03/11/2008, Düsseldorf / Germany


Henkel Celebrates Ten Years of Employee Volunteer Work

5,875 Projekte, 108 countries, 4,000 employees and pensioners

For the last ten years, Henkel has been supporting its employees and pensioners involved in volunteer social work. By establishing the MIT (Make an Impact on Tomorrow) Initiative 1998, Henkel became one of the very first German companies to declare the honorary social involvement of employees and pensioners to be a key element of its corporate culture and corporate social responsibility commitment. Henkel employees and pensioners are involved in doing volunteer social work across the entire globe. These initiatives are as diverse as the people themselves who coordinate and take responsibility for them. The spectrum of projects ranges from computer courses for senior citizens in Düsseldorf and a therapy center for babies in South Africa to the Riverbend environmental project for children in American cities.

In 2008, the MIT Initiative is commemorating its tenth anniversary. MIT stands for “Making an Impact on Tomorrow“. The initiative was founded in the year 1998, and serves as a platform to support and promote the honorary, volunteer social work carried out by Henkel employees and pensioners. The success story of MIT over the past ten years demonstrates how employees, pensioners and the company can jointly make a contribution to global development by cooperating and benefiting from each other. The unique feature of MIT is that it focuses on the voluntary social engagement of employees and retirees. Henkel itself does not initiate any projects, but supports the projects in which its employees or retirees are involved. The employees are the driving force and core of all projects, responsible for the selection, planning, organization and ultimately the implementation of these projects.  

Creation and development of MIT
At the beginning of the 1990s, Henkel was faced with the challenge of how it would deal with the increasing number of requests for donations submitted by external aid organizations, associations and charitable initiatives. Based on the concept of corporate volunteering, Henkel subsequently founded the MIT Initiative in 1998 and decided to focus on investing in the global social and charitable projects in which its employees and retirees are involved.  In the first year, MIT only focused on project applications and support for approved projects at its headquarters location in Düsseldorf-Holthausen, Germany. One year later, in 1999, MIT was expanded to encompass all Henkel locations in Germany. The group of company retirees was particularly active from the very beginning. The support provided to their social and charitable work was viewed as corporate recognition of their competence and know-how. The project work enabled them to apply their skills and experience for the good of society. In the year 2002, MIT was further expanded on an international level. Henkel employees and retirees in the entire world finally had the opportunity to submit their applications for support and thus become a part of the MIT program. In the last ten years, more than 4,000 employees and retirees have been involved in performing voluntary social work in more than 100 countries. During this time, Henkel has promoted and supported close to 6,000 MIT-related projects.

MIT under the “Henkel Smile“ umbrella
MIT represents one of the three cornerstones of the Henkel Smile program. The company has grouped all its programs in the field of corporate citizenship under the Henkel Smile umbrella. In addition to the MIT Initiative, there is also the Henkel Friendship Initiative, which provides immediate assistance to people in case of natural disasters or personal emergencies, as well as Social Partnerships (company and brand involvement), a program focusing on donations as a means of providing targeted support to local communities and promoting social development projects.   

Henkel support
As an employer, Henkel supports the diverse projects of the Henkel Smile program with financial, in-kind and product donations as well as the release of employees from their company duties on full pay. In this way, Henkel closely links its donations to the personal commitment of its employees and retirees. The advantage of the system is that Henkel’s donations are used in a targeted, effective and transparent manner.
At the same time, the company supports and motivates the volunteer social and charitable work of its employees and pensioners. The amount of support provided to a particular project is always oriented to the level of involvement of the respective employees and retirees. 

Henkel Smile – A smile spreads around the world
In terms of its corporate values, Henkel is committed to operating in a sustainable and socially responsible manner. Wherever Henkel does business around the world, the company assumes responsibility for its products, technologies and its social environment. Within the context of the Henkel Smile program, Henkel has grouped all its social involvement programs and international corporate citizenship activities that go beyond its business undertakings, providing support to social, educational, scientific, sports, health, artistic, cultural and environmental projects. Henkel Smile is responsibility put in practice, and an important component of the company’s sustainability-oriented approach. The focus of Henkel Smile is on the employees and pensioners themselves, people who devote their enthusiasm, understanding, willingness to help and personal commitment to their project ideas, and thus make a contribution to achieving global development targets.