Covestro Group at a Glance – Social Responsibility
Covestro also aims to contribute to sustainable development through social engagement. As one of the world’s largest polymer companies, Covestro uses its position to work with different organizations in numerous regions around the world to advance projects for protecting the environment and improving and supporting the welfare of society. Donations, sponsorship programs, and partnerships are active expressions of Covestro’s commitment to local registered charities in the vicinity of Covestro’s sites and to various organizations in countries in which the company does business. Covestro maintains long-standing and strategic partnerships with various universities, for example. This includes cooperating with renowned partners throughout the world, such as RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Tongji University in Shanghai (China), and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, United States).
As an innovative company, we focus on innovation, local social management, promoting education, and sharing information about technology. Our focal areas are determined with the help of the Board of Management. What is more, we consider it our duty and corporate responsibility to quickly provide help during natural disasters without unnecessary bureaucracy.
There is a Group-wide directive in place that stipulates approval criteria for donations by Covestro along with the underlying responsibilities and decision-making processes. A transparent approval process with the participation of compliance experts, among others, ensures that the funds are received by those who need them and are disbursed to recognized organizations in accordance with our guidelines. We define recognized organizations as organizations with an extremely low risk of corruption that are known by the general public. Donations must be handled responsibly, and this is ensured by making it a requirement that approval is obtained for annual donation plans in advance from local compliance officers and local executives, department heads, or plant managers. The managers of the corporate Sustainability & Public Affairs function must also be included in all donation activities. Sustainability & Public Affairs additionally provides support for planning and participation in partnerships and donation processing.
In the reporting year, Covestro provided assistance during natural disasters in Germany and China, among other things, donating materials and amounts in the mid-six-digit euros and giving employees days off to help with relief efforts so that local support could be provided quickly. We also partnered with virtual donation site betterplace.org, which coordinates and supports donation drives across Germany. Covestro employees all over the globe were given the opportunity to donate to selected organizations using the intranet, with the company matching each donation up to a total of €175,000. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Covestro donated IT equipment for virtual learning to educational institutions worldwide, in addition to masks and disinfectants.
Alliance to End Plastic Waste
Another strategic focal area of our social engagement efforts is aligned with our corporate vision. We recognize the public’s interest in how plastic waste is dealt with. Covestro not only actively contributes to ensuring the full circularity of its own products, but also channels plastic products at the end of their life cycle to controlled material streams so they do not pollute the environment. We do so particularly as an active founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. This global network of companies strives to minimize, manage, and reuse plastic waste – and above all, prevent plastic waste from entering the environment. By the end of the year 2023, USD 1.5 billion (around €1.3 billion) is expected to have been provided for this purpose by the network. More than 65 companies from the chemical, plastic, consumer goods, and waste management sectors currently participate in this initiative.
For Covestro, the Alliance is a key component of the strategic Circular Economy program to close product loops worldwide. The Alliance identifies, invests in, and manages economically viable and sustainable waste collection and recycling solutions in cities with the support of strategic partners. Furthermore, the Alliance unlocks market opportunities for recycled materials and promotes the development of improved recycling processes and potential closed-loop products. These measures aim to transform unused and improperly disposed of plastic waste into sources of raw materials. The Alliance also advocates for sustainable consumer habits.
Covestro contributes to the Alliance not only financially, but also through the expertise of Covestro professionals and executives, including our Board of Management. Moreover, Covestro additionally contributes by currently pursuing a total of 13 partnerships and our own projects that concentrate primarily on researching and developing new recycling methods, and identifying and setting up waste-based raw material streams. The Alliance issues an annual progress report, which also includes summaries and assessments of its members’ contributions. By the end of the year 2021, Covestro’s total contribution amounted to €12.3 million (€7.2 million).