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As a good corporate citizen, ALTANA supports and sponsors social projects focusing on education, science, and research. To strengthen our local environments and to be a good neighbor, we especially promote initiatives near our sites worldwide. ALTANA also helps when there are disasters and supports disaster prevention projects.
The natural sciences, mathematics, informatics, and technology are among the drivers of economic development and social progress around the world. Important solutions are also being developed in these disciplines with a view to the environment and climate change. In this context, ALTANA wants to help introduce young people to these disciplines at an early stage and kindle their enthusiasm for them. In addition, the ALTANA Group is involved in a number of selected social projects. In cooperation with experienced partners from the education sector, we support concrete projects, often in the immediate proximity of our sites. To maximize lasting impact, the company usually promotes these projects over a period of several years. In 2021, too, events that ALTANA has actively supported for many years had to be canceled due to the pandemic. These include, for example, the Research Days for kindergartners and elementary school children, which ALTANA has held for many years. Other offers, such as ACTEGA in Grevenbroich’s promotion of students interested in science within the framework of various school collaborations, could take place in 2021 even under pandemic conditions.
Educational Coaching of Elementary Schoolchildren
ALTANA has supported the educational coaching project at GGS Innenstadt, the largest public elementary school in Wesel, for eight years now. The project was initiated by the City of Wesel and implemented by the Klausenhof Academy in close cooperation with GGS Innenstadt. The main aim is to promote elementary schoolchildren and to achieve better opportunities for children with a migration background and from socially deprived families. ALTANA financed the personnel and material costs for a socio-educational expert at the Klausenhof Academy. The expert assigns “personal mentors” to each child, trains the mentors, and coordinates their work. A total of 53 children have been supported since the project began in 2014. Currently, 17 volunteer mentors are taking part. They support and challenge the girls and boys in their personal development according to their abilities.
The coronavirus pandemic has posed a great challenge to those involved in educational coaching. It is particularly important to stay in contact in these times, especially with children and parents from particularly socially strained backgrounds. The specialist regularly exchanges ideas with the mentors, parents, the school and, in some cases, with family aid and the youth welfare office, working with them to find pragmatic solutions that help the children cope in their everyday lives and provide them with the best possible support despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Many of the mentors helped the children with their homework by phone or via digital tools. This was a great help, especially during the distance learning phases at the beginning of the year. The cramped conditions in their apartments, lack of exercise, and lack of motivation were a further impediment to many of the sponsored children. So the children worked all the more enthusiastically on their dexterity and fitness together with an external trainer once a week in the afternoon from April until the summer vacations under the motto “Strong muscles, alert mind.” The socio-educational expert also organized a swimming course for the children during the summer vacations, and the kids regained self-confidence in the nearby climbing park.
At the end of the year, ALTANA and BYK implemented a wish tree campaign for the first time at the Wesel site. The children made Christmas stars and wrote or painted their wish on them. Together with their respective mentor, the children hung their stars on the large Christmas tree in the entrance hall. In the days that followed, ALTANA and BYK employees were informed about the Christmas tree campaign and called upon to participate by selecting a star with a wish written on it worth around 25 euros and by providing and wrapping the gift for the respective child. In a short time, all the stars were “sold out” and the Christmas joy of the children, whose parents are often unable to fulfill even small wishes for them, was assured.
Youth Startups Competition
In 2021, ALTANA again supported the competition “Jugend gründet” (Youth Startups), sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, offering a special prize in chemistry for the seventh time in a row. In the national finals in 2021, two young inventors from Halle (Westphalia) won the prize with an innovative, well thought-out business idea for smart energy storage systems. The young people, a comprehensive school student and an electrician trainee, had been working together for over five years on their idea for lithium-ion-based energy storage. After submitting their idea to the “Jugend forscht” competition, they developed it further and turned it into a business plan that convinced the jury of “Jugend gründet,” in which ALTANA is also represented. The duo, which calls its venture “Tekkietorium,” impressed the jury not only with their technically farreaching idea, but also with the great expertise with which they implemented it.
The ALTANA Special Prize for Chemistry is coupled with a trip to Wallingford on the East Coast of the U.S., where the students can visit one of the ALTANA Group's largest research and production sites at BYK USA and take part in an interesting social program. The trip could not take place in 2021 due to the pandemic and will be made up for at a later date.
Further Education for Teachers
Enthusiasm for STEM subjects starts with enthusiastic teachers. That’s why ALTANA has been supporting a nationwide training course organized by the MIT Club of Germany since 2016, which is specifically aimed at science teachers. Under the motto “Schule MIT Wissenschaft,” the three-day conference, which took place as a hybrid event in Bremen in 2021, serves to promote an exchange of experiences among teachers as well as the communication of new scientific findings. Without the support of sponsors such as ALTANA, the high-profile event with Nobel Prize winners and other scientists would not be possible.
Fundraising Campaign for Flood Victims and Disaster Preparedness
2021 was another eventful year that made the great challenges of our time more than clear to us. Flood disasters and fires deprived many people and entire regions of their livelihoods. In July, severe storms wreaked tremendous destruction in Germany, especially in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. ALTANA reacted promptly and helped by donating 100,000 euros to the alliance “Aktion Deutschland Hilft e.V.,” which, together with its partner organizations, provided emergency aid to the affected people in the flood disaster areas.
In the year under review, ALTANA also supported the disaster preparedness activities of this aid alliance to the tune of 25,000 euros. These initiatives of various alliance organizations help people around the world to arm themselves against the effects of climate change. They include projects that impart knowledge, install early warning systems and emergency plans, build infrastructure, and mitigate the effects of climate change. The objective of the measures is to prevent suffering before it happens.
The ALTANA Group’s 2021 digital Christmas card included an appeal for donations for the aid alliance’s disaster prevention efforts. Recipients of the card had the opportunity to donate to the preparedness projects via a donation link on the card, thus increasing the total amount donated.
Social Commitment and Other Donations
In 2021, the coronavirus pandemic again had an impact on ELANTAS Beck India’s social commitment endeavors. The company supports projects that focus on education, health, and hygiene, and did so even before 2014, when companies in India were legally obligated to assume responsibility for society. In the year under review, the country was severely affected by the pandemic – especially in April and May – and ELANTAS Beck India was again faced with the difficult task of deciding which of the many coronavirus aid projects the company could support. It opted for two broad-based emergency and disaster funds as well as on the support of a hospital in Pune, which made its entire capacity of 110 beds available for treating people suffering from COVID-19.
Despite pandemic-related interruptions, many educational programs in India could be offered online. As part of its commitment to sustainability, ELANTAS Beck India again supported an educational project of the organization Surajya Sarvangin Vikas Prakalp. In the project, a total of 546 students from eight slums near Pune are taught. The girls and boys from grades one to ten are cared for in the organization’s after-school facilities. Through its in-school and after-school programs, the initiative fosters the children’s desire to learn, provides orientation, and shows them the importance of education.
ELANTAS PDG in St. Louis, U.S., has also supported local social projects for many years and at the same time reinforced its employees’ personal commitment to sustainability. The staff actively supports people who live in the neighborhood of the site and has been doing so for more than 15 years in some projects. Among the most important aid projects are the social initiatives Back to School Supplies and Annual Holiday Drive, which are coordinated by dedicated employees at ELANTAS PDG. For the Back to School Supplies initiative, the project coordinator collected funds from employees again in 2021, which were used to buy school supplies such as notebooks and pencils for needy children attending the nearby Nance Elementary School. Similarly, the organizers of the Annual Holiday Drive initiative once again used the money donated by colleagues to assist ten needy families and help them have a nice Christmas by giving them gifts such as shoes, toys, and clothing, as well as a basket of food.
In the year under review, ALTANA donated 5,000 euros to the sponsoring organization of the Parizat Nestling Home (PNH) in Kathmandu, which provides a safe home for girls of parents who are in prison or very poor. The facility accommodates around 50 girls between the ages of four and 16 who would otherwise have had to spend their lives on the streets. The Parizat Nestling Home provides the minors with a comprehensive school education and medical care and teaches the girls practical skills, such as sewing. The goal is to fully reintegrate the stigmatized children into Nepalese society. The donation was used to purchase additional computers for the facility so that the girls can be even better trained in the use of IT technology, especially in times of homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic. In the past, ALTANA had already assisted the PNH, supporting the installation and expansion of a solar plant.
In August, the BYK division at the Wesel site donated 13,000 euros to the local Marien-Hospital for the procurement of an emergency simulation manikin. The manikin is used by nursing staff, medical personnel, and therapists to train for emergency situations under realistic conditions. This includes, for example, the use of ventilators and mechanical resuscitation aids. Without the simulation manikin, these exercises would not be possible, because an acute situation does not usually allow for training or education. In addition to basic training, very complex situations in critical areas such as intensive care and emergency rooms can be simulated. Ultimately, this benefits patients by providing maximum safety.
ECKART also showed social commitment once again in the year under review. It has been a tradition for several years for the staff at the Wackersdorf site to collect income from Christmas parties and health days as well as private donations so that a larger amount is available every three years. ECKART tops up the donation amount. In January 2021, the donation sum of 20,000 euros was presented to the Association for the Promotion of Children with Cancer and Physical Disabilities in Eastern Bavaria (VKKK).
As part of the annual Christmas campaign “Donations instead of gifts,” the company provided a total of 20,000 euros. The donations were given to a children’s aid organization and a nature conservation association that works, among other things, to protect, preserve, and maintain forests, moors, and open-air biotopes at various locations in Germany.
The ACTEGA division was involved in various initiatives and projects near its sites in the reporting year. In Araçariguama, ACTEGA do Brasil and its workforce donated food to 120 needy families and for a Christmas party organized by the local social services office. As in previous years, ACTEGA North America again supported the Angel Tree campaign of the Lincoln County Department of Social Services for needy children from the region. In Spain, ACTEGA Artística not only donated to the major nationwide aid organizations Caritas and Aldeas Infantiles, but also supported the local food bank in Vigo as well as a local organization that looks after families with children suffering from cancer and actively works to improve the overall care of children with oncological disorders.