For the Volkswagen Group, corporate social responsibility means commitment to local well-being beyond the factory gates. Our priorities include support for future-oriented, education and social projects, primarily in the locations where the Group operates. But we also offer rapid support to the victims of natural disasters and we promote volunteering by our employees.
Commitment to the Regions
We are committed to the regions in which our sites are based:
a sustainable environment that is pleasant to live in gives a region the edge in competition for business, boosts local employees’ quality of life, and makes us more attractive as an employer. This is why, for example, Volkswagen AG supports regional growth initiatives in areas including education, health, leisure, energy and transport alongside a broad range of measures to promote business.
Wolfsburg AG, based within the Group headquarters in Wolfsburg (Germany), provides a fine example here. This public-private partnership with the City of Wolfsburg, launched in 1999, is involved in future-oriented projects focusing on the important
topics of employment and quality of life. And this joint undertaking is proving very successful: in November 2013, Wolfsburg topped the table for economic growth in a survey of German towns and cities by the business magazine Wirtschaftswoche and scored very highly for tax revenue, productivity and women’s employment. And the entire region now benefits from the work done to develop structures and local amenities. Wolfsburg AG works closely with the “Allianz für die Region GmbH”, or Regional Alliance, which takes in the towns of Wolfsburg, Braunschweig and Salzgitter and the surrounding rural areas as well as regional businesses.
Mobile doctor’s surgery: the administrative district of Wolfenbüttel is
piloting solutions for providing healthcare in rural areas and for housebound patients as a pilot region in the “Health in the Future Regions” project. 35
Commitment to Education
We also use our expertise in mobility and road safety in school education projects. Just one of many examples from companies within the Group is the “Parque Polo”, an area providing road safety training through play for children and sited in the grounds of the Volkswagen Navarra plant (Pamplona, Spain). The park was opened in 1999 and is aimed at children aged five to 15. It is a community project run by Volkswagen Navarra and the Navarra savings bank foundation and supported by the regional government and a number of local businesses. In 2013, the park attracted 7,100 schoolchildren, taking the total numbers visiting the park since it was opened to 105,050.
In addition to regional infrastructure projects, Volkswagen is also actively involved in education in the region. The “Neue Schule Wolfsburg” project, an initiative to set up a new school in Wolfsburg in partnership with the city and local businesses, opened its doors in August 2009. This primary and secondary school, which is open to all children from the City of Wolfsburg and the surrounding region, designs its curriculum around five key themes: a strong international focus, science and technology, business, the arts, and the promotion of talent. In the current (2013/2014) school year, the school has some 600 students in years 1 to 4 and 5 to 9 (those aged between six and nine and between ten and 14). 36
As well as school-based educational projects, many Group locations have also launched road safety initiatives. Porsche AG, for example, runs its “Kids Driving School” across Germany. This unique initiative, developed with Ferrero and its “Kinder Surprise” range, enables children to learn road safety through play.
ŠKODA, too, is constantly expanding its road safety training activities. The multimedia tool “Playful ŠKODA” is aimed primarily at school-age children and helps young children to get to grips with the concepts and rules of road traffic. This interactive tool can be accessed in four languages via the ŠKODA website.
Volkswagen takes enormous pride in its commitment to volunteering. The “Volkswagen pro Ehrenamt” (Volkswagen Supports Volunteering) initiative is aimed both at current employees and their partners and at retirees. It operates as a clearing house, linking community initiatives looking for volunteers with Volkswagen staff wanting to help their society. The aim is to boost the profile of volunteering in the public perception and to support and promote volunteering. However, we also gain from having employees who devote their free time to their local community and thereby enhance their social skills. “Volkswagen pro Ehrenamt” is thriving: during summer 2013, for example, more than 700 Volkswagen employees volunteered to help the victims of flooding in Germany.
Employee volunteers enjoy the support and appreciation of their line managers, too. In 2013 alone, line managers held more than 950 debriefings with volunteers, and by the end of the reporting year, the initiative had placed around 1,700 volunteers. Similar programs have now been introduced in other Group companies, including Audi, MAN and ŠKODA.
The Volkswagen Group also supports volunteering by its employees at locations around the world. For example, Porsche supports the work done by the charity “Un Techo Para Mi País” (A Roof
for My Country) in more than a dozen countries in Latin America, including Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Since 1997, this charity – which now works across 19 Latin American and Caribbean counties – has been helping to provide permanent housing for socially disadvantaged and isolated people and to integrate them into stable communities. Financial support from Porsche has helped to build more than 250 homes over the past two years, and more than 2,000 volunteers have been involved, including the Porsche Latin America team but also staff from local Porsche importers.
Around 1,700 Volkswagen volunteers have been placed since 2008.
The Volkswagen Group’s commitment to donations and sponsorship is a key part of our corporate identity and reflects our desire to fulfill our corporate social responsibility. We support a wide range of organizations and events around the world. The principles underpinning donations and sponsorship are governed by our Group-wide Code of Conduct, which stipulates that we give donations in cash and in kind for activities and projects primarily devoted to research and education, culture and sport, and social causes.
Volkswagen AG is committed to research, education, charitable purposes, sport, culture, general welfare and other causes, and churches, religious bodies and learned bodies. Volkswagen grants donations only to organizations recognized to be non-profit or that are authorized by special provisions to accept donations. Volkswagen does not donate to political parties, party-affiliated foundations or representatives of the political arena. Over the reporting year, Volkswagen AG donated a total of €19 million. 2013 donations supported social bodies but also gave particular help to the victims of major natural disasters: the relevant Group brands and companies provided support for those affected by flooding across Europe (see overview).
Total donations by Volkswagen AG in 2013
The total value of giving does not include the “Volkswagen Belegschaftsstiftung” (Volkswagen Employees’ Foundation), set up in 2011. Volkswagen made no donations to political parties, party-affiliated foundations or representatives of the political arena.
In 2013, employees of Volkswagen AG alone gave more than €3.5 million to good causes. Workforce donations represent a major contribution by Volkswagen AG companies and their employees to those in need in locations where the Company operates, including the “Starthilfe” (Getting Started) project devoted to combating the growing problem of child poverty in the Wolfsburg region.
In the “One Hour for the Future” campaign, Volkswagen and Audi employees donate an hour’s pay to help street children. Since the summer of 2003, this initiative has also included the collection of “spare cents”: employees donate the odd cents included in their monthly pay slip.
Employees at Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and MAN also donated around €1.7 million to victims of flooding in Germany; the money helped support a number of reconstruction projects in the four federal states affected.
The Volkswagen Employees’ Foundation
The Volkswagen Employees’ Foundation was set up in 2011 as a charitable foundation by Volkswagen AG with the aim of promoting initial, continuing and vocational training, education, and support for young people, with a particular focus on improving the living conditions of children and adolescents regardless of their origin, background or beliefs. To achieve this effectively, the Volkswagen Employees’ Foundation restricts its activities to areas surrounding the Group’s locations worldwide. It focuses primarily on vocational training for socially disadvantaged young people. For the purposes of implementation, the Foundation partners with the children’s charity “terre des hommes”; this charity oversees projects supported by the Foundation, particularly those outside Germany, works alongside local cooperation partners, and monitors the progress of projects. Since 2011, the Volkswagen Employees’ Foundation has launched or supported six projects in Germany and elsewhere in line with its aims.
Volkswagen AG: Workforce Donations in 2013
|“One Hour for the Future”
|“A chance to play – o direito de brincar”
At the suggestion of the General Works Council, Volkswagen AG has been selling Fairtrade-branded products in its catering facilities via its catering provider, Service Factory Gastronomie und Hotellerie, since 1999. Fairly traded products help producers in developing countries to earn an independent and dignified livelihood, and support for Fairtrade has been growing across the Group: in 2013, for example, total consumption of Fairtrade coffee rose 4.3% to 48.5 t. And since 2012, Volkswagen has also been selling Fairtrade craft items: producers in Madagascar use recycled cans to produce model vehicles based on the iconic VW Beetle and VW Transporter T2.