Katharina Scheidereiter (Kaufland Romania): “We will focus on supporting the NGOs that make efforts to make Romania better”
Each year on the holidays people take their time and become more generous, more involved and more empathetic with the ones less fortunate than us. It’s the case of GTC Motorsport’s members that, alongside Kaufland Romania, made a tradition of going on isolated and hard accessible places in the Nehoiu Mountains,in order to offer presents to the poor families. AdHugger.net wrote about their winter and Easter campaigns and decided to take a deeper look into Kaufland’s CSR actions and plans. Katharina Scheidereiter, CSR Manager Kaufland Romania, offered us the best insights.
AdHugger: How is your CSR strategy continuing this year? (What other important campaigns do you have in store for us)?
“Actions do the talking” is the concept the whole company adopted in 2018. This year, we will focus on supporting the NGOs that make efforts to make Romania better, as our mission as a retailer is to help communities lead better lives. Every year we run around 150 CSR projects in Romania, towards which we direct a budget of over EUR 6 million. Practically, every day we support the local community with an average sum of EUR 16.000.
So far, in 2019, we launched the second edition of “In stare de bine”. This is a project we developed with the Foundation for the Development of the Civil Society by means of which we provided NGOs focused on leading a healthy life, culture & sports with a million euro grant. In 2018, 31 projects were financed by means of “In stare de bine”. What is new about this second edition is that we don’t only finance projects, we also help NGOs effectively develop by providing them with workshops and consultancy.
Moreover, in 2019, in collaboration with the Association Act For Tomorrow, we launched Start ONG, the first program dedicated to small NGOs and to those who have just begun their activity. Beginning in March 2019, they, as well as public institutions such as educational or social ones can apply for a grant and get EUR 10.000 each. The total available sum is EUR 500.000 and the projects that are eligible belong to five sectors: education, environment, health, social, and culture.
Another project we develop in 2019 is dedicated to offering financing grants for schools, civic groups or NGOs to build urban gardens – and later this year, even urban farms. The financing platform “Growing Grădinescu”, which we run together with Permaculture Research Institute, allows kindergardens, schools NGOs, and civic initiative groups to access a total grant of EUR 130.000 for the purpose of creating urban gardens. Starting this fall, the objective of this project will also include urban farms. Due to the success of “Growing Grădinescu”, launched by Kaufland Romania, the project was also implemented in the Czech Republic.
AdHugger: What are the main pillars of your CSR strategy at Kaufland?
We support five areas that are crucial to the development of society: environment, education, sports, healthy life and culture. Every year, we work with approximately 200 NGOs. CSR is part of Kaufland’s DNA, it is just as important as our business goals. In 2018, we received the title The most responsible company, according to Romania CSR Index 2018, which evaluated 600 companies. We obtained the highest score in retail – 94 points out of 100.
AdHugger: The Easter campaign is very similar to the Christmas one. Do you see it as a continuation or how do you perceive it and why?
Every year, we run an Easter and a Christmas “Umanitara Off-Road” campaign in collaboration with GTC Motorsport, and this year there was a new edition. That means that we got to help senior citizens and children that are in need and live in isolated areas. We identify them with the help of social services in the county and associations for students. This year, we managed to bring joy into the eyes of 450 people, who received over 15 tons of groceries, personal hygiene products, electronics, construction materials, toys, clothing, and footwear.
AdHugger: Are the people contributing to the campaign already used to being part of it? How do you attract new people to get involved and help?
When it comes to helping their peers, Romanians are receptive to proposals and ready to lend a hand. They are warm-hearted, which our volunteers proved us right every time we needed them. Each year new people come forward, we have more and more volunteers, as our projects gain in scope and visibility.
AdHugger: What were your main wishes this year from the Easter campaign? Are you happy with the results?
Nothing can compare to seeing the smiles of those who are in need and receive the help they deemed necessary. It is impossible to describe the sense of reward you experience when you are able to bring joy into their hearts, it’s something you must feel.
AdHugger: Do you get inspiration from what Kaufland does in other countries? Why?
We get inspiration from anything, but mostly we find ourselves inspiring others. For example, our project about urban gardening, “Growing Grădinescu”, proves we inspire our colleagues from Czech Republic and other countries.
AdHugger: Do you consider doing something else for that target, long term?
Kaufland is dedicated to supporting communities and changing their lives for the better. This is a global commitment of ours, we have committees for evaluating CSR projects everywhere, we run hundreds of projects, and we will continue to implement projects that are adequate to our pillars: health, education, culture, sports, and healthy life.
AdHugger: What do you consider that CSR should really stand out for in Romania and why?
The CSR field has gained momentum in Romania in the last few years, it is an area that I’m familiar with since high school and it warms my heart to see it grow. The interest of Romanians also increased along with it, a recent study proved that the Z generation is very much interested in CSR and its members even choose their employers according to actions in this field. Romanian CSR stands out because of its flexibility and capacity to grow according to the needs of society, not necessarily their visibility and that shows maturity.