We care. How seemingly small ideas can have a big impact
Many of our employees are on the ground in India and Kenya, working on a variety of projects and measures with (MMH) and local NGOs. Boehringer Ingelheim sites all over the world are home to more and more social intrapreneurs, who contribute their ideas and dedicate themselves to implementing projects as well as supporting other MMH projects. Dr. Stefan Herrmann, Quality Assurance Solids Germany, and Gerdi Elbert and Stefan Bornschein, Waste Management Center at Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany, developed an idea together that has a two-fold benefit. Starting in 2018, red plastic boxes replaced fiber drums for transporting medicinal products. Dr. Stefan Herrmann initiated the switch, since the round fiber drums, which are made of plywood, no longer offered adequate protection for the medicinal products. The red boxes, on the other hand, are sturdy and stackable, and they are collected at the disposal center after delivery.
In collaboration with other departments within the company, these boxes have been gathered up and then given to employees who made a donation. The idea promoted cross-departmental engagement, as many of our colleagues jumped in to help clean the boxes, organize logistics, and coordinate their distribution. This campaign began in Ingelheim in spring 2019 and has since spread across Germany, and it’s especially popular at the Biberach site. These practical boxes can be used for any number of purposes in any household, and the donated funds go toward urgent MMH projects. The donations made it possible to provide aid to project partners and NGOs in India and Africa without any red tape at the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Urgent support continues to be needed here.
The pandemic caused the global economy to crash in March 2020, directly impacting the local economies and leaving many people without access to staple foods. Within days, the infrastructures in these regions, already functioning poorly, crumbled, causing nearly insurmountable problems. The situation in Kenya is particularly critical in the wake of the flooding that had hit huge swaths of the country before COVID-19. In those places where the line between poverty and starvation is a thin one, this pandemic is a catastrophe. The employee donations that MMH had initially intended to invest in additional hygiene measures related to COVID-19 in Kenya were also used to help pay for repairs, necessary equipment, and basic services including food and clean drinking water. NGOs in India began producing masks to distribute locally. Women in our self-help groups are able to perform this work at home, securing a small income for their families. The red boxes from our social intrapreneurs in Ingelheim exemplify what engagement can do and how even seemingly small ideas can have a big impact.