The BMW Group with its headquarters in Munich, Germany, is one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers. Along with its core business as a premium car manufacturer, the BMW Group's activities comprise also the production of motorcycles, as well as financial services for private and business customers. With the three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the BMW Group positions itself firmly within the premium sector of the international automobile market. The BMW Group currently has 23 production locations in 13 countries and is represented by 39 of its own sales subsidiaries all over the world. With more than 106,000 employees worldwide, the BMW Group achieved revenues of EUR 48,999 billion in 2006.
"We assume responsibility." This is the philosophy behind the BMW Group's involvement in society and social programmes, with goals such as:
Increased road safety
Promoting intercultural understanding
Educational projects for children and young people
» For more information, please visit www.bmwgroup.com/socialcommitment
The involvement of the BMW Group is demonstrated by an extended programme against HIV/AIDS in South Africa as well as throughout the world.
The workplace programme in South Africa
The BMW Group has a total of 2846 employees in South Africa. BMW South Africa is meeting the increasing threat of HIV/AIDS with an active, effective workplace programme that offers individual, long-term solutions to prevent new infections and ease the consequences of the pandemic.
This project of the BMW Group South Africa places the emphasis equally on education, prevention and treatment. Key factors are a successful testing programme and the creation and preservation of a culture of trust among associates.
In order to gain a better understanding of how the workforce views the subject of HIV/AIDS, in the year 2000 the BMW Group South Africa carried out a comprehensive study in conjunction with the University of Pretoria before taking measures accordingly.
In December 2000 HIV/AIDS guidelines were adopted within the BMW Group South Africa. These firm guidelines define the aims and principles of the HIV/AIDS programme and are being constantly updated.
A comprehensive education programme is essential to prevent new infections. BMW South Africa built its prevention and awareness programme around training, events, workshops, forums and industrial theatre. It makes sure that condoms and educational materials are distributed widely and freely among employees. Specially-trained peer educators among the workforce voluntarily ensure that their colleagues get comprehensive information and education on HIV/AIDS.
Test and counselling
Knowing one's HIV-status is one of the key elements in the fight against the pandemic. The BMW Group organises the entire process from pre-testing individual counselling to laboratory tests of blood samples and post-test counselling. The service is available to all employees for free at workplace clinics.
The BMW Group South Africa has developed a health programme for its HIV-positive associates, which offers individual treatment to guarantee HIV-positive associates and those with AIDS long life expectancy. The company clinic provides HIV-positive employees as well as those suffering from full-blown AIDS, with all the essential nutrients, gives advice on diet, lifestyle and sport and supports them with health checks and psychological counselling. HIV positive associates and their dependants receive treatment by the Medical Aid Programme of the BMW Group South Africa "Aid for AIDS" (AfA) on the company health insurance scheme. This includes among other things access to a complete spectrum of free methods of treatment including anti-retroviral medication.
Over 90% of BMW South Africa's work force participated in the anti-HIV/AIDS campaign. According to a study of the World Economic Forum's Global Health Initiative, this is the highest recorded level of voluntary testing and counselling among worldwide corporations. These employees took an HIV test and attended pre- and post-counselling sessions. 85 percent of all associates of BMW South Africa are aware of their HIV status. This high rate of participation stands for the trust of the employees into the HIV/AIDS programme. It has emerged that about 6 percent of all the associates so far tested are HIV positive.
Partnerships in South Africa
Even though the primary focus of the BMW South Africa's HIV/AIDS Programme is by nature on the company's associates, it is also of utmost importance to reach the associates' families, suppliers, dealers, the communities and the extended society. Some examples are:
In 2007 the BMW Group has initiated a joint project with the LoveLife Trust. Together, the two organisations facilitate the construction of a Youth Centre in an underprivileged community near Knysna, South Africa. The official opening has taken place on November 2007. Among education and sport activities, this Centre offers a special health program that focuses on HIV/AIDS for young people.
The BMW Group South Africa has formed a public private partnership in cooperation with SEQUA, an organisation established by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, to create the Soshanguve Multi-Purpose Health and Wellness Centre, which was opened in April 2005 in the vicinity of the Rosslyn plant in Johannesburg. The multi-functional centre comprises information and advisory service for HIV/AIDS as well as a library, training facilities and a vegetable garden. Roughly 700,000 people can utilize these facilities. The centre also includes a health clinic, where up to 5,000 patients a month can be treated. The centre is able to fund itself and is led by members of the community.
For the 10th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, employees at the BMW Rosslyn plant manufactured a limited edition of ten BMW 3 Series automobiles which were then auctioned worldwide. The proceeds from this auction went to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which in particular helps children with AIDS. BMW Group branches in the USA, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and Germany also helped raise money for this fund.
The support project for environmental education in South African schools - the "Schools Environment Education Development Project" (SEED) - not only sets out to awaken a stronger sense of environmental awareness among South African children; pupils in participating schools learn how to grow vegetables, get health education and learn about hygiene standards. This education together with the healthy vegetables reaped in the schools' gardens can become a key in helping their families living with HIV and contributes to the early HIV/AIDS education and prevention. Every year, the BMW Group increases the number of participating schools. Today, over 50 schools are involved in the program, which started in 1996.
As a part of its network and in order to further promote information and communication concerning HIV/AIDS, the BMW Group South Africa has also offered its HIV/AIDS management training to local doctors, who are now well-informed contact persons for the community members. The company has also started HIV/AIDS-related training for local healers and leaders of religious groups to reach all members of the community.
Other projects worldwide
The commitment of the BMW Group to fight HIV/AIDS is international. Examples include:
In Thailand, the BMW Group provides residents at a facility for AIDS patients with medicine, clothing and food. The Baan Gerda children's village was set up in Thailand to give a home to HIV-infected orphans. Its aim is to prepare the children for later integration into society. BMW Group Thailand has recognised the particular urgency of this situation and supports the children's home by providing necessary finance.
Since the year 2000, the BMW Group supports the Vienna Life Ball, one of the largest AIDS benefit events in Europe. Every year, the ball auctions a MINI specially created by a renowned designer, e.g. Donatella Versace or Mario Testino, the proceeds of which go to support AIDS projects.
In the course of the reconstruction efforts after the devastating tsunami disaster at the end of 2004, the BMW Group has supported community programs in South India in cooperation with the World Hunger Aid (Welthungerhilfe). Amongst other issues education and HIV/AIDS prevention are included in these programs.