AkzoNobel’s main societal contributions fall into three areas:
Cumulative Community Program involvement
The success of our Community Program continued into 2010. Employees from the newest parts of the company (following acquisitions and integration) have embraced the opportunities the program offers and have started many new initiatives. The program encourages employees to engage in hands-on involvement in their local communities and gives them the necessary financial support. The fund is also available to support post-relief efforts for major disasters in countries where AkzoNobel operates – as long as there is hands-on involvement by our employees. In 2010, major disaster relief efforts included the volcano eruption in North Sumatra in Indonesia (including cross-business unit collaboration), the widespread flooding in Pakistan, the major earthquake in Haiti and the red sludge flooding in Hungary.
The initiative allows sites and individuals to take part in projects where our products/resources and the skills and knowledge of employees can benefit the wider community. In the past five years this has led to a great variety of projects; from educating underprivileged youngsters to contributing to creating more awareness in the community about the importance of a clean environment. It also provides opportunities for employees to develop team building and leadership skills. Since the start of the program, more than 7,000 volunteers from 50 countries have worked on more than 1,400 projects, totaling about €10 million. According to the NCDO Millennium Development Goal Scan methodology, these projects have impacted an estimated 400,000 people. It is remarkable to observe that increased cross-business unit collaboration takes place in many countries. Over the last five years, nearly 70 percent of projects have supported educational/employability and healthcare/well-being activities, with environmental and housing projects also well represented.
In 2010, 275 new projects were initiated. These were narrowed down to a shortlist of 15 and more than 4,560 employees around the world then voted for their favorite in our annual Community Program Best Practice competition. First prize went to the “Help with healthy living” project, a cross business initiative by Marine and Protective Coatings, Industrial Coatings and Powder Coatings in India. Our volunteering employees have helped establish a health clinic which has become an indispensable part of life for residents in four villages in Bangalore.
Education Fund 15th anniversary
In 2010, a worldwide campaign was launched to create more awareness about the AkzoNobel Education Fund. A special internet site was developed in order to help reach employees, their families, friends and our business relations. The proceeds of this new fundraising campaign will go to support projects in Vietnam, India and Brazil. These three projects are designed to help young people – in many cases girls – find decent and safe employment that offers them long-term prospects.
The Education Fund was created at the end of 1994 to mark the 25th anniversary of the company Akzo, to make a contribution to the education of children in developing countries. Since the Education Fund was created, it has changed the lives of tens of thousands of young people by supporting projects from school renovation in Burkina Faso, through improving sanitation and hygiene conditions at schools in Vietnam, to increasing the capabilities of primary school teachers in Brazil.
Plan Nederland estimates that several thousand children aged three to 16 have directly benefited from quality pre-school and primary education provided by the Education Fund. The number of indirect beneficiaries is many times that number.
2010 projects by region