Sustainability

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 the framework of our policies on donations and sponsorship. Overall, our commitment concentrates 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 2023.

Donations and Sponsorship

Evonik provided € 5.4 million for donations and sponsorship projects in 2022. 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 2022

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. Thanks to a new digital collaboration platform with video-based content, our volunteers are not tied to specific times or locations. This initiative is increasingly becoming an international network, with volunteers offering 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. 

Sponsorship of live public events in 2022 was still overshadowed by the Covid pandemic. Nevertheless, most of these events were able to take place provided that strict precautions were observed. At the start of the year, Evonik was involved in the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the Folkwang Museum in Essen (Germany), which were inaugurated by Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Evonik sponsored a major Impressionist exhibition at this modern art museum, which attracted nearly 140,000 visitors during the year. The Ruhr theater festival, the Ruhr piano festival, and the lit.ruhr literature festival all took place with audiences. In 2022, we also supported the intonations chamber music festival, a series of high-caliber concerts at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which proved very popular with audiences. To train young people in the culture of debating, Evonik initiated the #mitreden competition in collaboration with the Rheinische Post newspaper. The finalists held a debate in the regional parliament in Düsseldorf.

Evonik supports both popular and professional sports activities. As the main international sponsor and sustainability partner of the Borussia Dortmund (BVB) soccer team, we aim to interest children around the world in soccer through the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy and to use this project to address social and societal issues.

Following a break caused by the Covid pandemic, in the 2022/2023 season, the vacation programs for young players were resumed in Dortmund (Germany), Poland, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. As part of the BVB IA Evonik Camp Series, three coaches from the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy visited the USA in July.

We continued to develop the anti-discrimination and anti-racism project by running a number of workshops with new exercises. Another ongoing topic is preventing sexual harassment and sexual abuse in sport. Children from the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy took part in a theater production focusing on strengthening young people’s awareness. In addition, further modules on preventing interpersonal violence in sport were developed. The BVB Evonik Soccer Academy also extended its international partnerships in 2022. For example, the Willy-Brandt school in Warsaw (Poland) opened its own academy, where around 530 kids play soccer in BVB’s yellow and black kit colors. The BVB International Academy America continued to grow. It now has about 3,400 players at 13 affiliates in the USA and one in Canada. A youth team at the North Texas affiliate provided a sporting highlight by winning the US Club Championship. 65 youngsters attended vacation camps on the soccer pitches at the German schools in Tokyo (Japan) and Seoul (South Korea) featuring various soccer techniques and the Life Kinetik® training method. In Ghana, a youth team had an intensive training session with coaches from the BVB Evonik Soccer Academy. During a tour of Asia in November 2022, the professional soccer team held training sessions for around 60 children.

Furthermore, in 2022, Evonik supported the Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) initiative of the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown (Pennsylvania, USA), highlighting its continuing support for diversity and education in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and IT). WISE was set up in 2014 as apart of the Science Center’s broader commitment to supporting women and girls in STEM subjects. The initiative aims to create a supportive community for women working in STEM fields and to support girls interested in related career paths. The annual WISE Forum—the initiative’s most important event—is an opportunity for women working in STEM fields to connect with interested high school girls. Other programs include networking events for professionals and STEM careers showcases for women and girls.

In Taiwan, Evonik took part in an educational program for schoolchildren for the first time. This event at San-Wei elementary school in Kaohsiung was organized by the German Trade Office (GTO). As the official representative of German multinational trade in Taiwan, the GTO has set itself the goal of fostering the social responsibility of its member companies and making a contribution to local communities through practical activities. For the first time, the GTO invited eight German companies to organize entertaining and instructive activities, including classroom teaching and outdoor exercises, at San-Wei elementary school. As one of the companies involved, Evonik developed and presented a 40-minute course on sustainability. During this enjoyable and inspirational session, staff from Evonik demonstrated the climate impact of human behavior.

In 2022, China suffered the worst outbreak of Covid 19 for two years. The new wave of infections was extremely challenging for cities like Shanghai, Jilin, Changchun, and Qingdao, where Evonik has facilities. Alongside joint efforts to safeguard continued operation of its plants, Evonik took voluntary measures to support schoolchildren during quarantine. At Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), which was the worst affected campus in the city, more than 30,000 students were placed under quarantine in their dorms. In a concerted action, Evonik’s Care Solutions business line, the HR department, and the trade union donated protective masks and disinfectants.

Other social and ecological projects supported by Evonik in 2022 included Saber Viver (learning to live) at the Barra do Riacho site in Brazil. This program runs various educational and socio-cultural programs for children and young people in order to strengthen bonds with families, schools, and the local community. The project offers workshops with activities such as sports, music lessons, robotics, and IT. Every week, it reaches more than 1,100 children and young people.

The Evonik Foundation's activities in 2022

The Evonik Foundation promotes projects that support young people as they prepare to live an independent life. Children and young people are challenged in many ways during their schooling to prepare them for their future working life and empower them to take on responsibility and balance individual freedom with community life. The aim is to build young people’s confidence in their abilities and thus open up perspectives for them. We realize this aspiration through more than 60 different projects and initiatives, for which we provided practical and financial support in 2022.

Sustained and systematic efforts are needed to strengthen STEM subjects throughout the education system. That is a central objective of the Evonik Foundation. Our partners—schools and educational initiatives—play an important part in supporting school students in their learning processes thanks to their strong practical focus.

At Petershagen elementary school in North Rhine-Westphalia, an association of friends and benefactors has set up a musical learning system to enable children to experience STEM subjects with and through music. Helmholtz high school in Essen encourages digital capabilities in combination with music in order to foster and identify children’s creative potential from an early age. In Mainz, Ensemble Chordial e.V. brings together choirs, singers, and instrumental musicians in a choral project to give school students, in particular, an opportunity to experience the full variety of music.

In our work as a foundation, we use soccer as an integrative element to support learning. One of the most successful projects in Germany is “Soccer meets Culture,” which was initiated by the Frankfurt-based organization LitCam gGmbH. 35 locations in 23 German towns and cities are involved in this inclusive education program in collaboration with the nationwide program partner DFL Foundation. Under the auspices of this program, the Evonik Foundation and MSV Duisburg partner with Herbert Gillo comprehensive school in Duisburg-Marxloh to create opportunities for third to sixth grade students from disadvantaged areas of the city. The concept combines soccer, language, and cultural elements to improve the students’ social and linguistic skills and strengthen their self-confidence. They attend twice weekly sessions divided between competence training and soccer training. At the end of the school year, participants from all locations meet up for a soccer meets culture tournament. In addition, the children regularly attend cultural events.

The “Girls on the Ball” initiative uses soccer as a medium for health promotion. The development of individuals and entire groups highlights the importance of engaging their educational and soccer abilities through intensive individual support. Gender-specific work plays an important part in this. Natural emancipation is supported by empowering the girls to play soccer, which has traditionally been a male sport.

One unique project is the nationwide “Die Bessermacher” project. As part of this, the Evonik Foundation and the social initiative Rot-Weiss Essen—Essener Chancen e.V.—provide individual study support for socially disadvantaged youngsters in the final years of school. The success of providing intensive support in this way over a number of years speaks for itself: It enabled 16 students to graduate from Essen Nord-Ost high school in 2022. In view of this success, this exemplary project has started on a second round. To continuously improve this multi-faceted educational program, academic input is provided by Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. 

Every year, the Evonik Foundation singles out voluntary programs where those involved show particularly high personal commitment. “Tierische Begleiter,” a charitable organization in Bielefeld, offers children, young people, and adults with physical, mental, and psychological impairments a space where they can interact with animals. Like the Carolinenhof run by the Regenbogen Foundation in Essen, this inclusive initiative is a place where children, young people, and their families have a chance to relax and take a break from daily life. It has been proven that animal-based therapies and alternatives to medical treatment can cure or at least alleviate symptoms of psychiatric, psychological/neurotic, and neurological disorders and mental and intellectual disabilities. The calming effect of contact with animals improves children’s concentration, memory, and attention span.

As a foundation with a strong focus on science, educational initiatives in the areas of ecology, biodiversity, and sustainability have an important place in our work. One example is the Bonnekamp Foundation in Essen-Katernberg, which helps children and young people experience nature through hand-on activities.

Grasping science in a very literal sense has been the motto of the Green Learning Workshop in Bonn since its refurbishment in 2022. For many years, this successful “nature school” has been organized by the Friends of the Botanical Garden at Bonn University to instill a passion for discovering natural science in talented youngsters from an early age. Practical activities and follow-up offerings encourage school classes to undertake their own investigations, build models, and present and discuss their findings.

For many years, we have partnered with Deutsche Kinderschutzbund Bundesverband e.V., a not-for-profit organization that has been working for decades to create a child-friendly society that encourages the mental, emotional, social, and physical development of children and young people. On World Children’s Day in September 2022, Kinderschutzbund unveiled a new public awareness campaign on violence, which is being rolled out in 2023.

At the heart of the Evonik Foundation’s work are a variety of scholarship programs. In 2022, the foundation supported two master’s theses and 14 doctoral degrees. In addition to funding, the scholarships include an extensive complementary program. At a scientific colloquium immediately after the start of their scholarship, the master’s and doctoral students present their research projects to mentors and research managers and discuss their initial results and findings. The scholarship students continue this scientific exchange at international symposia and conferences.

Since the start of the 2011/2012 academic year, the Evonik Foundation has also been involved in the Germany Scholarship, which provides support for socially committed students with a strong academic record. Through the Germany Scholarship, Germany’s central and regional governments, private organizations, and universities jointly support gifted students who are also engaged in voluntary work. In all, more than 1,900 German Scholarships have been awarded. In the 2022/2023 academic year, scholarships were awarded to 25 students at five universities.