Social Engagement


Borealis believes that businesses can only grow sustainably in a healthy environment and a stable society. This means that Borealis' prosperity is closely aligned with the progress of the communities in which it operates. Building good and trusting relationships with local communities through social engagement is therefore a core element of Borealis' sustainability strategy and the company established the Borealis Social Fund, to put this commitment into action.

To maximise its impact, Borealis concentrates its social engagement on three areas:

Education & Social Integration

  • nurturing interest in chemistry and science;
  • supporting the education system to meet future challenges; and
  • integrating marginalised, poor and underprivileged people

Water & Sanitation (Water for the World™)

  • providing access to safe water and sanitation;
  • supporting preservation of water resources; and
  • raising awareness and promoting best practices.

Waste & Resource Efficiency / Prevention of Marine Litter*

  • supporting research and innovation;
  • supporting social innovation and business models that address marine litter and plastic waste; and
  • raising awareness and encouraging behaviour change.

* This is a new focus area and potential projects are currently being scoped, with the aim of starting the first projects in 2017

By selecting these three core areas, Borealis' Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities contribute to the following United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDG):



Young people's ideas, creativity and skills will determine the future of the economy and social stability. Educational systems therefore need to adopt a framework and practices that enable young people to develop the right skills. By stimulating enthusiasm for science and chemistry at an early age, today's young and inquisitive minds will become tomorrow's leading scientists and innovators. Borealis therefore supports programmes that motivate children and young people to learn more about science and to consider a scientific career.

Borealis co-finances and provides technical expertise to experimental laboratories in the countries that are home to its innovation centres – Austria, Finland and Sweden.

The JKU Open Lab, Linz, Austria

Experiment, marvel and comprehend science

Borealis sponsors the JKU Open Lab, which was inaugurated in 2013 and is perfectly located in a centre of scientific education - the Johannes Kepler University campus in Linz, Austria. The JKU Open Lab is a place where children, teens and anyone else interested in science can enter the fascinating world of chemistry through hands-on activities. Guided by skilled tutors and with hands-on experiments tailored to specific age groups, the JKU Open Lab lets young visitors step behind the scenes of the scientific world, reflect on how natural science simplifies and enriches our daily lives – for example, in what we eat, wear and wash – and put into practice what they have learned in school.

Overcoming today's global challenges will need a continuous supply of well-educated scientists, to discover and apply solutions that will ensure a sustainable future. The JKU Open Lab therefore aims to stimulate early interest in a career in natural sciences, particularly in chemistry and plastics, and to spark young people's enthusiasm for researching new solutions.

For more information visit: (available in German only)

Dr. Silke Renger Tel: +43 (732) 24 68 15 90

Science Centre Stenungsund (Molekylverkstan)

Stimulating future innovators

Molekylverkstan is an innovative science discovery centre, which aims to excite children and young adults about the natural sciences. It was founded in the early 1990s as a joint initiative between the major chemical companies in the Stenungsund area in Sweden – Borealis, AGA Gas, AkzoNobel, INOVYN and Perstorp Oxo.

Open year round with free admission, the popular and successful centre attracts around 50,000 visitors each year. It makes science accessible, enjoyable and inspiring through simple, practical experiments that show the relevance of science to everyday life. Its hands-on approach demonstrates and explains the complex relationships in the world of chemistry, in ways that make them more easily understood and appreciated. Molekylverkstan also trains chemistry and natural science teachers from all over Sweden.

As a member of the Association of Swedish Science Centres, Molekylverkstan actively participates in the annual International Science Festival in Gothenburg, one of Europe's leading popular science events and the only one of its kind in Sweden.

For more information visit: (available in Swedish only)

Tel +46 303 73 80 31

Summer Research School, Gothenburg, Sweden

Gaining insight into life as a researcher

Borealis & Unga Forskare's Summer Research School enables 20 students, aged 15 to 16, to spend one week of their summer holiday at the University of Gothenburg. They perform experiments in the university's laboratories and get a flavour of life as a researcher. The aim is to develop and stimulate their interest in natural science and technology. Unga Forskare is a non-profit association for young people interested in natural science, technology and mathematics, and was founded in 1977.

For more information visit: (available in Swedish only) (available in Swedish only)

Webster Vienna Private University, Vienna, Austria

Supporting excellence in education

Prof. Bernd Marin, Webster Vienna
Private University Director, and
Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive.
Photo: © Borealis

Webster Vienna Private University is part of the global Webster network and first opened its doors to students in Austria in 1981. Fully accredited in both Austria and the United States, Webster Vienna offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificate programmes.

In May 2016, Borealis and Webster Vienna established the Borealis Scholarships endowment. The Scholarship aims to motivate and reward educational excellence for Webster Vienna's top students, while enabling them to concentrate fully on their studies by easing the financial burden of tuition.

At Borealis, excellence is more than a buzzword. "Establishing the Borealis Scholarships endowment at Webster Vienna to reward excellence is practicing what we preach," explains Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive. "We welcome this opportunity to use the Borealis Social Fund to enable top students – regardless of financial background or family income level – to dedicate themselves to getting a world-class education with less financial worries."

For more information about the Borealis Scholarships and how to apply for them visit:
Media Release: Borealis establishes endowment for excellence at Webster University

ZOOM Children's Museum, Vienna, Austria

A playful approach to plastics

Since 2013, Borealis has been one of the main sponsors of the ZOOM Children's Museum in Vienna, Austria. The intention is to make the complex subject of plastics more comprehensible to children and to raise awareness of the need for more responsible exploitation of our resources.

Borealis' partnership with ZOOM reflects the responsibility of business to society. Companies must participate in critical discussions and constructive debate on issues such as plastic waste, food waste, the plastics footprint, sustainable agriculture, the rising need for energy and how to mitigate climate change.

Borealis' latest co-operation with ZOOM was the exhibition "Plastic – a hands-on exhibition for kids about plastics and sustainability", which ran from October 2015 to September 2016. The exhibition took a playful approach to raising awareness of plastic as a valuable resource, and how to use it wisely.

For more information visit:
Media Release: Borealis promotes young talent by way of educational initiatives

Technikqueens, Austria

Sparking young women's excitement for engineering

© Wagner/OMV

In Austria, nearly 90% of companies have difficulties finding skilled personnel in science and engineering fields, and only 15% of such jobs are currently filled by women. The Technikqueens initiative, founded in 2012 by OMV, seeks to address this problem.

The campaign wants to spark enthusiasm for technology and engineering among young Austrian women aged 14 to 16, encouraging them to embark on careers in this field. The campaign uses online and offline platforms to invite young women to participate and spread the word among their peers. After completing an online technology challenge, the girls develop a special experiment and the highest scorers are invited to a workshop in Vienna. The final 25 winners take part in a designated mentoring programme, to further develop their personal and technical skills.

Borealis supports the Technikqueens initiative financially but also from a content-based perspective. In addition, a female Borealis researcher serves as a mentor and jury member to select the Technikqueens.

For more information visit: (available in German only) (available in German only)

Social Integration

Helping refugees become part of the community

In light of the refugee situation in Europe, Borealis has supported a number of initiatives to help refugees arrive and integrate into Austria in the long term.

One of the projects supported through the Borealis Social Fund is the construction of a playground for refugee children at the asylum centre in Traiskirchen, Austria. Designed and implemented by Architektur2000, the colourful and exciting playground will give children the chance to enjoy themselves, be children again and forget – at least for a few moments – their desperate and often dangerous escape from their homes in crisis regions. For the adults, the area serves as a meeting place to connect and build relationships with other refugee families.

Borealis has also donated to SOS Kinderdorf (SOS Children's Village) and Caritas Austria. The donation is being used to provide homes for unaccompanied refugee children, to help refugees learn German and prepare for school and work, to support integration and to organise cultural awareness dialogue sessions. Borealis also supported the Emirates Red Crescent's refugee relief efforts in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Media Release: Borealis donation to Emirates Red Crescent provides refugee relief

Teach for Austria

Education is the key to success

In Austria, access to education strongly depends on a child's social and family background. Children from migrant or low income backgrounds are disadvantaged and have fewer development opportunities.

Since 2014, Borealis has supported Teach For Austria, an organisation that aims to change these inequalities by introducing talented young university graduates as regular teachers - the so-called Fellows - into classrooms with many children from migrant or low income backgrounds. The Fellows act as role models and show that education is the key to success. At the same time, they improve their own leadership skills by motivating the children, fostering their potential and talents, and ultimately showing them a vision for the future.

Fellows are accepted only after completing a rigorous selection process, including assessment of their leadership potential and social engagement. They receive a two-year teaching contract and take part in a leadership programme.

Supporting welfare organisations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

For many years, Borealis has supported leading social organisations in the UAE through the Borealis Social Fund:

Emirates Foundation

Working with partners from the private and public sector, the Emirates Foundation has developed and implemented a range of programmes and special projects for young people, aimed at promoting social inclusion, community engagement, leadership and empowerment.

One of its programmes is "Think Science", which aims to inspire, encourage and empower young people between the ages of 15 and 35 to study science and choose it as a career path, in response to the nation's demand for scientific talent. The programme has three interrelated layers: Competition, Ambassadors and Connect. Borealis has hosted Think Science Ambassadors at the Borouge Innovation Centre on more than one occasion. The Ambassadors were given an insight into the whole plastics value chain including production, application segments and the whole plastics lifecycle.

UAE Disabled Sports Federation

The UAE Disabled Sports Federation was established to promote better awareness of disabled people's needs and to encourage their active integration into society. The Federation supports athletes participating in a wide range of disciplines, who regularly compete in regional, national and international events.

The athletes' achievements were rewarded when Abu Dhabi city won the right to host the Special Olympics World Games 2019, featuring 22 sports, including football, swimming, cycling, athletics, equestrian and powerlifting

Emirates National Schools

Since 2002, the Emirates National School has offered world-class educational programmes, from day care centre through to grade twelve, to prepare students for post-secondary studies. Approximately 9,200 students are enrolled in the 2016–17 school year, at five campuses sharing a common curriculum.

Borealis supported Emirates National Schools with funding for projects which support student learning. For example:

  • Updating science laboratories used in student instruction, which allowed Emirates National School to achieve IB Diploma Program Authorization to offer Standard and High Level classes in physics, biology, chemistry and environmental sciences, as well as College Board Advanced Placement classes in the same content areas.
  • Sponsoring the Model United Nations simulation programme for approximately 700 students in grade 5-12, from different schools in Abu Dhabi.
  • Using electronic materials technology in the teaching of Arabic.
Media Release: Borealis steps up support for UAE social welfare organisations

Water and Sanitation

Billions of people around the world lack access to clean water and adequate sanitation. This violates the human right to water and sanitation and is a major impediment to the economic and social development of millions of households.

Water for the World™ is a programme launched by Borealis and Borouge in 2007 that aims to advance solutions, expertise and know-how to respond to this global challenge. The programme spans a full range of projects in developing and emerging countries.

More information about the programme, as well as a full list of projects, can be found at

Waste and Resource Efficiency

The past 65 years have seen plastics production increase from 1.5 to 300 million tons. Plastic materials are increasingly used across all sectors, mainly due to their convenience for consumers and versatility in design and functionality. Plastics also bring tangible economic, environmental and social benefits, including food waste reduction, better crop production, higher energy efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions and lower water demand. Yet growing population and consumption pattern alongside a lack of adequate end-of-life management and littering behaviour have led to a global challenge of marine pollution. 
But the planet has limited resources and plastics are too valuable to be wasted. Borealis is committed to improving plastic recovery and reuse through its engagement in the plastics circular economy. With the Borealis Social Fund, Borealis is going beyond its core business. Waste and marine litter prevention has been defined as one of the three focus areas for the social fund. The first projects began in 2017, with more to follow.


Improving waste management and the lives of waste pickers

Borealis supports Ashoka, an international association that helps social entrepreneurs to realise their innovative ideas for tackling the world’s biggest challenges, including improving waste collection systems in emerging and developing countries.

In many of these countries, existing waste management systems are ineffective. This is often due to rapid growth in consumption as the population rises, coupled with little enforcement of existing laws. The lack of formal systems gives rise to an informal waste sector, where waste pickers comb through dumps for items of value, frequently in conditions that threaten their health and safety.

Albina Ruiz Rios from Peru is one of the social entrepreneurs supported by Ashoka. She helps waste pickers to care for themselves, through her organisation Ciudad Saludable, by providing training, vaccines, health care and safe working clothes for them. Protecting their health allows the waste pickers to focus on being entrepreneurs themselves, improving their living standards.

In Chile, Gonzalo Muñoz and his company Triciclos engage waste pickers in improving recycling. His idea is that the more people benefit from recycling, the more people will recycle. By improving recycling rates, Triciclos reduces the amount of waste going to landfill or into the air or water courses, while giving opportunities for street workers to increase their income and their dignity.

Project “STOP” (Stopping the Tap on Ocean Plastic)

Advancing waste management and stopping plastic leakage to the ocean in South-East Asia

An initiative designed to support UN SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth, UN SDG 9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure and UN SDG 14 - Life under Water

SYSTEMIQ, Borealis & Borouge and mtm have joined forces on a new initiative to accelerate waste management improvements, stop plastic waste leaking into the ocean and ultimately drive a circular economy in South-East Asia. 

Achieving this ambition requires a thorough understanding of the interventions needed and the development of tailor-made local solutions connected with global expertise and experience, building capabilities and know-how and deploying the necessary finance.

The first project shall be carried out in 2018. A scoping and feasibility assessment has been finalised with the objective to identify key system needs, intervention points and stakeholders, and to select the location for the first project.