Our commitment to society

Our donations and sponsorship activities complement the wide-ranging contributions made by the personal commitment of our employees worldwide.

Strategy and Management

Our commitment comprises donations and sponsorship with a special focus on activities that complement our purpose: Leading beyond chemistry to improve life, today and tomorrow. We only sponsor projects and initiatives that fit our core brand and reflect our social values. In addition, our aim is to foster the positive development of society around our sites worldwide.

Our operating units support their own projects tailored to their business and local communities—within our strategic guidelines, which are set out in our policies on donations and sponsorship. Overall, we concentrate our social commitment on the areas of education and science, social projects, culture, and sports.

In addition, Evonik contributes to society in a variety of different ways. You can find out more in our sustainability report 2020.

Donations and Sponsorship

Evonik provided €3.7 million for donations and sponsorship projects in 2020. This budget was used principally for science & education, social projects, culture & the arts, and sports.

Focus on public projects

The Evonik Foundation

The Evonik Foundation has a special place in Evonik's social commitment. Its motto is supporting people because it is people who shape the future. The Evonik Foundation pursues its goals through its own programs and projects and by making donations to support projects run by other organizations. The foundation’s mission defines young people, science, Germany, and integration as its key areas of focus. Every application for support is evaluated on the basis of the foundation’s mission. To qualify for assistance, a project must meet at least two of the key criteria and must fall within one of the focal areas of the foundation’s mission: education, science, culture and the arts, the church, social projects, and sports. The Evonik Foundation’s support centers primarily on the areas close to Evonik’s sites in Germany.

The Evonik Group's activities in 2020

The Young Spirit initiative lives from the commitment of our employees, who enjoy passing on their enthusiasm for science to children aged between four and ten on a voluntary basis. A new digital collaboration platform with video-based content enables the volunteers to pass on their knowledge without being tied to specific times or locations. This initiative is increasingly becoming an international network, with volunteers conducting self-organized experimental days at preschools and schools and encouraging children’s passion for science with the aid of hands-on experiments. The number of volunteers has now increased to around 250.

We have close contact with many schools close to our sites. Since 2019, we have been working continuously to improve the Evonik Cyber Classroom for our partner schools. This virtual 3D learning system is available as an app for smartphones and tablet PCs for use in chemistry lessons. A Flemish version has now been introduced in Belgium.

Given the history of our predecessor companies, we are extremely sensitive to attempts to trivialize the Nazi period. We therefore support institutions that are committed to remembrance of the victims of the holocaust and that clearly reject all forms of discrimination and racism. Some of the sponsorship projects we had planned with our partners for 2020 had to be canceled due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, we continued our partnership with the Jewish Museum in Berlin (intonations chamber music festival), the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, and the Frankfurt History Museum (preparations for an exhibition on Frankfurt in the Nazi period).

In 2020, we also continued our support for the Balthasar-Neumann choir and ensemble under their conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. Moreover, in Essen, where our company is headquartered, we supported the Ruhr piano festival, the lit.RUHR literature festival, and the “TUP in schools” theater program for children and young people. Evonik hopes that live projects with the partners it sponsors will be possible once again in 2021.

Evonik supports both popular and professional sports activities. For example, through the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy, we aim to encourage kids’ passion for soccer around the world. In 2020, the soccer academy extended its international partnerships, for example, with soccer schools in South Korea, Vietnam, India, and Egypt. The new sustainability partnership between BVB and Evonik launched at the start of the 2020/21 season kicked off with a joint project in the academy—the development of training unit centering on anti-discrimination and anti-racism. The concept will first be tested in Germany and then adjusted before being rolled out as a firm part of training worldwide. A new element of training for coaches is the role of welfare office to handle reports of sexual harassment and abuse. This now has a firm place in international training of coaches at the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy.

In addition, Evonik supported many social and ecological projects in 2020, including Saber Viver (learning to live) at the Barra do Riacho site in Brazil. Through various educational and socio-cultural programs, this initiative fosters children and young people in order to strengthen bonds with families, schools, and the community. Together with the WWF and Beiersdorf, Evonik is involved in the TABIN project to protect the rain forest and wild animals in Malaysia. In South Africa, we supported various projects by the Utho Ngathi organization, which encourages the integration of young people with disabilities in rural areas.

Evonik also made a contribution to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and made donations to many local charities. For example, as part of an initiative at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Thailand, Evonik produced hand sanitizers, which were donated to the Rayong and Chantaburi provinces. In Malaysia, Evonik supported local non-profit organizations helping communities that were particularly badly affected by COVID-19 in their fight against the virus.

You can read more about Evonik's activities during the pandemic in the special section on our website: “Looking Forward—Evonik during the pandemic”

The Evonik Foundation's activities in 2020

The Evonik Foundation supports measures aimed, in particular, at upcoming scientists, and educational programs for socially disadvantaged children and young people.

In October 2020, the Evonik Foundation organized its annual meeting for scholarship students—naturally with a pandemic-compliant concept—enabling the students to network with one another even in these difficult times and giving them an opportunity to talk to their mentors. The mentoring program is a key element in the scholarships awarded by the Evonik Foundation. Scholarship students are assigned to an experienced mentor whom they can contact with questions on any aspect of research.

Educational projects supported by the Evonik Foundation included “Die Bessermacher”, a project developed by the charity Essener Chancen to provide special support to ninth grade students at Essen Nord-Ost high school as they prepare for their final school examinations. In September the Essen Nord-Ost high school was awarded second place in the German Schools Award. Diversity and integration were the key aspects honored by this award, which testifies to the strong and broadly based commitment by the teachers and the school's extensive extra-curricular alliances like the project “Die Bessermacher.”

A range of other projects were aimed at educationally disadvantaged children and young people. Maximilian-Kolbe school in Saerbeck (Germany) was happy to receive 15 new iPads for children learning German as a second language. The purchase was made possible by the Evonik Foundation. Gerhart-Hautpmann school in Rüsselsheim-Königstädten (Germany) received support from the Evonik Foundation for a multipurpose room for science lessons.

The Evonik Foundation sponsors an art therapy project for children with cancer organized by the Essen University Hospital Medical Foundation at the West German Proton Therapy Center in Essen. In 2020, this project won a special award health and support presented by Essen.Gesund.Vernetzt—Medizinische Gesellschaft e.V. During radiotherapy therapy, the children have to wear a thermoplastic mask that is so firmly fixed they cannot move. At the art therapy sessions, the children can paint their masks. That gives the children strength and reduces their fear of treatment.

In the sports world, in 2020, the Evonik Foundation and BVB’s “leuchtet auf” foundation organized a competition for ideas on how to promote exercise and healthy eating in Dortmund (Germany). The aim is to help schools, initiatives, organizations and clubs run innovative, health-promoting projects that encourage children and young people to adopt a more responsible lifestyle by eating healthily and taking more exercise.

The Evonik Foundation awards scholarships through the following programs:

  • Evonik Foundation scholarship for science doctorates: In 2020, a total of 15 industry-related scholarships were awarded to doctoral students at eleven universities.
  • Germany Scholarship: For students who have a good academic record and demonstrate social commitment. At the start of the 2020/21 academic year, 45 students at eleven universities received a Germany Scholarship from the Evonik Foundation.
  • Scholarships for refugees studying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree at the Ruhr University in Bochum: A total of 24 students have received scholarships since the winter semester 2016/17.