100 CSR projects throughout the world: Volkswagen brand fosters talents and transformation in Brazil
- Start-up programs for women, promotion of music, art and road safety education, help for slow learners
- Support for needy individuals and communities
- CEO Powels: “We want to play our part in shaping society”
Throughout the world, the Volkswagen brand is involved in numerous environmental and social projects beyond the factory gates. 100 current CSR projects are highlighted by the Sustainability Report of the Volkswagen Group and featured on an interactive world map (www.sustainabilityreport2015.volkswagenag.com/csr-projects).
This commitment to sustainability in a variety of areas is intended to contribute actively to realizing the global development targets laid down in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030.
Volkswagen presents its key projects. Part 4: Brazil.
Volkswagen do Brasil is the largest vehicle manufacturer and one of the largest private companies in Brazil. The company has a distribution network of over 600 dealers and about 23,000 employees working in four plants. The plant at São Bernardo do Campo near São Paulo was the first Volkswagen plant built outside Germany. The Volkswagen Gol has been the best-selling car on the Brazilian market for 26 consecutive years.
David Powels, President and CEO of Volkswagen do Brasil: ”Volkswagen do Brasil acknowledges that its role goes beyond developing and manufacturing highly innovative vehicles. We want to play our part in shaping the Brazilian society.” Most corporate responsibility projects are run by the Volkswagen Foundation, which has supported needy people and needy communities throughout the 37 years of its existence.
Creating a business upcycling waste fabrics
The project “Costurando o Futuro” (Sewing the Future) covers all three sustainability pillars – it is meaningful in social, environmental and economic terms. Since 2009, about 250 women from low-income communities have been trained in the use of cutting and sewing machines. Taking used materials such as seat coverings, safety belts and overalls, they sew products such as bags and accessories which are sold at trade fairs and on the Internet. Since its beginnings, the project has reused 75 tons of work clothes and other fabrics. Together with the Entrepreneurial Alliance, the project provides training in purchasing, production and marketing. The objective is to allow the participants to set up their own businesses.
Discovering young musical talents
Since 2000, support has been provided to the Instituto Baccarelli, which offers 1000 children and young people opportunities for personal development and professionalization in the field of music. Located in the low-income community of Heliópolis in São Paulo, its projects include the internationally renowned Heliópolis Symphony Orchestra, the Heliópolis Youth Orchestra, as well as choir and chamber ensembles.
Presenting cultural heritage playfully
“Aprendendo com Arte” (Learning with Art) uses art education as a means of fostering cultural and social integration. Teachers are encouraged to use new technologies in classrooms and promote visits to cultural spaces in order to develop critical thinking and responsible conduct. The focus is on visual arts. Together with the Art in School Institute, the project has reached more than 950 educators and almost 29,000 students. Recently, “Aprendendo com Arte” released the “Culture Trail” game available for free Android and IOS download. The game presents 50 cultural heritage items selected in association with the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Patrimony.
Improving road user competence
The project “Jogo da Vida em Trânsito” (Life in Traffic Game) helps high schools teach students to become fair and respectful road users by playful methods. Since the project was launched in 2011, more than 28,000 students and more than 1,300 teachers have participated. One tool is the 3D game “Autopolis” in which the player drives virtually, learning about traffic safety and legislation and being penalized for offences. Another innovative tool is the format MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses, offering seminars to unlimited participants.
Helping the weak to cope better
Other projects are devoted to improving educational standards: “Aceleração da Aprendizagem” (Accelerating Learning) supports children with learning deficits in order to reduce the number of pupils left behind. Teachers and specialists from educational institutions are trained as support teachers and special support classes are established. Here, learning is “accelerated” by managing difficulties individually and intensively. To date, more than 2,000 educators and more than 13,000 students have taken part.
Making teachers more proficient
The project “Pró-Educar Brasil” awards scholarships to teachers without a university qualification so that they can study. This way, teachers at pre-school facilities and primary schools, who did not have the chance to attend college-level courses before, can acquire basic educational skills.
Kindling a love to read
The project “Entre na Roda“ (Enter the Circle) is intended to foster a love of reading and trains teachers, librarians and headteachers to develop reading skills by acquiring suitable books and drawing up reading plans.
Incentivizing those who transform the community
The project “VW na Comunidade” (Volkswagen in the Community) encourages employees to act as volunteers. Social organizations with which employees engage in volunteering receive additional support. A competition is held to allow them to report on projects requiring support. The winning projects receive a cash prize and a seminar teaching the successful management of social sustainability projects. Topics covered include planning, communications and marketing, mobilization of resources, financial organization and bookkeeping, as well as project analysis and monitoring. In nine years of existence, the initiative has already awarded 84 prizes, benefiting more than 472,000 people from all Brazilian states. 4,350 projects were entered by more than 2,000 employees.