Businesses can only grow sustainably in a healthy environment and stable society. To help foster its role as a socially responsible company, Borealis has established the Borealis Social Fund. To maximise the impact of its engagement and to align Borealis’ social engagement activities with its Sustainability Strategy, the Group has defined three areas of engagement, contributing directly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs):
Waste and Resource Efficiency and Prevention of Marine Litter, with the following focus:
Water and Sanitation (Water for the World), with the following focus:
Education and Social Integration, with the following focus:
Marine litter is a global challenge. Up to 13 million tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean every year. Around 86% of the plastic leakage comes from Asian countries, as a result of their fast-growing economies, population and consumption, and the necessary waste management infrastructure not being able to keep pace with this rapid development. Poor waste management contributes to reduced tourism and fishing productivity and impacts community health. Finally, ocean plastic severely pollutes the environment, rivers, oceans and impacts marine life.
The world needs to address the problem and become more resource efficient. The solution is to establish more sustainable and circular waste management systems and to stop plastic leakage at source.
In 2017, Borealis and SYSTEMIQ co-founded Project STOP (Stop Ocean Plastics), a programme that focuses on the regions with high leakage rates. Project STOP works hand-in-hand with cities to create leak-free, low-cost and more circular waste management systems. Supported by industry and government partners, Project STOP aims to achieve zero leakage of waste into the environment and to recycle more plastics. In the process, it also creates community benefits, including jobs in waste management and a reduction in the harmful impact of mismanaged waste on public health, tourism and fisheries. Project STOP uses a “system enabler” approach, whereby a team of experts works with the local government, communities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to build institutional capacity and support financial and business planning, behaviour change, technical expertise, project management and recycling valorisation.
Project STOP has been joined by more partners, who are each committed to bringing their expertise, know-how and financial and technical support to the initiative. Sustainable Waste Indonesia, Veolia, the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta as well as NOVA Chemicals and Borouge joined the project in 2018. During 2019, Schwarz Group, Nestle and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste became partners in Project STOP.
The first STOP city partnership was launched in 2018 in Muncar, Indonesia, a fishing harbour with around 130,000 inhabitants. So far, the project has:
The launch of two more city-partnership projects is planned for 2020. With these three cities, Project STOP will reach 450,000 people and prevent 80,000 tonnes of waste leaking into the environment every year.
In 2019, Project STOP received the renowned ADIPEC Award. This award recognises outstanding contributions to the future of the oil and gas industry and was presented at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi on 11 November 2019.
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However, due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. These problems also impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. According to the United Nations, millions of people still lack access to basic drinking water and safe sanitation services. Drought in particular afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition.
Since 2007, Borealis and Borouge have contributed to solving this global challenge through Water for the World, a joint initiative to advance solutions, expertise and know-how to address the global water challenge in rural and urban communities, with a focus on South-East Asia and Africa.
To maximise the benefit it brings, Water for the World works in partnership with NGOs and the private sector, including business partners and customers of Borealis and Borouge. Since its launch, Water for the World has carried out numerous projects across Asia and Africa, including China, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nepal, Morocco, Myanmar and Pakistan, benefiting more than 800,000 people.
Izgouren and Ilguiloda are the two poorest villages in Ait Abyoud, one of Morocco’s remotest communities. To meet their essential need for water for drinking, cooking, washing and subsistence farming, women and children had to walk several kilometres to the nearest spring, often several times a day. This meant children were unable to attend school and the women could not work.
The solution was to pipe water to tanks fed by a well. Water for the World provided funds and the material for 6 kilometres of pipe. BorSafe PE100 HE3490LS readymade compound was chosen for the pipe system, due to its long-term durability and ease of installation, when compared with the alternative of ductile iron.
The Columbia University chapter of Engineers Without Borders worked with local people to construct a pipeline from the first village, while local NGO High Atlas Foundation ensured close collaboration with the community. The Columbia University team will return in 2020 to help expand the system, so it reaches the second village. After the project was fully completed, education and women's development programmes began. These will result in more children in school and enable women to work, to provide financially for their families.
Young people’s education and innovation skills will determine how society will cope with global sustainability challenges such as climate change and ocean pollution. Their critical minds are essential if we are to continue to find innovative solutions to the ever-more complex challenges facing society today.
Educational systems therefore need to adopt a framework and practices that enable young people to develop the right skills, so they can put their ideas into practice. Stimulating enthusiasm for science and chemistry at an early age means that today’s young and inquisitive minds will become tomorrow’s leading scientists and innovators. This is why Borealis supports initiatives to inspire children in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in particular.
Borealis has long-standing partnerships with a number of educational institutions in Europe as well as in the UAE and in 2019 announced a new round of support to three leading social organisations in the UAE – the Emirates Foundation, the UAE Paralympic Committee and the Emirates National Schools.
Borealis has been a main sponsor of the ZOOM Children's Museum in Vienna, Austria since 2013. ZOOM aims to strengthen children's creative capacity, enabling them to enjoy discursive approaches and nuanced ways of seeing, encouraging them to take a keen early interest in science and research, and promoting their problem-solving skills. Over 50,000 children visit exhibitions at ZOOM every year. They engage with topics from everyday life, science and art, presenting complex content playfully and using all their senses.
Since 2013, Borealis has supported a number of activities, such as two thematic exhibitions: 'Plastic' and 'Earth & Soil'. This successful collaboration, geared to promoting the spirit of research in children, has now been extended for a further three years, with another new exhibition to be co-developed on the topic of sustainability.
Asylum seekers’ ability to integrate into their new society and the job world is largely dependent on their education and training. With this in mind, Borealis and the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz, Austria, have initiated the “Borealis MORE” scholarship programme. This is the first of its kind in Austria, enabling asylum applicants to start university studies and filling a critical gap in government support. An initial 25 students from eight nations were selected for the 2017/18 academic year and 21 for the 2018/19 academic year. In 2019, the first student participating in the programme finalised his masters thesis and graduated. Borealis and JKU aim to continue this programme and extend it to other universities.