As a global player, GEA participates in a multitude of regional and local projects and initiatives, interacting with other players by addressing technical and market-related issues within the framework of circa 100 trade and industry associations. For instance, GEA is a member of the “Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau” (VDMA – German Engineering Association) and also actively involved in the association’s “Corporate Responsibility” working group that was established in 2017. A list of GEA’s key memberships in organizations is available at gea.com. As a rule, membership matters are handled autonomously by the individual sites as they see fit.
GEA’s social engagement – inter alia, via sponsoring activities – focuses on charitable projects in the immediate vicinity of GEA’s sites, as well as further activities associated with mechanical engineering topics and the field of innovation. For instance, in the year under review, GEA donated food to the Banco Alimentare food bank at its site in Parma, Italy. Banco Alimentare collects, stores and distributes food to welfare organizations that take care of people in need who live in Parma. GEA’s York site, USA, supported the Children‘s Miracle Network for the second time. The respective donation was dedicated to children’s hospitals located in the region, allowing them to fund critical treatments and health services, medical devices and welfare activities.
In 2017, the company presented its innovation GEA OxyCheck (see page 29) and made a contribution to the fight against food waste as defined in the statutes of Save Food. The latter is a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Messe Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf trade fair) as well as the Interpack trade fair. GEA and further members of the initiative have committed to reducing the loss and waste of food along the value chain. GEA takes the view that the negative developments witnessed in the course of the previous years can only be counteracted by means of maximum product safety. This is why GEA affords the industry the opportunity of safely producing food and avoiding waste as early as in the production phase. Read more in our Technology Talks...
In 2017, GEA sent a young team of developers from the group to MassChallenge Switzerland for the very first time. GEA had joined the organization as a founding member in 2016. MassChallenge is a non-governmental organization allowing start-ups to gain access to a global network of mentors and venture capital investors without actually acquiring any shares in these start-ups. Meetings with mentors, field trials and workshops assisted GEA’s young entrepreneurs in mapping out their business concept: Eventually, this gave rise to the idea of a mobile engineering solution for collecting, processing and transporting milk that mainly targets developing countries and emerging markets. Read more about MassChallenge...
GEA is engaged in a multitude of cooperation schemes involving German schools and universities. By joining forces and working together, educational facilities and companies support students’ transition into the world of work as well as career guidance and counseling to ensure that, going forward, they will find enough young talents willing to take up jobs in the fields of technology and natural sciences.
- Network for schools and businesses
- For this reason, GEA’s largest site in Oelde participates in a cooperation network involving schools and businesses (“Kooperationsnetz Schule-Wirtschaft“); amongst other things, this network embraces information events held in the participating schools, job application training for students as well as joint projects involving students and apprentices.
- Oelde also represented the venue chosen for the first meeting between budding young engineers who wanted to learn first-hand about health and safety at work put into practice in a technology group with global production facilities. Competent GEA employees showed them the substantial importance of product and machine safety, health and safety at work, health prevention and quality management for the benefit of the company’s own workforce and the customers. A string of seminars called “ing.meet.safety“ was initiated by the “Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI)” (Association of German Engineers). GEA was the first partner enterprise joining the initiative.
- Internships in Europe
- At its site in Niederahr, GEA established an education partnership with a nearby vocational college. Together, they joined the XarXa project that embraces more than 20 European towns and cities; since 1999, the latter have given young people the possibility of spending some time abroad or gaining work experience in various companies across Europe. Within the framework of the XarXa project, trainees from other European countries come to GEA for doing an internship. In the year under review, GEA welcomed young people from Finland and Spain, to give but two examples.
- "Industry Contact Forum"
- Another event serving the purpose of promoting qualified young talent is the Industry Contact Forum that was organized for the tenth time at GEA’s site in Büchen in 2017. Once again, it was jointly hosted by brewery and dairy experts. Approximately 40 students from HAW Hamburg (University of Applied Sciences) as well as the universities of Flensburg, Hanover and Fulda were given an insight into the work of a project engineer.
The integration of HLW (Hinterländer Werkstätten, Dautphetal, a sheltered workshop) employees into the production process at GEA’s Biedenkopf-Wallau site in Germany serves as a successful example of ensuring the inclusion of predominantly mentally-handicapped people. The site manufactures state-of-the art food processing and packaging plants and equipment. While the group of HLW employees was initially working in a separate section of GEA’s manufacturing operations, its members are now assigned to various activities across the whole facility and fully integrated members of the workforce.