Sustainability Report 2022

Financial commitment

GRI 3-3

Business and corporate social responsibility

For Zeppelin as a foundation-owned company, business and corporate social responsibility are inseparable. The Group transfers part of its profits to the Zeppelin Foundation, which uses the money exclusively for charitable and benevolent purposes. In addition, the Group is committed to charitable causes in the areas of education, research, science, health, sport, social affairs, integration, art and culture. A Group-wide policy defines binding instructions for granting donations and sponsorship funds. Individuals and parties do not form part of the target group.

In the fall of 2020, a donation committee was set up at Group level. This is made up of members of the Group Management Board, the Head of Group Auditing and the Group Compliance Officer. In its regular meetings, the Donations Committee reviews all donation applications for more than 1,000 euros and is guided by the Group’s donation strategy described above.

Progress in donations

Progress on objective 1
  • Allocating donations in accordance with the foundation’s ethos and vision on the company’s economic earning power
  • Total donations as a proportion of Group net income (earnings before tax) of at least 0.5 to 1% annually
Scope of social responsibilities
Scope of social responsibilities

The donations and sponsoring contributions made by the Zeppelin Group in recent years is shown below. The individual sums are divided across education, culture, science, social affairs, sport and others. The budget, which is available annually for promotional purposes, is based on the economic earnings power (earnings before taxes) of the Group, taking into account the foundation’s ethos. The measured variable is calculated from the total donations in a calendar year in relation to the Group net income after reductions. The target range is between 0.5 and 1% per year. With a donation amount of around EUR 1.3 million (1.3% in relation to Group net income), Zeppelin achieved its goal in the 2022 fiscal year.

In 2022, around 48% of the expenditure was for sponsorship, with funding focusing on sport. The Zeppelin Group spends a large proportion of its donation budget on Education and Social.

Allocation of donations and sponsorship expenses 2022
Allocation of donations and sponsorship expenses 2022 Donations (€) Sponsorships (€)
Education 874,2441 161,071
Culture 8,755 60,077
Science 56,300 8,500
Social affairs 190,355 2,356
Sport 18,046 678,771
Other 154,860 299,583
Total (in euros) 1,302,559 1,210,358
Share 52% 48%
1 Including funding for Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen.

Financial commitment measures

For many years, the Zeppelin Group has regularly supported Zeppelin University (ZU) in Friedrichshafen, founded in 2003. The foundation’s university of applied sciences is now attended by more than 1,200 young people studying toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Zeppelin Group promotes faculty chairs for business theory and international business theory.

The Zeppelin Group also supports the JUST! Zeppelin Youth Foundation, which was established in 1990 by Zeppelin GmbH and Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH. Its aim is to support the education and training of young talent from the Friedrichshafen and Ravensburg-Weingarten region. Every two years the Foundation allocates sponsorship awards worth EUR 25,000 in total, recognizing outstanding work in natural sciences and engineering, economics, and social and cultural science. The prize winners on stage are Award for impressive school projects and scientific papers. The announcement for the 15th edition of the awards was made in May 2022.

Alexandra Mebus (left) with the winners of the team “Litfaßsäule” (JUST! Youth Foundation Award, 2022 Award Ceremony)
Alexandra Mebus (left) with the winners of the team “Litfaßsäule” (JUST! Youth Foundation Award, 2022 Award Ceremony)

With the outbreak of the Ukraine war and the onset of a humanitarian crisis, the Zeppelin Group and its employees worldwide showed great compassion and solidarity. In February 2022, a Ukraine aid fund in the amount of EUR 100,000 was set up to get affected employees and their families out of dangerous areas. Another charitable fund was set up in March 2022 via the “Aktion Deutschland Hilft” alliance, with the aim of organizing aid supplies for affected regions. Our employees’ willingness to donate was enormous: Some 266 employees transferred around EUR 36,000 to the internationally active charity. The Zeppelin Group Management Board then topped up the donation amount to EUR 75,000.

Zeppelin supports Friedrichshafen Wissenswerkstatt, for example, which has made it its mission to interest and inspire young people about technology. This knowledge workshop enables them to work on specific technical projects, such as robot vehicles or air-water rockets. As the organization works closely with schools, universities, and chambers of commerce and industry, this also opens up professional prospects for young people. The Zeppelin Group has been supporting the Friedrichshafen knowledge workshop with donations for several years and supports the development of special online education formats for children.

Since fair play and sportsmanship are firmly anchored in Zeppelin’s corporate culture, the promotion of sports, and team sports in particular, is a special cause for the Group. Zeppelin feels a special connection between Friedrichshafen and the Lake Constance region, and has been supporting VfB Friedrichshafen as a sponsor and in the form of donations to the volleyball, football, and badminton divisions for many years. Since 2022, the Group has also been an official partner of the HSG Friedrichshafen/Fischbach sports community and the associated Blisshards handball club.

In the Social area, the company is also involved in child and youth welfare projects around the world. Zeppelin has been supporting the charitable organization Home from Home for several years now. The organization’s focus is creating a better future for orphans, HIV-positive children and those who are no longer with their families, in the townships near Cape Town. In 2022, Zeppelin donated to the initiative the proceeds of the Zeppelin Driver’s Bar at bauma 2022. The company more than doubled the sales total of EUR 45,000 and increased it to a grand total of EUR 100,000. Supporting projects in the health sector is also an important part of our social commitment. For example, Zeppelin regularly supports St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research, which is dedicated to improving the diagnosis and therapy of cancer in children and adolescents.

Zeppelin is also a promoter in the arts and culture sector. The Deutsches Museum’s network of friends and sponsors in Munich, and the “Kultur Caserne” cultural initiative are regular recipients of support. Individual projects are also considered, with donations made on an ad hoc basis.

Beyond sports sponsoring, the Zeppelin Group is also active in promoting activities as a sponsor and partner at the Tyrolean Festival Erl, the Munich Management Colloquium at the TU Munich.

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