For the elderly and the children in the remote mountains’ villages of the Nehoiu-Braesti area, Buzau county, more than 150 volunteers, gathered by the sports club GTC Motorsport and Kaufland Romania, took part in the campaign “Umanitara Off-Road de Craciun”. AdHugger talked with Katharina Scheidereiter, CSR Manager Kaufland Romania, and found out more about the campaign and the rest of the company’s strategy and take on CSR in Romania.
AdHugger: How did you decide to create this campaign?
Katharina Scheidereiter: The humanitarian actions organized by GTC Motorsport during Christmas are already a tradition and the collaboration with Kaufland Romania has already reached the forth edition and was, actually, a meeting in the middle. Many of our projects have a social implication. We constantly support humanitarian actions that help develop new generations and the easing old people’s suffering from disadvantaged areas in Romania.
We are rolling the campaign Umanitara Off-Road during the Easter and Christmas holidays and we are happy that we are able to help both the people found in need, especially in the isolated villages, where the reality is very different from what we usually see around us. But our involvement goes further than the material support: we are gathering with our colleagues to help side by side with our partners at preparing, arranging and sharing the packages.
AdHugger: How did it evolve in time?
K.S.: From one year to another we mobilized ourselves, all of us, in a bigger and bigger number, in order to bring joy for the Holidays to the elderly and the children in the remote mountains villages. In 2018, on 15th and 16th of December, we reach a record number of cars and people involved in the Christmas’ Umanitara Off-Road. An impressive off-road convoy formed of over 70 4×4 cars carried not less than 160 soulful persons – Kaufland Romania volunteers and GTC Motorsport club volunteers – in 18 remote villages in the Nehoiu – Bozioru – Plostina, Buzau county area. Santa Claus’ official helps reached 200 elderly and 250 children from disadvantaged families and pupils from the learning units of Lunca Priporului and Bratilesti.
AdHugger: What were the criteria following which you chose the campaign’s beneficiaries?
K.S.: The purpose of the Christmas’ Umanitara Off-Road is the supporting of elderly and children in the remote areas, identified and supported by the social services in the county and the profile associations in the area of the pupils and pre-scholars learning unites chosen.
AdHugger: How is the campaign integrated part of the whole Kaufland’s strategy?
K.S.: Kaufland is among the biggest retail companies in Europe, with over 1.270 stores in 7 countries and a network of 120 stores in Romania. We are also among one of the most involved companies when it comes to supporting the community and the social responsibility is part of our business’ DNA.
Recently, Kaufland Romania gained the title “The most responsible company” in the Romania CSR Index 2018 analyse that evaluated over 600 companies in the country. We had the biggest score in retail, with a total of 94 points from 100. We have a well defined strategy regarding the social responsibility and we support the most important pillars in the society’s development: health, education, culture, sports and healthy life, the protection of the environment and the social projects. Alongside NGOs we are supporting 200 projects a year.
Therefore, the Christmas‘ Umanitara Off-Road matched as a glove Kaufland’s strategy. And I am happy that we could bring joy for Christmas to those 450 souls to whom we offered over 15 tons of food, personal hygiene products, electronics and home appliances, construction materials, toys, cloth and shoes.
AdHugger: What are Kaufland’s brand values and how does the communication evolve year to year?
K.S.: Education, health, culture, society and the environment protection remain the key pillars in Kaufland Romania’s CSR strategy. Following those pillars we are responding proactive to the needs (by building houses, donating medical equipment or offering punctual help), but the are also concentrating on the projects that guarantee not only the present, but also the future: children’s education regarding the environment protection, clients’education towards the responsible consumption, supporting the cities in fighting pollution, as well as the supporting of the communities and the pupils in disadvantaged areas regarding the prevention of school abandonment.
2018 was a year in which Kaufland Romania’s social involvement became in itself a pillar without which our company wouldn’t be what is today: an entity in itself ready to help, to support and to change lives. We are trying to be there where the people need us, to feel we are making efforts, that we care.
The evolution of the communication enters the same direction: putting an accent on the projects that have continuity and that have a positive impact among the community.
AdHugger: What importance has the company for sustaining and supporting the community of which it is part of?
K.S.: The responsibility and the sustainability are part of Kaufland’s DNA on any market in which the company is, having a commitment towards the people, the community and the environment. We also understand that we have an important role in the country’s social and economic development. Our company is an open, transparent organization, those objective is to surpass the minimal legislative requirements and to reach and pass the best existent practices in place at an international level. We apply this principal especially when it comes to sustainability that is an important and inclusive part of our business model.
We take decisions carefully thinking about our impact on the environment, over the communities in which we develop of activity, over the suppliers’ chain, of our clients and employees, because we play an essential role in the community. We are here on a long term and we want to develop ourselves together with Romania.
AdHugger: What do you propose ourselves for 2019?
K.S.: We have many beautiful plans for 2019 as well. We will continue the projects that are already tradition, such as MagicHOME, Gradinescu, Big Build, the program #INSTAREDEBINE, and we will add other to them. We will continue to get involved in supporting social causes, helping children as well as disadvantaged persons.
Each year we are investing USD 6 million in the projects rolled alongside the NGOs and the social responsibility programs represent a key component in the company’s strategy.
AdHugger: How is Kaufland positioning different than the competition on the Romanian market?
K.S.: From my perspective of CSR Manager, I believe we are different. It’s an unique atmosphere in the company. We like to believe that The involvement makes the difference – the urge under which all our social responsibility campaigns are developed. We like the good acts. We like to be of help, to leave something behind. We believe that once you start doing good you don’t need to stop, but to continue.
Overall, we have a style of business that puts on the first place the other person – no matter if he /she is a client, an employee or part of the community.
The manner in which Kaufland Romania puts its mark on the development of the local economy is by also supporting the acquisition from the Romanian producers, by promoting transparent and responsible practices in the business relationships, by supporting and offering care to the employees, but also by the contribution it brings in the rising of the awareness of themes such as responsible consumption, care for the environment and supporting local communities.