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 social projects, education and science, culture, and sports.  

In addition, Evonik contributes to society in a variety of different ways. You can find out more in our sustainability report 2022.

Donations and Sponsorship

Evonik provided € 4.8 million for donations and sponsorship projects in 2021. This budget was used principally for education & science, culture & the arts, social projects, 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 2021

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 near 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 is now in use in Belgium. This app was presented to the conference of the Flemish association of science teachers at the Gent University in 2021 and was also a highlight at the Flanders-wide Digital Science Day.

In 2021, Evonik’s sponsorship activities were overshadowed by the second year of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the Ruhr theater festival in Recklinghausen (Germany) was able to celebrate its 75th anniversary with audiences—naturally with strict precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By contrast, Kultursymposium Weimar, an international cultural symposium organized by the Goethe Institute, which Evonik sponsored for the first time, was held as a digital edition focusing on "Generations.” Another area of sponsorship at Evonik was the debate about discrimination, antisemitism, and racism. Evonik resolutely rejects all forms of exclusion and supports both projects that address the past, especially the Nazi period, and projects that promote tolerance and diversity in today's world. With support from Evonik, an exhibition about Frankfurt and Nazism opened at the Historical Museum Frankfurt in fall 2021. Evonik works with the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt on the educational democracy project “MUTausbruch,” which was held as a digital workshop for 460 Evonik apprentices in 2021.

Evonik supports both popular and professional sports activities. As the main international sponsor and sustainability partner of the BVB soccer club, we want to give children worldwide a passion for soccer through the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy. At the same time, the goal is to activate this project as a platform for social and societal issues. At the beginning of the 2020/2021 season, we jointly started to develop an anti-discrimination & anti-racism training module. Following a test phase in Germany, the concept was refined to make it an integral part of the academy’s training routines around the world over the long term. International training of coaches at the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy is currently integrating a new safeguarding role to protect against sexual harassment and sexual abuse in sport.

The BVB Evonik Soccer Academy extended its international partnerships in 2021. The German School in Tokyo is now an official partner, and 100 kids there train all year round in the club’s black and yellow colors with BVB trainer Niklas Flechsig. In South Korea, the eleven best U11 players were given six weeks of professional advice and special training modules. The best four were then invited to the BVB youth training center in Dortmund (Germany), where they were coached by professionals. Several million Koreans followed the project on BVB’s social media channels. Two new locations in Pittsburgh and Miami have been added to the nine partner academies in the USA. More than 150 US trainers coached over 2,500 kids in black-and-yellow kit in 2021. The new branch of the academy in Poland established by former BVB team member Łukasz Piszczek continued its successful work.

As part of Evonik's relief effort after the catastrophic floods in western Germany in 2021, the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy donated new training equipment to a badly hit amateur club and invited the B youth team to Dortmund for a training session with the BVB coaches.

As well as providing disaster relief and support for people in emergencies, it is important to Evonik to provide material aid to enable people to live independently, with dignity, and without suffering. One priority is therefore providing specific support to help people with disabilities acquire personal skills and competencies to allow them to work as independently as possible. In collaboration with Sarthak Educational Trust, Evonik therefore supports a program that fosters digital skills.

Evonik also supports a community in the Indian state of Maharashtra, a region that suffers water shortages. Every day, women and girls walk to a well more than three miles away to obtain clean water. They carry up to 20 liters of water on their heads, which causes damage to their necks and spine over time. Moreover, this time-consuming task prevents the girls going to school. In collaboration with Habitat for Humanity India, Evonik is supporting a Water Wheels initiative to give them safe access to good quality water. The wheels enable them to transport larger quantities of water, which saves time as well as protecting their health. There are now more than 2,000 water wheels in use in the region, and Evonik is proud to be making a positive contribution to the community and the local environment.

Evonik also supports the projects and relief work of the Freedom4U Foundation in India. During the coronavirus pandemic, donations funded the purchase of ambulances with life-saving medical appliances. The ambulances were used for fast and safe transportation of patients, for example, in a suburb of Mumbai. Funding was also provided to renovate a school that had been badly damaged by a tornado in 2020. As well as weather-proofing the school yard and building toilets for boys and girls, the funds were used to install a tap for drinking water and hand-washing. This project also provides training in digital skills for women and girls from slum areas.

In Mumbai, Evonik is also involved in the Tarun Utkarsh Vidya Mandir project, which provides funding and assistance for schools for the purchase of masks, school uniforms, and educational materials. Another project provided assistance with the purchase of a Braille printer to produce books for pupils at Jagriti School for Blind Girls Maharashtra. In addition, Evonik provided support for the Akshaya Patra Family Happiness Kit, a program that puts together care packages (flour, rice, spices, oil, sanitary products, medical products, paper and pens) and distributes them to women and their families. This program supported nearly 4,000 women in Mumbai in 2021.

In Singapore, Evonik sponsors the Singapore National Parks Board and therefore makes a contribution to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The funds are used for research and nature protection work and the Botanic Gardens’ educational programs. The present Trees of the World project aims to digitize the garden's library records so they can be made available to the global scientific community and give people in Singapore better access to the botanical collection. The library includes 850,000 old books, botanical artworks, herbarium sheets, etc., including some which are up to 500 years old. In addition, funding is provided for projects to reintroduce native species.

In 2021, Evonik also supported many other social and ecological projects including Saber Viver (learning for life) at its site in Barra do Riacho (Brazil). This initiative runs a variety of educational and sociocultural programs for children and young people to foster links with families, schools, and the local community. For example, many IT appliances such as desktops, monitors, and laptops were donated to Saber Viver, where they can now be used in the Computer Workshop Center. This program currently reaches out to 290 children and young people.

The Evonik Foundation's activities in 2021

The Evonik Foundation supports measures aimed, in particular, at upcoming scientists, and educational programs for socially disadvantaged children and young people. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the Evonik Foundation successfully continued its work—albeit with some constraints. Here are some examples of its wide-ranging activities.

Scholarships from the Evonik Foundation are awarded exclusively to science students for master’s and doctoral theses, with a different focus each year. Most of the scholarships are granted to PhD students. The aim of the Evonik Foundation's scholarship program is to provide optimal support for talented scientists, both financially and through a mentoring program. In 2021, scholarships were awarded for 13 doctoral theses and 2 master’s theses. Since 2011, the Evonik Foundation has been one of the biggest sponsors of the Germany Scholarship, which is awarded to students who demonstrate strong social commitment as well as a good academic record. 45 students at 12 universities received a Germany Scholarship from the Evonik Foundation in the 2021/2022 academic year. Gifted school students with severe disabilities who strive to graduate from high school deserve special support. Therefore, the Evonik Foundation sponsors three scholarships awarded by the charity Lebensspur e.V. in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia to young people who require special help and assistance. Each scholarship is for three years, starting from 2021.

A second inclusive project supported by Evonik Foundation is “Carolinenhof” in Essen (Germany), which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2022 under the auspices of the Regenbogen Foundation. At this riding school, young people with impairments resulting from illness or an accident are taught horse-riding to help them regain their zest for life.

The German children's charity Kinderschutzbund makes an important contribution to the wellbeing of children and young people through its learning spaces, for example at Zeche Zollverein. Initiatives like these offer practical assistance to foster equality of opportunity, for example, by providing regular meals or supervising homework.

Gifted children have above-average abilities and interests. That can lead to problems both at school and in their social lives. It is therefore very important to identify exceptional talent early on and provide suitable guidance. Evonik Foundation therefore provides support for HerausForderung e.V., a charitable organization that addresses the needs of such children.

The Evonik Foundation pays special attention to fostering scientists. Here are some examples:

Encouraging kids’ interest in natural phenomena, for example, through exciting experiments, fits in well with the foundation’s mission. Voerde high school was therefore delighted to receive new lab equipment. The Glückspilze nature kindergarten in Haltern am See, which is also sponsored by the Evonik Foundation, shows that interest in nature can be encouraged at an even younger age. The preschool kids are able to develop in and with nature, with priority being given to discovering and using natural materials. The Uphof kindergarten in Hamm also encourages children to develop their innate curiosity. What better way to do that than with a research lab for young scientists.

At Mannlich School in Zweibrücken, a digital garden is cared for with a “green-fingered” robot. This project sponsored by the Evonik Foundation combines the benefits of digitalization with learning about sustainable gardening. The Robotics Working Group at the Burggymnasium high school in Essen also benefits from donations by the Evonik Foundation.

The VEGA association is the right address for young poeple who are interested in astronomy. Thanks to financial support from the Evonik Foundation, VEGA was able to run a two-week astronomy summer camp to help teenagers and young adults to extend their educational horizons.

Language is the key to successful integration. Therefore, the Evonik Foundation made a donation to help the adult education center in Hanau (Germany) set up a program to support the learning and language abilities of refugees and immigrants.

These examples show how the Evonik Foundation supports education, science, and research, including small projects run by other organizations, and fosters the personal development of young participants.