Acting with foresight
As a company, we are part of this society, and as part of this society we bear responsibility for its wellbeing. Learn more about our social commitment.
ACTING WITH FORESIGHT
For us, sustainability also means assuming social responsibility for our employees, for future generations, and for the regions in which we operate. As a successful company, we want to give part of our success back to society. Therefore, Reifenhäuser is involved in regional and supra-regional projects. We place a special focus on the promotion of children and young people.
New fleece jackets for the children’s dance corps “Matrosen blau weiß Troisdorf” – to look smart at carnival time!
Getting children interested in MINT subjects at an early age, teaching them how to work methodically, promoting teamwork, and language training – these are the core objectives of the TuWaS! project (Technology and Natural Sciences in Schools).
Creating a home for bees, ladybugs, butterflies, etc. We created an insect meadow on our company site with this in mind.
Meltblown nonwoven fabric for 1.5 million face masks for our region as well as many other rolls of nonwoven fabric for charities, such as Caritas and the German Red Cross. This is our contribution to the fight against Covid-19.
100,000 trash bags made of recycled plastic and our company teams working on the Rhine banks in Cologne and Bonn, helping to collect trash in the RhineCleanUp campaign 2019.
Thanks to a generous donation by Reifenhäuser, the Youth Emergency Team (JET) of the DLRG of the Troisdorf local group received brand new emergency clothing and resuscitation manikins in child and baby size. Our contribution ensures professional training of the next generation of rescuers in our region.
What happens when these lovely helpers get into financial trouble themselves and they are thus deprived of their magic powers? Reifenhäuser heard about their worries and decided, to generously fill the empty treasure chests, as often happens only in fairy tales. What great joy for the elves!
Commitment of the entrepreneurial family
The brothers Bernd and Ulrich manage the Reifenhäuser family business. However, the name Reifenhäuser is not only the name of two brothers but of a large family that is committed to the company and takes the special responsibility to its employees and the region very seriously. Social commitment is therefore a top priority for us. In fact, it is less the spectacular, huge sponsoring projects, but more a multitude of local projects. In this way, we promote social and ecological commitment in many places – within the company itself and also in the region.
The important thing for us is not to simply donate sums of money. Therefore, a member of the Reifenhäuser family backs almost every project, acting like a kind of patron. At the family reunion every year, we decide together which projects to support in the upcoming year and who will be involved personally.”
THAT'S WHAT WE DO
Help is always needed somewhere – by the way, not every project we support is also initiated by the Reifenhäuser family. Many ideas come directly from our "Extrusioneers".
"The concept of the "TuWaS!" project is convincing: during our school visits we were able to experience the enthusiasm of the pupils for experimenting. We are already looking forward to our future trainees"
We are all currently facing challenging issues that have never been seen before on such a scale. There is currently the pandemic with its impact on all areas of society, climate change and the global transformation into a digital future, to name but a few.
This requires innovative and sustainable solutions and will demand enormous knowledge, creativity and commitment from future generations. The foundation for this is laid in early childhood by teaching competences in mathematics, natural sciences and technology at an early age. Unfortunately, the reality is different: Studies showed that that the mathematical and scientific competencies of German primary school children are below the EU and OECD average. Around a quarter of them are low achievers, and the trend is rising, especially in the natural sciences.
This is exactly where the "TuWaS!" campaign of the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg and Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry comes in. The project aims to arouse interest and enthusiasm for science and technology among children in grades 1-6. It offers tried and tested experimental and teaching material for schools on nine scientific and technical topics. In "TuWaS! boxes", teachers and the schools receive materials for age-appropriate lessons on topics from biology, chemistry, physics or technology. The children experiment independently in small groups: starting with the life cycle of a butterfly, through the effect of electrical circuits to weather observations. They practise teamwork, learn to document, discuss and solve problems independently. "TuWaS!" thus brings inquiry-based learning into primary schools. Currently, "TuWaS!" materials have even been used in creative solutions in Corona-related distance learning and teacher training could be carried out in online seminars.
During Corona-time a new module was developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center in cooperation with the WHO. Staff from "TuWaS!" at the Free University of Berlin translated it for the German-speaking world and adapted it for grades 3 to 6. Reflecting on the experiments provides the kids a deeper understanding of the measures to contain the pandemic and empowers students to deal with future situations.
We think the "TuWaS!" campaign is great and we are happy to support this important investment in the future. Specifically, we are sponsoring two primary schools in our area for one year: the GGS Sieglar and the KGS Schlossstraße. The reason for this decision was the fact that education has always been a high priority for us as a mechanical engineering company at the Troisdorf site. "The concept of the "TuWaS!" project, which aims to arouse interest in technical and scientific topics already in primary school, has convinced us very much," says Mrs. Dr. Küpper, who accompanies this social project as godmother.
As in many old fairy tales, it also takes a bit of luck in real life to meet an elf who helps fulfil wishes. In 2009, the non-profit association ELFEN helfen e. V. was founded to help in Troisdorf. The power of the elves is at work where the need is greatest and consequently many wishes must remain unfulfilled:
This can be the financing of holiday camps and children's birthday parties for children and young people from socially deprived areas, free access for young and old to animals in the "Reitstall am Türmchen", free participation in the "Pony Fun" project, in which children and young people are introduced to the world of horses in a playful way, regardless of their parents' purse, or the "Wish Tree Campaign", through which wishes for needy children and young people are fulfilled every year at Christmas.
In 2010, the opening of the occupational therapy practice in the "Reitstall am Türmchen" created another framework for help: riding therapy. Children of the Troisdorf Women's Shelter, as well as people with physical and mental disabilities, can experience the healing effects of riding and working with horses. It doesn't take much imagination to see that such a gift of an hour on horseback seems like a dream out of a fairy tale to the kids. And for the mothers concerned, this happy moment for their child may seem like a whole day's country holiday.
"Such great work urgently needs to be supported, it is so important that these services for those in need are maintained."
This diversity is rounded off by a petting zoo with small animals that have waited in vain for species-appropriate husbandry and social contact with their previous owners. Over the years, the initial flock of chickens has been joined by goats, dogs, rabbits, ducks and meadowlarks. All the animals are now allowed to live a better life and enjoy the attention and caresses of the young visitors to the association. They, in turn, lose their fear of contact with animals and learn that careful handling is rewarded by the animals' trustfulness.
But what happens when the helping elves themselves get into financial difficulties and are robbed of their magic powers? Despite the many volunteers, the donations are never enough for all the projects and the restrictions on contact since the beginning of the Corona crisis do not make it any easier.
The Reifenhäuser family heard about the financial worries. Due to Susi Reifenhäuser's many years of voluntary work at the AWO in Troisdorf, the helping elves had been known for some years. And as godmother, she had the empty treasure chest filled with a generous Reifenhäuser donation, much to the delight of the elves. Almost like a fairy tale.
„Above all, supporting young people is a concern that is very close to me any my family. It's all the nicer to see how quickly and easily someone can be made happy.“
Where do our lifeguards come from? Who is there when bathers have underestimated the currents in the Rhine while trying to swim? Where do you get the 1st aid course for your driver's license? Who is there when a child drowns? Who rescues sheep that have gotten their fur wet while grazing on the Sieg meadows during high water and can no longer walk?
In Troisdorf, the local group of the DLRG is the right address for this, including the DLRG youth group with around 700 children, teenagers and young adults of the youth outreach team, which was supported by Reifenhäuser with a donation at the end of 2020.
In addition to the volunteer rescue missions, the DLRG prepares young people between the ages of 12 and 18 for future service as lifesavers in a playful manner. Swimming training takes place once or twice a week. In addition, there are diving courses, 1st aid courses, radio instruction, paramedic training and training as lifeguards. In addition to these further training opportunities, the boys experience a supportive community here, in which they experience backing, a sense of unity and friendly togetherness.
School vacation, kindergartens closed for the summer, and there are always too few vacation days left over - does that ring a bell? Sometimes parents have to bend over backward to organize childcare in vacation time. So 2020 saw the premiere of a children’s summer game week at the Troisdorf location. For a whole week, children took over command of the large conference floor where customer meetings and video conferences usually take place. With quiz games, handicrafts, face painting, and juggling – an experienced team of educators looked after the vacationing kids for five days and make sure there was plenty of action.
Désirée Aringhoff had planned the summer games week long before the appearance of Covid-19 and is pleased the campaign could take place despite the pandemic. That’s because it wasn't clear for a long time whether it would take place of not. “We had to reorganize quite a bit and do without a few things. We couldn't split the group by age and sadly, we had to cancel the scavenger hunt on the company site involving a visit to the parents' workplace.” Nonetheless, it was a heap of fun for the children and teenagers. For the parents, it was mainly one thing: practical. That's why there was a "thumbs up" for the event. “It's just so practical,” said Sabine van Rooij, Dominik Rockenfeld, and Christian Zielke: “You drive to the office with the children in the morning and drive back home again in the afternoon – without having to make any detours. It's great that for a few days you don't have to worry about how and where to look after them.”
We know how difficult it is to balance family and work life. Especially over the long summer vacation. That’s how the idea for summer camps came into being.”
Personally, I find it very important to not only talks about climate protection but to be active. I try to cycle to work as often as possible. CITY CYCLING is great to create awareness for the carbon issue and to get people who normally prefer their cars on their bikes.”
The annual CITY CYCLING tour is all about switching from car to bike. Because the bike is and remains a great alternative to the car, especially in cities. No matter whether you commute to work or go on a weekend trip to the country: the aim is to cycle as many everyday routes as possible for a period of 21 days and to be climate-friendly, i.e. zero emissions. During the competition, teams got on their bikes for their communities – to reduce traffic pollution, exhaust fumes, and noise.
So, it was no question this year when a Reifenhäuser team of 36 cyclists quickly found themselves biking on for the city of Troisdorf. In total, the 37 teams covered a distance of 39,720 kilometers in Troisdorf, saving about 6000 kg of carbon dioxide compared to cars. We are very happy about winning first place in the rankings for the city of Troisdorf: Our team rode a total of 9500 kilometers and collected the most kilometers.
That makes us a little proud, also because one of the three cyclists with the highest total kilometers belonged to our team: Tobias Jungbluth rode no less than 1141 kilometers. The idea to participate in CITY CYCLING came from Thomas Achten. "Personally, I find it very important to not only talks about climate protection but to be active. I try to cycle to work as often as possible. CITY CYCLING is great to create awareness for the carbon issue and to get people who normally prefer their cars on their bikes. When I was in the office promoting the campaign, some of my colleagues signed up immediately.”
By the way, a total of 542,686 people took part in the Climate Alliance's international campaign this year, setting an example for more climate protection, promoting the use of bikes for commuting, and raising the quality of life.
Sport and exercise are an ideal compensation for your job. That’s why we started the Reifenhäuser "Keep Fit" program with many offerings to promote better health. But it’s not all about fitness and best times. It’s also about a sense of community and having fun. Like our colleagues in Worms, who turn the annual “Nibelungen Run” into a team event and spend the day together with their families. Nonetheless, everything was different at the 17th Nibelungen Run in 2020 – because of Covid-19. Instead of canceling the event, the organizers turned it into a virtual World Wide Edition race. The principle was for each runner to run for himself or herself. No joint start. No finishing line. The participants ran their chosen route over three days at their chosen time and documented their running time online. But what was missing was the great atmosphere of a typical running event.
Marcus Weygand, Christian Stelter, and Pia Schäfer therefore planned their own routes for the Reifenhäuser team, including track marking with Reifenhäuser signposts and fans. The fans cheered them on loudly and distributed fruit and drinks. That's what you call team spirit when you can set up something like that despite Covid-19. Marcus Weygand hopes that everything will return to normal in 2021. We’ll cross our fingers for him!
I love running with lots of people around me, when the race starts off, with spectators cheering on the sidelines, and when I run the final meters to the finish line together with a couple of colleagues.”
I was dumbstruck when I saw the wreckage. In 35 years of service, I have never experienced anything like this."
Most of the local projects we support are defined for the current fiscal year. However, we are pragmatic when necessary and promise support where it is needed. This is the case with the local group of Siegburg THW, which is dependent on donations after one of their emergency vehicles caught fire at the end of 2019. Oliver Schieferstein, Reifenhäuser employee and head of the THW office, remembers it well: "After an unsuccessful break-in attempt, the burglars set fire to one of our emergency vehicles, which unfortunately was parked in front of the vehicle hall. I was dumbstruck when I saw the wreckage. In 35 years of service, I have never experienced anything like this." The procurement and maintenance of THW vehicles is usually financed from federal budgets.
But not in this case. The burnt-out vehicle was purchased by the local association. In other words, donations and membership fees had been saved up for years. "This is an enormous loss," says Schieferstein, "because the vehicle was our command vehicle that our youth groups used regularly."
There is no money for a new vehicle, especially to buy the special equipment that includes technical features such as a special signaling system and walkie-talkies. Oliver Schieferstein is relieved that so many people responded to the appeal for donations and that over time enough money was collected for a new vehicle. "Thanks to Reifenhäuser's unbureaucratic and generous donation, we can purchase the vehicle at the beginning of next year. Then our fleet will be complete again."