As a traditional Hanseatic company we also create social capital and are involved in many areas, for example by awarding Germany’s oldest social award, the HanseMerkur Prize for Child Protection, for families, children and adolescents in difficult life situations.
Our main project is the HanseMerkur Prize for Child Protection, which is endowed with a total of 50,000 Euros and has been awarded annually since 1980 to individuals, groups and NGOs who voluntarily and in an exemplary manner take care of the well-being of children and young people in areas such as psychosocial, medical or social help or prevention. We help with money that enables long-standing purchases or extends the range of help offered by the initiative. And we help with public relations work, since the awarding of the HanseMerkur Prize for Child Protection finds a wide audience in the media and thus promotes public awareness of the concerns of the respective initiative.
The award, now the oldest social award in Germany, creates an identity for us as personal insurer. The commitment to the rights and concerns of children and families is anchored in our corporate and brand strategy “Hand in Hand is … HanseMerkur”, which focuses on the strength of the community. The activities in child and youth protection help to improve the situation of sick, disabled or socially disadvantaged young people. The fact that the HanseMerkur Prize for Child Protection under the slogan “Care for children is a provision for the future” was able to achieve a nationwide reputation, not least because of the know-how of our ten-member jury made up of renowned child protection officers, who take on numerous voluntary applications every year. In addition to the President of the German Child Protection Association, Heinz Hilgers, Ulrike Köhler (Board member of Allianz Chronic Rare Diseases), Georg Graf Waldersee (Chairman of UNICEF Germany) and Prof. Dr. Sabine Walper (President of the German League for the Child) form the members of our jury.
The price regularly creates sustainable and long-term connections. In 2013, the inclusive collaboration with the BUNDESJUGENDBALLETT and the integrative barrier-free groups of the TV Schiefbahn 1899 began, in which young athletes with and without disabilities work together with the Ballet’s professional dancers and who even contested within the supporting program for the 34th HanseMerkur Awards for Child Protection in Hamburg.
We are also a reliable partner in child and youth protection for numerous other projects. This includes our longstanding cooperation with the German Child Protection Association, the Hamburg Authority for Schools and Vocational Training and the child cancer foundation phönikks. Every year, our trainees collect money that is donated to social institutions through a wide variety of activities. Here they get to know the facilities exactly and work with them – “hand in hand”.
Promotion of Culture
With Gospel Train we have been supporting the integrative work of one of the best youth choirs in Germany with performance opportunities and with four CD productions to date. The choir promotes through musical education the ability to concentrate and the personal development of students who are living in resource-poor districts of Hamburg. The international choir, under the direction of Peter Schuldt, is involved in benefit concerts for children and young people.
In our commitment to Hamburg as location, we decided to support the new landmark of Hamburg, the Elbphilharmonie, as a classic sponsor. This measure is closely linked to the child protection commitment of the group and contributes to the opening of a learning and experience place for day-care centers and schools for the encounter and occupation with music. This includes visits to public rehearsals and concerts as well as age-appropriate workshops in the Elphi world of instruments.
Science funding – between Tradition and Future
HanseMerkur sees itself not only as a service provider, but as a healthcare provider. The aim of the company is to provide customers with a range of e-health offerings, as well as quality-checked access to the increasingly popular complementary medicine forms of treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). On the one hand, the individualized TCM is integrated into Western treatment concepts and, on the other hand, it is scientifically examined with regard to the effect and efficiency of TCM therapies with clinical and basic research, which serves to develop quality standards for Chinese Medicine in Germany. As a majority shareholder of the HanseMerkur Center for TCM at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, it already contributed in 2010 to creating the first nationwide scientific facility that combines research, teaching and therapy under one roof . Since then, German and Chinese doctors and scientists have been researching the effects and efficiency of TCM in laboratory, clinical and healthcare research. The China Center, the UKE Academy for Education and Career and the Shanghai TCM University have been offering postgraduate studies with currently 10 doctors studying for the Master in TCM. All of the TCM therapy methods are used in the treatment practice of the center: from Chinese Medicine Therapy and Dietetics to Acupuncture and Manual Tuina-Therapy to the breathing and movement exercises of Qigong. In the area of Chinese Medicinal Therapy, the center of quality assurance is committed and was able to make a significant contribution to the fact that safe medicines are finally available in German pharmacies in a convenient form of administration, the so-called compatibility, in certified quality.
In the area of research, Acupuncture Studies on Diabetic and Chemotherapy-Induced Polyneuropathy (PNP) were completed in 2018. The follow-up study on Diabetic PNP is currently underway together with the Charité Berlin. In 2020, another study in cooperation with UKE Oncology on Acupuncture and Vibration Training is investigating whether the treatment can already have a prophylactic effect during chemotherapy. Furthermore, a study on Acupuncture against the tennis elbow is just beginning. About 1,000 scientists are contacted each year through research. The teaching area includes around 500 people through contacts to China and the German university landscape. The treatment center of the China Center cares for 3000 patients every year.
Environment and sustainability
In addition to various awards, such as those of the Deutsche Bahn for sustainable travel or the Hamburg Environmental Partnership, which we received from the Hamburg Senate for Low-Pollution Mobility, the energy-efficient renovation of the glass roof of the atrium, the energy-efficient renovation of the canteen kitchen in the staff restaurant and the lighting renovation by using LED technology was awarded, we put great importance to measures that are also sustainable for our employees. For example, we have received the seal of approval “Partnership for air quality and low-pollution mobility” for the large number of users of the HVV-ProfiCard, which the HanseMerkur subsidizes: Already 790 of 1,320 employees use it for their way to work. Other measures were e.g. Covered bike racks and showers for employees who come to work by bike.
We also subsidize the use of city bikes as part of a cooperation: Over 300 employees are registered with StadtRAD Hamburg, a bicycle rental system with countless stations in the city area.
We have also been offering the JobRad since August 2017. According to the JobRad concept, employees can lease a large selection of bicycles and e-bikes based on the company car principle. Funding is provided through a cash wage conversion.
Since 2018, HanseMerkur has also housed bee colonies on its roof. Monocultures and pesticides make it difficult for Maja & Willi in many rural environments. The new busy city bees have short distances from the central location to the surrounding parks and can pollinate abundantly with flowers, collect nectar and produce honey. The company is making a valuable contribution to preventing bee death and maintaining a species-rich neighborhood. The proceeds from the sale of the “Alster honey” will later benefit social institutions.