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LANXESS education initiative reaches some 100,000 young people worldwide

  • Specialty chemicals company has expanded science education portfolio at its sites in the past five years
  • Approximately 200 projects completed around the world to date
  • Approximately EUR 6 million in total invested in education projects – EUR 4 million in Germany alone
  • Latest education initiative campaign in Germany targets secondary modern school (“Hauptschule”) students for first time

Specialty chemicals company LANXESS is continuing to expand its educational portfolio in science and technology for young people around the world – a process that has been ongoing for the past five years. The company launched its comprehensive education initiative in spring 2008. Since then, LANXESS has reached out to some 100,000 children and young people – 50,000 in Germany alone – with a good 200 projects. Those include project weeks dedicated to specific topics, knowledge competitions, equipment and financial donations to support science teaching, specially developed teaching materials and scholarships. Around the world, the company has invested a total of more than EUR 6 million with the aim of improving the educational offerings and knowledge base available to young people. To date, LANXESS has invested some EUR 4 million of this total in Germany alone. The specialty chemicals company is also dedicated to carrying forward its wide-ranging education commitment into the future. During the current year, the initiative is being expanded to secondary modern school (“Hauptschule”) students in Germany and practical project days will be used to nurture the skills young people will need when they enter the work world.

“As a global company, we take our social responsibility very seriously. We want to show young people how exciting science and technology can be and introduce them to the wide-ranging prospects and opportunities these disciplines offer,” says Rainier van Roessel, Labor Director and member of the LANXESS Board of Management. “At the same time, an investment in the skills of young people is an investment in the future of our business. Having the right people with the right skills is what will keep LANXESS competitive in the future and enable us to expand our leading position on the global markets.”

First project for secondary modern school students in Germany launches in fall

The latest campaign in the LANXESS education initiative is the first to be aimed at secondary modern school students in Germany. From fall this year, young people will be taking part in the “Make it happen – Green Mobility” project. The project will debut across several schools in Cologne, including secondary modern schools, but also junior high and comprehensive schools that run a secondary modern curriculum. Over several days, participating students will leave the classrooms, going out into the field – including to the new LANXESS Tower in Cologne – to develop their own ideas for the “mobility of the future” and showcase them to an audience. To ensure they can develop and present their concepts to the best of their ability, they will first study creativity and presentation techniques. Trips to the production facilities and laboratories of LANXESS will also show the young people what job opportunities a specialty chemicals company has to offer them. Furthermore, over the coming year, LANXESS is planning to hold project days at secondary modern schools based near its sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld.

LANXESS education initiative: Focus on Germany

LANXESS conducts most of the projects in its education initiative in Germany, where the company employs around half its workforce of approximately 17,400 staff. LANXESS has so far supported 33 high schools close to its sites with a total of some EUR 1 million. This funding has been used in many ways, including to provide new laboratory facilities, technical equipment and teaching materials for chemistry, biology, physics and IT classes. In addition, LANXESS has staged more than 50 practical project weeks and workshops for high school students since 2008, covering topics such as mobility and water.

Through its education initiative, LANXESS would also like to encourage “little researchers” to take an interest in science and discover the inventor inside themselves. To this end, since the end of last year, LANXESS has distributed 500 specially developed chemistry experiment kits to elementary schools across Germany. All 270 state-run elementary schools at LANXESS sites have received their own kit. An experiment set can be used by one class and contains entirely non-hazardous experiments that look at the solubility of substances in water. Another 500 of these kits are being distributed among educational establishments outside Germany. The company has invested a total of EUR 360,000 in the chemistry experiment kits. Furthermore, from fall this year, all elementary schools near LANXESS sites in Germany will receive teaching materials on the topics of mobility, globalization, urbanization and water that have been specially designed for use in schools. The company has set aside an additional EUR 100,000 for these materials.

LANXESS is also working to broaden the educational opportunities for talented young people at universities. As part of the German government’s “Germany Scholarship” program, the company supports a total of 50 students at eight universities, five of which are based in North Rhine-Westphalia.

LANXESS supports education on virtually every continent

LANXESS has established projects designed to promote education in the sciences on every continent where it runs a production site.

Examples from South America: In 2010 LANXESS launched the “Green Cycle” environmental contest at its sites in Cabo de Santo Agostinho and Porto Feliz, Brazil. Besides earning recognition for the environmental protection projects they develop during the contest, the prize-winners also gain support from LANXESS in implementing them. A total of 23 individual measures have been put into action since the competition launched.

In Argentina, the company is involved in the “Educar para Crecer” initiative, which roughly translates into English as “Educate to grow”. This initiative aims to promote development in the Zárate region by supporting schools and non-profit organizations engaged in educational, social and environmental protection activities there. As well as providing material support for the implementation of education projects, LANXESS also helps to give participants the basic concept development know-how they need before they get started. To date, some 6,000 people have benefited from the projects that have been conducted.

Examples from Asia: For several years, LANXESS has been sponsoring the “Teach for India” project with an annual donation of EUR 50,000. The project recruits top graduates from Indian universities who, after completing their studies, spend an initial period of two years teaching full-time at schools that have insufficient funds to provide a full range of educational opportunities. Furthermore, thanks to a donation of EUR 15,000 from LANXESS, a fully equipped library for middle and upper grade students was opened at the end of 2012 in Nagda to provide young people with new opportunities to further their education and expand their knowledge through numerous books, magazines and daily newspapers. LANXESS also financed the refurbishment and equipping of two state-run schools in Jhagadia that are attended by a total of 400 students.

At its Liyang site in China, LANXESS launched a sponsorship program for especially gifted children from low-income backgrounds – 36 children have received a scholarship as a result.

Example from Africa: LANXESS is the main sponsor of the “Rally to Read” initiative in South Africa, which aims to reduce the significant gap in achievement between students in rural areas and their urban counterparts. Committed LANXESS employees made the journey of some 350 kilometers from Durban to 12 schools in the rural KwaZulu-Natal region to deliver container libraries, sports equipment, educational toys, school bags, writing materials and other items.

Example from North America: The aim of the “Xplore Science with LANXESS” program initiated by the LANXESS Corporation in the United States is to use interactive classroom experiences to show young people how fascinating science is. In cooperation with the Science Screen Report organization, LANXESS distributed educational DVDs on current science-related topics to schools around the country, thereby extending the reach of the program far beyond the confines of its U.S. sites.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 9.1 billion in 2012 and roughly 17,400 employees in 31 countries. The company is currently represented at 50 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. LANXESS is a member of the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and FTSE4Good as well as the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI).


Mark Mätschke

Mark Mätschke
Head of General Press and Trade & Technical Press

Phone: +49 221 8885 3372

Fax: +49 221 8885 4994

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