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Wrap-up "CPR Talk at Noon" with Norbert Neß (Evonik)

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

On February 16, 2023, BPA kicked off of a new communication format. We are proud that Norbert Neß, Head of Strategic Communications and Governmental Affairs at Evonik, agreed to be our guest for the first "CPR Talk at Noon". Dr. Johannes Bohnen acted as the moderator. The virtual series of talks is devoted to the question of how corporate responsibility can be developed and implemented politically. Norbert Neß, who previously worked in politics for many years, is already actively promoting the CPR idea. Evonik was not only a founding member of the Business Council for Democracy (BC4D) initiated by the Hertie and Bosch Foundations and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue but had also previously developed a sociopolitical brand.

Our guest reported on how this commitment is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals supported by the company and how the corporate purpose of "Leading Beyond Chemistry" is brought to life. In line with Evonik CEO Christian Kullmann, Neß called for "business to become more political - companies must be part of the debate and act as equal players in the public arena. Being clear about one’s positions also makes it easier to enter into dialogue."

In the subsequent discussion with event participants from business, politics, and civil society, it became clear that taking a sociopolitical stance is not just about acting as a sponsor. Different milieus and age groups come together in the workplace - this should be used as an opportunity to practice a culture of democratic discourse both internally and externally – to strengthen the company’s reputation and safeguard democracy in Germany.

We also discussed the question of China: Former ambassador and BPA associate partner Joachim Bitterlich argued that, although European values should not be exported, the subsidiaries of Western companies should lead the way by demonstrating best practices and our social rights.

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