As a global company, we consider it our duty to take responsibility for our environment and to have a lasting positive impact on our fellow human beings. Through our corporate purpose Care Beyond Skin, we express our passion and ambitions to reach beyond our core business and contribute to greater social cohesion.
To this end, our global Social Commitments team works together with colleagues from the individual local affiliates. These implement the global strategic framework in alignment with local conditions. In addition, at Beiersdorf headquarters we collaborate with colleagues from various specialist departments such as Marketing, Legal, Controlling, Research & Development (R&D), Corporate Communications, and Medical Management. We have been evaluating the social projects we support worldwide on an annual basis since 2013. The project managers at our local affiliates collect all locally relevant data, which we consolidate in order to be able to analyze our activities globally. The results of the analysis serve as an important source of information for internal management, but also form an integral part of our sustainability reporting.
As we pursue a vision of an inclusive society, we focus our activities primarily on people who are affected by social inequality, marginalization, and isolation. We support local initiatives that aim to strengthen and support physical and mental health, a sense of social belonging, and the voluntary social participation of all members of society. This is how we want to make an important contribution towards a cohesive society.
Our commitment in the Consumer Business Segment takes place both at the corporate level and at individual brand level, and goes beyond our own value chain. Globally, the focus of our corporate commitment is on empowering girls and disaster relief. Each brand also provides targeted support in areas that fit with its brand identity and area of expertise, while aligning with the social needs and concerns of the local communities.
We also involve our consumers in our brand engagement. For example, we provide them information on our social initiatives in a continuous and transparent manner via the corporate and brand websites, thereby raising public awareness of key social issues.
Engagement at corporate level
In 2022, we continued the COVID-19 aid program for which Beiersdorf Consumer had already initiated global partnerships in 2020. Through the program, we aim to particularly provide people in the epicenters of the pandemic and in regions and countries with weak public health systems and infrastructures with support appropriate to their situation.
Beyond emergency aid, within these partnerships Beiersdorf is committed to providing medium to long-term support for local people. Many countries are facing long-lasting socioeconomic impacts and challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Above all, girls and young women are affected by the pandemic and its consequences, due to their age and gender. During crises, for example, they are at increased risk of experiencing sexual violence, being married off against their will, and having to leave school permanently. Similarly, girls and young women are more likely to work in fields that put them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, for example, in the (home) care and healthcare sectors. This is why empowering girls is a particular focus of our COVID-19 aid program.
To provide the most effective assistance possible, we work in Africa and Latin America with the international non-profit organizations Plan International and CARE, which have the expertise needed to implement projects and can rely on established and stable networks on the ground. They also have many years of experience in impact measurement.
In 2021, Beiersdorf set itself the goal of directly reaching more than 300,000 people by 2023 through its projects to empower girls. In this context, people who are directly reached by one or more project activities are referred to as direct beneficiaries.
In the sense of a holistic, systemic approach that seeks to stimulate change across all of society, people of all genders and ages in a project’s locality can be counted as direct beneficiaries. Only by involving different members of a community it is possible to have a lasting impact on individuals – in this case, girls and young women.
In partnership with Plan International, Beiersdorf is working to strengthen girls’ rights to access education and is helping prevent gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. For example, as part of the project in Ecuador, training sessions were held with 625 young people, more than half of whom were girls. The focus was on sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender-based violence. In total, the projects reached19,944 people in Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia during the reporting period1 and 33,309 people in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. The projects are designed to run for a total of two years each, starting from October 2020 (Latin America) and February 2021 (Africa). The duration of the projects in Latin America has been extended until the end of 2022 in order to be able to complete all activities.
In partnership with CARE, Beiersdorf has worked to ensure that particularly vulnerable groups in Africa, such as girls and young women, receive information about COVID-19 and access to appropriate healthcare. In addition, the objective of this two-year project is to mitigate the socioeconomic consequences for these target groups and strengthen their livelihoods. Its geographical focus is Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan. For example, 3,067 girls and women in Kenya (including 68 participants under the age of 18) participated in group training sessions on Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) methodology during the reporting year. Amongst others, in these groups, they learn about financial processes such as loans and savings rates. This project, which is also designed to run for two years, reached a total of 120,583 people in the reporting period.
As of the end of 20222, Beiersdorf had already reached 231,798 of the more than 300,000 people it is targeting with its projects to empower girls.
In addition, Beiersdorf works closely with Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, in its efforts to empower girls. October 2021 marked the launch of a one-year social innovation initiative. In 2022, together with Ashoka, Beiersdorf awarded grants to five leading female social entrepreneurs from the United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland, whose projects are dedicated to the empowerment of girls and women. In addition, starting in January 2022, we provided assistance to help female European social entrepreneurs connect and network with the goal of strengthening gender equity. After the initiative was successfully completed during the reporting period, Ashoka and Beiersdorf are currently planning a second phase.
Together with the University of Cardiff, the company has also been conducting a three-year psychological study since 2021 that evaluates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and similar crises on the well-being of people with skin diseases. The study is examining, among other things, how negative impacts can be mitigated through the use of digital support tools. A research paper3 highlighting the findings to date was published in the reporting year. In addition, an interview process with affected individuals was launched in order to develop further conclusions that could be a beneficial role in the development of digital aids.
Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent war, Beiersdorf provided two million euros in emergency aid to the German Red Cross and CARE Deutschland e.V. We have also set up a global donation platform with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for all our employees. UNHCR is using the funds primarily to establish and implement emergency relief activities for Ukrainian families who have fled the country. This includes, for example, the provision of shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation, and healthcare. In addition, our headquarter is also collaborating with the two charitable organizations innatura and Hanseatic Help by distributing targeted product donations. Beiersdorf donated products from NIVEA, 8X4, Hidrofugal, Eucerin, Aquaphor, and Hansaplast throughout Europe during the reporting period.
Engagement at brand level
The NIVEA and Eucerin brands continued to pursue their own global social missions locally in 2022.
NIVEA launched individual project activities during the reporting period. The goal is to stimulate human touch and more togetherness, thus improving the quality of life of people affected by loneliness – such as of premature babies, partially sighted individuals, and elderly people suffering from dementia. For example, NIVEA France cooperates with “Petits Frères des Pauvres,” an organization that combats the social isolation of older people. In the United Kingdom, the brand is working with UNICEF UK within the framework of the “Baby Friendly Initiative” to support premature baby units in selected hospitals. In the Philippines, NIVEA works with the organization Resources for the Blind Inc., which focuses on providing holistic care for partially sighted people. The goal of these “Human Touch” projects is to have a positive impact on the individual health and well-being of more than 150,000 people by 2025. Currently, the brand is reviewing the thematic focus of its social mission.
Eucerin is committed to promoting the social inclusion of people affected by dermatological conditions. Its projects focus on reducing social exclusion and stigmatization, as well as on improving participation in society.
In Germany, the brand is collaborating with the University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf and the German Psoriasis Association. This joint project has the long-term goal of ensuring that people with psoriasis are no longer stigmatized by society.
Eucerin aims to implement local social projects in at least 15 countries by 2023 in order to promote the quality of life of people with dermatological conditions and their social inclusion. As of 2022, projects have already been carried out in seven countries, although concrete activities will not begin in Canada until 2023.
The healthcare brands Hansaplast, Elastoplast, and CURITAS initiated a new global social mission in 2022 with a focus on first aid training for children – and the brands aim for at least 200,000 children to actively participate in trainings by 2025. In the reporting year, the local affiliates began to implement the mission locally. In this context, they focused on finding suitable partners and projects.
1 The organizations’ reporting period does not correspond to the calendar year, as they report on a different schedule. Their reporting periods are as follows: Plan International Latin America: July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022, Plan International Africa: August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022, CARE Africa: November 1, 2021 – October 31, 2022
2 This only includes the figures that were received by December 31, 2022
3 Hewitt, R. M., Ploszajski, M., Purcell, C., Pattinson, R., Jones, B., Wren, G. H., Hughes, O., Ridd, M. J., Thompson, A. R., & Bundy, C. (2022). A mixed methods systematic review of digital interventions to support the psychological health and well-being of people living with dermatological conditions. Frontiers in Medicine, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2022.1024879