For Audi, corporate citizenship is an essential feature of responsible and sustainable business operations. That is why Audi supports social causes in a variety of ways: from concrete disaster relief and donations to international organizations, to education, culture, sports and volunteering. Its goal, above and beyond our actual business activity, is to add value for society. But corporate citizenship also offers real added value for the company itself – for example, by generating new ideas and fresh impetus.
Corporate social responsibility for a purposeful contribution
To make a significant contribution to society through its corporate citizenship, the company is guided by the principles of “Engage,” “Educate” and “Empower.” These principles (see separate box) form the basis for the three types of commitment pursued in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR): first, commitment to being a good neighbor (corporate citizenship); second, commitment at the global level (global impact); and third, commitment to the work of the Audi Environmental Foundation.
For all three of these types of commitment, we often work in close cooperation with partners such as social institutions, associations, universities, NGOs or social start-ups in order to make a positive impact on society, the corporate culture and our employees.
What do “Engage,” “Educate” and “Empower” mean?
Engage covers donations and social sponsorship. In addition, it encompasses events, cooperations with nonprofit organizations and the promotion of projects with a positive social impact.
Educate unites all training and education programs that are offered or supported by Audi. The company’s focus here is not only on employees, but also on customers, business partners and society as a whole – especially initiatives in the vicinity of Audi sites. Audi also works with a number of national and international universities to help drive progress in the areas of research and teaching.
Empower covers volunteering and is therefore an instrument with a strong impact because Audi acts as a multiplier here. Through various innovation and cooperation projects, the company empowers other players to make the world as a whole more sustainable. These sustainability agents, as we call them, include employees, customers and other stakeholders. They are actively encouraged by Audi to advocate sustainable practices and lifestyles. The role of Audi is that of a change agent. This commitment is aimed at bringing about even more profound and long-term change – even without the company’s direct involvement, as in the case of the Engage and Educate instruments.
Commitment #1: What makes a good neighbor
Here’s to becoming good neighbors! Audi is a major employer at all of its sites around the world and is committed to being a good neighbor for the local community. “As a company, we have a responsibility to the communities in which we operate across the globe,” stresses Xavier Ros, member of the Board of Management for Human Resources at AUDI AG. Audi fulfills this responsibility through a wide range of commitments. All of our global sites are united by the same understanding of corporate citizenship. Audi tailors its social commitment to suit the region in question.
The brand promotes social, cultural, educational and sporting activities at its various sites. Corporate citizenship officers at each of the sites ensure that the donations and other forms of support go exactly where they are most urgently needed. At the same time, all parties involved benefit from close networking and the opportunity to share knowledge. Our clear and concise corporate citizenship strategy guides the exchange with our external contacts in the regions. Because for Audi, being a good neighbor means sticking together in every situation.
Audi Social Day, which takes place every two years, is just one example of what it looks like when actions speak louder than words. In 2023, the event saw around 1,000 employees from the production locations in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr, Brussels and San José Chiapa, as well as from Audi Business Innovation in Munich and Audi Interaction in Berlin and Potsdam, volunteering for a good cause. They demonstrated what corporate social responsibility is all about: being good neighbors and putting corporate citizenship into action.
Audi also lives up to its social responsibility internally: When employees find themselves in difficult situations, the company doesn’t leave them to fend for themselves. After all, the Four Rings stand for a livable, child-friendly society with a spirit of solidarity. “Career & family” and “career & care” are therefore two important topics.
Audi helps employees reconcile work and family life more easily by offering tailored care services. In collaboration with cooperation partners, the company provides fixed and flexible places in regional kindergartens and daycare centers, for example.
And employees who face the challenge of nursing care in their private lives receive support not only from their colleagues, but also from the company. Working together with experienced professionals, the company offers a wide range of free exchange and information formats, as well as personal advice on caregiving.
Commitment #2: Audi makes a difference – our global impact
The second type of commitment that Audi focuses on in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the global impact that the company can have. This commitment also has two pillars.
First, Audi provides financial support in the event of disasters, such as floods or wars like the one in Ukraine. These donations go to organizations that work internationally, like the refugee aid organization UNO Flüchtlingshilfe or the Red Cross.
Second, Audi has chosen to focus on three topics in line with its CSR strategy: “Electric Mobility & Digitalization,” “Circular Economy & Resources,” and “Green Energy & Infrastructure.” These areas were selected specifically because Audi can use its technologies, experience, infrastructure and expertise to help shape society’s progress. At the same time, the company can learn from the partners involved in these projects and thus create a positive feedback effect for its business activity.
Our goal is to build long-term partnerships and networks. Audi is interested in generating broad-based knowledge and empowering people – beyond the boundaries of its own company. The global impact commitment of Audi therefore focuses in particular on promoting social start-ups and academic cooperations, educational programs and sustainability initiatives. Audi has also chosen a regional focus here: the global south. Given its international supply chains, Audi intends to live up to its responsibility in this area through corporate citizenship.
Commitment #3: Audi Environmental Foundation
The work of the Audi Environmental Foundation demonstrates how well technology, environmental protection and corporate citizenship go together. In 2009, the foundation was established quite deliberately as a non-profit company and a wholly owned subsidiary of AUDI AG.
The foundation promotes research into new technologies and scientific methods for a livable future, thus blazing new trails for acting sustainably. Its aim is to spark enthusiasm for environmental issues – without pointing the finger. It also wants to raise awareness among people of all ages, build up knowledge and make a social contribution to a future worth living in.
The projects sponsored are very diverse, ranging from research into environmentally compatible mining to scholarships and lectures, for example at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL, through to the establishment of coastal protection initiatives. However, all of the foundation’s activities have one thing in common: They are not solely concerned with nature or the environment, but also with a sustainable human-environment system. The central focus is on circularity.