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January 23, 2017

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Celanese imbues spirit of volunteerism in employees

SUN Hua, founder and director of Huaxin, a Shanghai-based reha-bilitation center for disabled children, gratefully met a group of volunteers who came with gifts for the children. They were there last June when they renovated the center with low-toxic paint. They were also at the center last year when they offered monthly translation help at its charity clinic.

“A lot of other people would like to care for us, but it was hard to find volunteers like this group who are both well-organized and professional,” said Sun who has operated the center for nearly 20 years.

The volunteers are from Celanese, a nearly 100-year-old US-based chemicals company. On arriving at Huaxin, Mark Oberle, Celanese’s senior vice president for Asia, recognized some of the children immedi­ately. He gave a tablet he bought to a boy he promised to help realize his new-year dream. Receiving the gift, the boy, suf­fering from infantile autism, repaid with a smile.

Many of the volunteers like Oberle have been quite familiar with the rehabilitation center as they have visited the children several times. The volunteers paint the rooms or provide pro bono translation services monthly to help foreign doc­tors treating the children with their medical challenges.

“It’s not about improving superficially our brand image as a chemicals producer, but to entrench our employee engagement on the basis of giving back to the community where we work and live,” Oberle said.

Jessica, a marketing team member who also brought gifts that day, said she was glad to see children whom she helped become happy, and “it is the first time I take Celanese as a home deeply in (my) heart after working for it several years.”

The volunteering spirit has been ingrained in Celanese’s core value for long, which the corporation define as “im­proving the world.” Last year it specified the spirit by encour­aging its workers to spend at least 100,000 hours a year to freely help people globally. In fact a total of 120,524 volunteer hours were finally achieved, with 784 Chinese employees contributing over 100 volunteer­ing projects.

Service at Huaxin is a role model among Celanese’s ac­tivities as it combines caring for family, safety and primary education. These are the bed­rock of the company’s position for volunteering work.

Being a world’s leading spe­cialty chemicals maker in the Fortune 500 list, Celanese has found new ways to exert its in­fluence to benefit the public. It’s not just a company which produces life-improving prod­ucts but consists of people ready to serve the public.

The company has also brought an integrated online – offline platform to record the volunteer efforts and maximize benefits and impact.

Donating one hour on volun­teering work, every volunteer is promised US$10 as fund for further online donation, which would “double or triple the ben­efits as they can further feed the money back to society,” Oberle said.

Since 2013 Celanese has set up a fund, run by its employees, to support volunteering. The fund has attracted people out­side the company, as many of its customers, suppliers and some law firms have spontaneously donated capital “as they saw and thus trust we would put it to good use,” Oberle said.

Although no details about its scale and growth were un­veiled, Celanese said that more than US$1 million were raised last year.

Apart from local services such as those for Huaxin, Cela­nese’s volunteering campaigns are now seen as a new perk for its employees.

Celanese International Im­pact Program dispatches two groups of professionals for two weeks every year at poverty-stricken areas to help local people address their needs. Participants who went to India in 2016 for the project found it “most rewarding experience and a highlight of my career journey.”

As a chemicals producer Celanese is continuously dedi­cated to make a positive and meaningful contribution to our society. “We leverage innova­tive products and technologies to reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of people’s life, we empower and engage our talents to give back to our community.” Oberle said. “It’s our fundamental responsibility, and our value as a corporation heading to a sustainable future.”

Mark Oberle (left) and other Celanese volunteers claimed wishes from special kids.


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