Corporate commitment to refugees


In response to the current challenges posed by the large number of refugees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the UN Global Compact urges companies to become actively involved in this issue. In partnership with the UN Refugee Agency and other supporting organisations, companies are called upon to commit to activities to support the refugees or to integrate them in the social environment, within the framework of the ‘Business Action Pledge in Response to the Refugee Crisis’.

The German Global Compact Network strongly supports this initiative and has called upon its signatories to sign the pledge and become involved. Many German companies have already launched a variety of activities in support of refugees, through financial contributions, public commitment, partnerships with aid organisations and even the integration of the activities into the company’s core business. Such activities often include training and further education programmes for refugees, further measures from the field of Human Resources and the cost-effective provision of services and products.

We would like to give you some examples at this point and also call upon you to send us your Good Practices:

TÜV Rheinland (Technical Inspection Authority)

The TÜV Rheinland wanted to help people who have had to flee from war and persecution. The company uses various aid projects to create a solid foundation for the refugees’ future professional life and enable them to be successfully integrated into the labour market. The following measures were initiated as early as 2015:

  • The provision of training courses to prepare refugees for their future professional lives. In close cooperation with the IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) in Cologne, the TÜV Rheinland employed the first refugees in that city in the fields of IT and material testing. This was done within the framework of an ‘Entry Level Qualification’ programme. After six months in the programme, the TÜV Rheinland offers the refugees the chance to start an apprenticeship. Traineeships and language courses are also organised where possible, to prepare suitable candidates for training e.g. as mechatronics engineers or cooks. TÜV Rheinland expands this model regularly – at the beginning of the new training year, the company will take on ten refugees as apprentices.
  • In offering language courses for the refugees, TÜV Rheinland wishes to encourage them to take active roles in our society. At the end of last year in Cologne, the TÜV Rheinland Academy launched language courses for refugees, especially for women with children. The focus is on language training to help in coping with everyday situations. 800 refugees have already accepted this offer.
  • The TÜV Rheinland also supports the voluntary commitment of its employees on the Cologne, Berlin and Nuremberg sites. Ten employees helped with the reception, registration and management of incoming refugees at the Cologne/Bonn airport and the Berlin-Schönefeld railway station – and in Nuremberg at the end of last year, the TÜV Rheinland helped the German Red Cross with the sorting of material donations. A total of 30 employees participated in this action. Our employees in Cologne, Berlin and Nuremberg also collected material donations for refugees. TÜV Rheinland supports its employees in these endeavours by giving them the necessary days off work. 

Deutsche Telekom

The Deutsche Telekom supports the efforts of aid organisations and the public sector in the accommodation and care of refugees. To provide help as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible, a corporate internal task force was formed under the chairmanship of the Head of Personnel.

Telekom’s offer of help includes:

  • providing WiFi networks in refugee accommodation
  • supporting authorities in the search for potential accommodation
  • sending employees to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
  • supporting employees in their voluntary commitment to refugees
  • constructing a refugee portal with information for refugees
  • provision of traineeship places for refugees.

More information on these activities can be found here.


The BMW Group has been involved in various integration projects for several years now. Due to current developments, BMW also wants to introduce a further package of activities. This will be a combination of language courses and projects for vocational orientation and qualification:

  • The first building block was the offer to more highly-qualified refugees to take part in a BMW Group orientation project with an accompanying language course. This was done in collaboration with the Federal Employment Agency, with which the project had already been coordinated. The project started with around 50 refugees in Munich in January 2016.
  • The project is being successively expanded to include the BMW plant locations at Landshut, Dingolfing, Regensburg, Leipzig, Berlin and selected BMW branch offices.
  • BMW is also currently checking how quickly refugees can be included in the operational qualification program of the BMW Group and, where applicable, also in vocational Training.


LANXESS helps refugees at its plants in Germany, providing €400,000 in funding to this end. The financial support flows as required to selected projects mainly in Cologne, Dormagen, Leverkusen and Krefeld.

The company is considering financing language courses, purchasing teaching materials, renting rooms and establishing childcare facilities for the introduction of classes for refugee children of school-age.

The company also gives time off to employees who commit to helping the refugees.

You’ll find more information about the commitment of LANXESS here.

Metro Group

The support of refugees by the METRO GROUP can be divided into several sections:

  • Humanitarian aid in cooperation with the ‘International Federation of Red Cross’, which the Group supports with €300,000 in emergency aid.
  • Promotion of local refugee aid projects of employees: A donation fund of €1 million was set up for this purpose. After successful application, individual projects are examined by a specialist group and are given a maximum of €10.000 in support funding. The commitment here ranges from language courses, clothing donations and sports activities to sponsorships, all with the aim of alleviating the suffering of refugees and/or to support their integration into society.
  • METRO Cash & Carry’s global initiative, Care & Share, also helps the refugees. This initiative has promoted the social and environmental commitment of the employees and customers of the METRO GROUP for years now, e.g. through food and clothing donations.

You can learn more about the commitment of the METRO GROUP here:

Link to the cooperation with the ‘International Federation of Red Cross’

Link to the donations fund of the METRO GROUP

Deutsche Post

Together with its partners (Aktion Deutschland Hilft, SOS-Kinderdorf, Stiftung Lesen und Teach First Deutschland), the Deutsche Post DHL Group makes a contribution to refugee aid that consists of several components: 

  • As one of the largest employers in Germany, the company offers up to 1,000 traineeships, which can lead to training and permanent jobs.
  • The Deutsche Post formed a network of 100 coordinators in its branch offices, who have the task of identifying and managing local projects together with participating charities all over Germany.
  • The Group encourages up to 10,000 employees to voluntarily get involved in these local projects.
  • For projects involving the integration of refugees, the company made €1 million available for the first year, supporting (among other projects) local projects, promoting reading sponsorships and training integration pilots.
  • The company also conduct discussions on the use of up to 100,000 m² of real estate for refugee accommodation with the responsible authorities at federal and regional levels and discusses the use of its employees for administrative tasks.

The initiative was originally launched on 17 September 2015 and is planned to run for at least one year.

You’ll find more information about the commitment of the Deutsche Post DHL Group here.

Deutsche Bahn AG

Two Deutsche Bahn AG projects to support the integration of refugees into the labour market have been in operation since November 2015:

  • Qualification program for professionally experienced refugees in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency, the City of Munich, the Chamber of Commerce for Munich and Upper Bavaria and the Training Centre of the Bavarian Economy: This programme targets refugees who have professional work experience or training in the electro-technical field. The aim of the 28-month retraining scheme is to qualify refugees as electronics specialists. If it is successful, the programme will be offered regularly and extended throughout the whole of Bavaria.
  • Expansion of the ‘Chance Plus’ programme: Since November, this project, which already existed for teenagers with no apprenticeships, was also opened to refugees. Upon successful completion, the participants will receive a certificate which should help them to start a job. Six refugees have started the programme in Munich since 11.11.2015. In the 2015/2016 training year, the participation of up to 30 refugees is planned for various locations in Germany.

The participants in both programmes take part in a language course.

For more information about the commitment of the Deutsche Bahn AG, please click here.

Die erste Klasse des Qualifizierungsprogramms zu Besuch im ICE-Werk München


The RWE AG has various formats and programmes for providing support for refugees and their integration:

  • Assistance with administrative formalities
  • Organisation of recreational activities
  • Assistance in the public relations work of various institutions
  • Support of workers in refugee camps
  • Collection of material donations (especially clothes and hygiene items)
  • Organisation of training courses for pilot integration projects
  • Language courses
  • Renovation of refugee accommodation
  • Participation in various projects by RWE trainees (e.g. the organisation of a common Project Day with various recreational activities)

Robert Bosch AG

The refugee situation and the resulting necessity to integrate the people fleeing from war in a society that is still foreign for them represents an extraordinary challenge. Bosch carries out numerous activities in support of refugees to make an active contribution to the cause.

  • The creation of 200 additional traineeship jobs
  • Call for staff donations by management and employee representatives, with the promise that every Euro donated would be doubled until the end of January 2016
  • Provision of €500,000 for measures to promote the integration of sites
  • Provision of land to communities for refugee accommodation

Many Bosch employees also volunteer to help the refugees.

  • Support from non-profit initiatives and organisations
  • Offer of language courses, translation help and assistance in administrative procedures
  • Organisation of Christmas events with gifts
  • Collection and delivery of clothes and material donations
  • Organisation of intercultural encounters
    More information can be found here.


K+S supports organisations, initiatives and authorities involved in refugee aid with specific actions in the environment of the company’s sites. Since mid-2015, K+S has provided fast and practical ‘First Aid’ through donations and employee/business initiatives. In the long term, the company’s focus is on helping refugees with their integration.

  • K+S participates in the nationwide initiative, ‘InCharge’. With their mentoring programme, K+S employees help refugees who want to enter the employment market.
  • K+S also offers career guidance advice, contributing to the integration of refugees who are seeking training. The initial qualification programme is aimed at preparing young refugees and young Germans in such a way that they can begin training at K+S. In training centres, the young people learn the content of K+S courses and the possibilities they create. At the same time, K+S helps them to determine their professional interests, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Support of the employees in their voluntary commitment to refugees: In 2015, as part of ‘First Aid’, voluntary helpers were given up to 2 weeks’ time off, with full pay. Around 60 employees were involved, working in approximately 110 shifts.
  • Employees helped to renovate an initial reception facility in Kassel for many families and children and collected material donations for them.
  • K+S supports charities such as the German Red Cross (DRK), the German Life Saving Society (DLRG), city authorities and communities with material and financial donations. A few examples:
    › Together with the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kassel, K+S has financed a ‘Mobile Clothing Store’ for the DRK Kassel since October 2015.
    › The K+S Purchasing department procured materials for the building and furnishing of refugee accommodation in Fulda and Kassel.
    › The Borth factory of esco (a subsidiary of K+S) donated food-grade salt to a French charity that supplied the refugees at the Channel Tunnel in Calais.
  • At several of its company sites, K+S Immobilien makes residential accommodation available for refugees, as well as conference rooms for language courses.

You’ll find more information about the involvement of K+S in the InCharge initiative here.

Apart from that, K+S helps with containers for refugee accommodation,

provides refugee aid with the ‘Mobile Clothing Store’,

and supports the voluntary commitment of its employees.

K+S AG engagiert sich für Flüchtlinge

If you have any questions or if you want to share your activities with us, please call (+ 49 (0) 30 72614-239) or email Philipp Bleckmann.


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