Successful companies have an obligation to give something back to society. Audi fully accepts this responsibility and implements cultural and social projects designed to benefit the regions around its locations. The company supports growth initiatives and networks with communities, schools and universities.
A close exchange with academic partners plays an increasingly important role in terms of companies’ innovation capabilities. Audi works together with numerous national and international institutes, investing not only in cooperative efforts in technical sciences but also in humanities, social science and economics research.
Audi and the Technical University of Munich launched the first strategic partnership back in 2003; worldwide, there are currently 29 existing university partnerships. At present, around 141 PhD students are earning their doctorates in scientific projects funded by Audi; more than 150 Audi employees are contributing to knowledge transfer as visiting lecturers at universities.
Audi wants to inspire broad public interest in science. Under the motto “Hands-on university hands-on,” the Company has held the Audi Colloquium lecture series in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm since 2004. Over 2,300 people attended the events during 2012 alone. Many young people get to know Audi through the School and Industry Working Group (Arbeitskreis Schulewirtschaft).
The company has been supporting regional, national and international culture for more than 50 years now as part of its central "Audi Art Experience" program. The aim is to provide opportunities for employees and people who live around the corporate sites to access and experience art.
The Audi Summer Concerts have been presented since 1990. This series of around 20 concerts per season is held in Ingolstadt and the region, and showcases acclaimed artists such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Diana Damrau and Rudolf Buchbinder as well as upcoming singers and musicians. Free performances round out the program. The Neckarsulm plant and the sites outside of Germany are also involved in cultural affairs. Audi employees founded a company orchestra back in 1962 – today it’s known as the Audi Philharmonic Wind Orchestra. Another Audi cultural sponsorship project is the Youth Choir Academy that was established in 2007.
Audi supports employees in their voluntary social activities with its corporate volunteering measures – including the "Audi Volunteers" program, which was launched in 2012. The networking platform for this program matches interested employees with charitable organizations that register their needs for support on the platform. The idea behind another project, entitled “startsocial,” is to allow social projects to profit from the experiences of industrial and social businesses.
Audi provides financial assistance to “startsocial” and the Company’s employees contribute their know-how in a voluntary capacity to assist the participants. A wealth of fundraisers round out the voluntary activities of Audi employees.
These range from emergency aid in natural disasters to the annual Christmas donations by employees and the Board of Management, which was initiated by the Works Council. The donations, which reach impressive six-figure amounts each year, benefit social and charity initiatives in the regions around the worldwide Audi sites.
The Audi Urban Future Initiative, founded in 2010, seeks intelligent ideas for the mobility of tomorrow. It is a global forum that brings together experts from various cultures and disciplines. It is where architects, sociologists, urban planners and trend researchers meet to discuss new approaches to finding mobility solutions for the rapidly growing megacities of the world. A key component of the initiative is the Audi Urban Future Award. It is Germany’s largest monetary prize for an architectural competition, and it is awarded every two years. In 2012, the US agency Höweler & Yoon Architecture won with its mobility concept for the Boston/Washington metropolitan region.