Note 3: AkzoNobel Cares
We aim to have more than 1,000 projects across our AkzoNobel Cares program and train more than 35,000 people in the community by 2025.
For many years, our social programs have shown the world that AkzoNobel cares. As well as simply being the right thing to do, supporting people and communities and building employee pride also strengthens our reputation. It’s delivering shared value for everyone.
Due to the global pandemic, during 2020 we shifted our attention to support local communities with their urgent needs (see the Business as unusual Case study).
Our biggest community projects took place in India, Brazil and the UK. We distributed critical items such as food, hygiene kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) to various communities in need. For example, during lockdown in India, our employees distributed dry food kits to daily wage laborers and PPE to health workers and the frontline police force. Meanwhile, colleagues in the UK focused in particular on supporting the needs of the elderly and vulnerable, providing help for homeless shelters, foodbanks, hospices and children’s well-being groups.
It’s ten years since we first launched our global “Let’s Colour” program and we continue to transform lives by revitalizing communities and making spaces more liveable and inspiring. Projects that took place during 2020 saw us use more than 260,000 liters of paint to color communities in 27 countries – including Recife in Brazil and Bandung in Indonesia – while we also renovated an SOS Children’s Villages kindergarten in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
To strengthen our focus on training future generations, we extended our partnership with SOS Children’s Villages for another three years. As a member of the global YouthCan! initiative, we have so far worked together in 18 countries to advance the employability of young people without parental care, or those who are at risk of losing it. In 2020, we used online mentoring and training as a way to empower them with the employability skills they need for self-reliance. One example took place in Indonesia, where virtual mentoring sessions themed around dealing with life after COVID-19 reached hundreds of young people across nine SOS Children’s Villages.
Through our Education Fund, we continued to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) training in China and youth economic empowerment and entrepreneurship training in India. During the year, some activities were put on hold as schools were closed due to COVID-19. However, regular contact was maintained with the students through mobile and online sessions. We also conducted the first online employee engagement program as part of the STEM project.
Although we faced a number of challenges and limitations due to the pandemic, we carried out a total of 170 projects and trained 2,669 people in countries where we operate.