceptional potential. It is an extension of the “Champions of the Earth” program of the United Nations that honors excellent achievements from the past. In contrast, the new initiative focuses on potential future effects.
Covestro provides funding for sports associations, schools, and cultural events at the German sites in Brunsbüttel, Dormagen, Krefeld-Uerdingen, Leverkusen and Markt Bibart.
In partnership with the charitable organization United Way, Covestro collected donations in fundraising campaigns conducted at its American sites. The funds consist of personal donations made by employees, income from benefit events, and a financial corporate donation.
Covestro also partners with betterplace.org, a charitable organization supporting over 20,000 projects worldwide through donations and volunteer work. The projects range from aid for children, through environmental and animal protection to education and development aid projects.
Australia – “Soft Landing product stewardship”
In Australia, Covestro joined the Soft Landing product stewardship scheme which is designed to reduce the negative impacts of mattresses by implementing a closed recycling loop. Furthermore, the program creates jobs and training opportunities for people who have difficulty finding work in the open labor market.
Covestro has made a direct contribution to the UN sustainability goal “Affordable and clean energy” (UN SDG No. 7) by joining the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, an organization aimed at initiating cooperations between start-ups, established companies, institutions and organizations in producing, implementing and using clean technologies. Covestro is a strategic committee member of the organization.
With our innovative technologies and solutions, we also pursue the goal of reaching 10 million people in underserved markets with Covestro products by 2025. This involves working with customers, government agencies and non-governmental organizations to develop affordable solutions to provide new business models and solutions based on our technologies and products aimed at improving the economic and social situation in these regions. Our focus in these efforts is on affordable living spaces, sanitary facilities and food security. All of these solutions must be scalable, i.e. they must be economically viable in the foreseeable future and cannot remain dependent on donations or subsidies over the long term.
Under the SunRise Initiative, for instance, there is a partnership with the German investment corporation, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG). This sustainable business model makes it possible to contribute innovative solutions in a way that benefits people in developing and emerging economies.