Neste is in a change-making business to combat climate change and foster sustainable development. We work to create a healthier planet for our children, and believe that a sustainable business can contribute to well-being of people and the planet.
There are many ways to give back to the societies we are working with and within. Our 70th birthday in 2018 inspired us to think about more structured ways of engaging with local communities surrounding us and our sites. Volunteering and good corporate citizenship are no new issues for us but, to honor our anniversary, we wanted to take our societal contribution to the next level. Further, we wanted to engage our employees to choose the targets of the volunteering efforts.
Half of a working day to volunteering
In 2018, we offered our employees the opportunity to dedicate a half of one working day to voluntary work. They themselves could choose where they wanted to volunteer and whether they would work individually or in teams. The only criteria were that volunteering was in line with Neste's values and for an organization doing good in the local community or society. Employees were also advised, for example, not to engage in any high-risk work, or work for political parties or religious movements. Neste’s executive team members showed an example and did their share already at the end of 2017.
Based on the feedback, the initiative was a great success for us and an empowering experience for our employees. Approximately 15% of our people participated in our jubilee charity; little more than half of them individually, the rest in teams. Participants came from all of sites in Finland as well as from Houston, Singapore and Geneva, Rotterdam and Sluiskil in the Netherlands, and the Baltics. Flexibility in choosing the ways of contribution made the participation possible also for those working in shifts.
What did our people then do as volunteers? They contributed to children’s and senior citizens’ organizations daily work, helped unemployed to develop their job search skills, fundraised for good causes, contributed to local water protection, helped arranging after school activities for elementary school kids – just to name a few examples. Over 90% of our volunteers ranked the experience with the highest possible number. Feedback speaks for itself:
“Great doing good for the broader society, and good team building opportunity as well!”
“As we participated together as a team, it was also nice team activity and raised team spirit when doing something together.”
“It was great to do good!”
“Great opportunity to help those who really need it! Thank you Neste for allowing this.”
“Very nice investment from the company for the good thing!”
“This was a great opportunity to help others.”
“Great opportunity to do meaningful voluntary work :).”
“Great team activity and in the same time working for better planet!”
Volunteer work will be continued
Our pilot proved that volunteering adds to meaningfulness of work, work satisfaction and motivation. With such results, and based on the feedback and wishes from our volunteers, we have decided to do this again in 2019.