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Organization Name

BMW AG

Case Story Title

Schools Environmental Education Development Project (SEED)

Case Story Date

2003/11/09

Issues Addressed

  • Principle 7 - Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Principle 8 - Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility

Case Story Category

Internalization Project

Countries of Impact

South Africa

Case Description

As one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, the BMW Group is aware of its responsibility for the company and its employees, the environment and society. The principle of sustainable business operations has long been anchored in company policy.Against this background, the BMW Group is involved in carrying out social projects worldwide. The objective of this social commitment is to assume a modicum of social and environmental responsibility for the preservation of the environment and the advancement of society not only at the company’s production locations, but also way beyond their boundaries. This commitment to society is also promoted in the BMW Group’s guidelines for human resources policy that apply worldwide.

We regard children and young adults as particularly important since they will be in charge of shaping the society of the future. The projects have been conceived in such a way as to enable them to be transferred to societies both at home and abroad. One of the most successful projects of the BMW Group in the field of sustainable education is the SEED Project (Schools Environmental Education Development Project). The support project for environmental education in schools sets out to awaken a stronger sense of environmental awareness among South African children and support local community involvement. In this way, children in participating schools learn how to grow vegetables, plant and care for a garden, or learn about hygiene standards. Not only does the project positively influence the children themselves, it also influences their families and friends. Furthermore every school takes responsibility for a sustainable environment project. These projects are rated and receive an annual incentive. Specifically, pupils of disadvantaged sections of the population are involved in this project. Approximately 500 students aged between 7 and 13 attend each of these schools, and each of these children is provided with a daily meal with fresh vegetables from the school garden. The value of this should not be underestimated in the poor communities in which these schools are situated and is thus of great significance both to the children and their parents. The SEED programme started in 1996 in 15 schools near the BMW World Plant in Rosslyn. At this point, the programme has expanded to over 60 schools on a national basis, and this number is set to double.The SEED programme is managed and advanced by an employee of BMW South Africa whose work is devoted to the project. The project has been created in close cooperation with both academic experts and practical specialists in the field, working in education and advising young people.The entire project is financed, run and managed by BMW SA.Every year, the BMW Group increases the number of participating schools so that today over 60 schools are involved in the programme. The SEED programme will be expanded throughout the entire country during the next several years. The results of the BMW Group SEED programme to date are impressive. The local communities have not only taken on responsibility for improving and preserving their environment, they have also learned important skills such as the organisation of their daily lives and determination. This increased awareness of the environment is in keeping with principles 7 and 8 of the Global Compact. BMW South Africa has been pleased to see that vandalism has significantly decreased at participating schools. The positive attitude of students to the environment has gone beyond the bounds of the schools themselves and also influences their behaviour at home. Perhaps the most exciting dimension of this programme is the fact that these SEED gardens extend far beyond feeding schemes and fundraising activities. On the one hand, these projects serve as resource centres for the surrounding communities whereby these methodologies may be learnt and implemented. Secondly, the SEED gardens are living classrooms which serve as viable, practical platforms for the implementation of South Africa’s outcome based education system.

In the very near future, our partnership with the Tshwane University of Technology will enable their tertiary students to have access to the SEED Programme to enhance their field training in environmental education.

Authors

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Contact Person

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