Just like many other big companies, GasTerra sponsors a variety of initiatives and projects. GasTerra believes that sponsoring is a natural part of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Responsibility for the different projects and initiatives sponsored by GasTerra is divided up among several employees in the Communications department. Communications advisor Imelda Weel, for example, manages most of the social initiatives such as the Walk for Life. The amount raised by this event is donated to UMCG for research into cancer in young adults (18-35 years). The organisation uses the sponsorship money to cover the costs so that UMCG receives all the income from the entry fees.
‘I don't take part in the Walk for Life myself, but of course I come along to watch and encourage the walkers’, reveals Imelda. ‘I've also visited the UMCG to see how the money is spent. They put it towards new equipment, for example.’
Shortly after GasTerra was established in 2005, the main aim of providing sponsorship was to increase its brand awareness. ‘That was certainly successful’, finds Imelda. ‘We put the company on the map. However, in recent years, it has become just one aspect of our CSR policy.’ That policy is based on three main pillars - Gas, Green and Groningen. The sponsorship policy focuses particularly on Groningen. ‘We don’t just sponsor organisations, we also ask them to do something in return, preferably something to benefit society. For example, GasTerra sponsors a sports club and its members put something back into the local community.’
GasTerra's sponsorship policy concentrates on a range of beneficiaries, from sport and society to education and culture. ‘At social level, we're usually dealing with smaller projects; last year, for example, we supported an action in the Martinikerk aimed at tackling poverty among young people. And, at educational level, we sponsor an annual debating contest for pre-vocational secondary students (VMBO), with 'sustainability' being the subject. GasTerra not only makes this event possible, it also sits on the jury.’
Contribution to the region
Imelda explains that GasTerra takes its own corporate social responsibility very seriously and considers contributing to the local region to be a logical step. ‘It's also appreciated. And we also benefit from the fact that sponsoring has a positive effect on our image. But apart from that - Groningen and gas are closely interlinked, so we enjoy doing things to boost the region.’