Joining worlds together
There can be few projects that have remained quite as true to their original motto as the joint project established by the German Institute for Medical Mission (DIFAEM), one of the sponsors of the Tropical Medicine Clinic at the Paul Lechler Hospital, the artist Martin Burchard, and the ElringKlinger Group. Together they created the "One World Bench."
The bench was designed with two semi-circles of different sizes to represent the Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres. The differences could not be more striking. Those of us “on top” can sit back and relax, while those “underneath” bear the entire weight of the “One World” in more than just a metaphorical sense. Dr. Gisela Schneider, Director of DIFAEM, explains: “The One World Bench is intended to symbolize the work of DIFAEM and the way we deal with issues of poverty and injustice.” The whole system is in a “state of tension,” as Burchard puts it – yet in the artist’s view remains amazingly stable – at least in every park where the bench has been placed so far.
The bench is not designed to point the finger of blame. On the contrary, its purpose is to instill hope. After all, there is a stable connection between the two hemispheres, and the exact point where the two meet is a potential meeting place. Indeed, that is what the “One World Bench” stands for. Since it began life as the spark of an idea in the minds of the artist, DIFAEM’s management team and ElringKlinger’s ten “high potentials,” it has joined together worlds that could scarcely be more unlike each other.
Children, trees, and action to protect the climate
In October 2015, ElringKlinger welcomed 53 children between the ages of nine and twelve to take part in a day of climate action at the Group's headquarters in Dettingen/Erms. At this "Plant-for-the-Planet Academy" numerous children were appointed Ambassadors for Climate Justice, including some children of employees and others who had expressed an interest from 23 different schools. The event included an introductory presentation about climate change and the various factors that contribute to it. The children took part in a series of climate-related games and learning activities appropriate to their age, and were encouraged to play an active role in the campaign for climate justice. The day's activities were rounded off with a tree planting event in cooperation with the local authority.
The goal of Plant-for-the-Planet is to raise awareness about climate change among young and older children and encourage them to act responsibly. The initiative dates back to 2007 when its founder, Felix Finkbeiner, gave a presentation to his classmates. Since then it has grown into a global movement, and today over 100,000 children in more than 100 countries are part of the campaign for an overall reduction in CO2 emissions and for global climate justice.
Doing good brings us together
The long-standing connection between ElringKlinger and the Lechler Foundation goes back to Paul Lechler (1849-1925), a successful businessman, social reformer, and philanthropist who paved the way for the foundation that now bears his name and – through his trading company – for ElringKlinger AG. To this day, the Lechler family, which owns the majority of ElringKlinger AG's shares, has maintained the tradition established by Paul Lechler of donating ten percent of their income to charitable causes through the Lechler Foundation. In a joint interview, Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger, and Dieter Hauswirth, Chairman of the Lechler Foundation, discussed the continued focus on Paul Lechler's values, current joint projects, and future collaboration between the automotive supplier and the foundation.