We transport more than 1.2 million people across Hamburg every day. We being the 6,000 or so employees who work at HOCHBAHN. It goes without saying that we give special priority to meeting the needs of Hamburg citizens and our team. But that’s not all: one of our TOP sustainability goals is to assume responsibility on both a local and global level.
Global responsibility – what does that entail for HOCHBAHN?
Both locally or globally, we expect from our suppliers and service providers that they assume the same level of responsibility as we do. The specific requirements we place on our business partners are outlined in our Code of Conduct for Suppliers and Business Partners: Compliance with Human Rights and Labour Standards, Environmental Protection and Corporate Ethics.
We base this on the objectives and values of the UN Global Compact, which HOCHBAHN committed to in 2017 and which forms an integral part of our HOCHBAHN#2030 corporate strategy and business processes.
Battery production: We demand transparency right through to sourcing of raw materials
The Code of Conduct therefore plays a key role in our business relationships with suppliers and other partners. In the case of high-risk products such as batteries for electric buses, for example, we even go one step further: In future we will be asking manufacturers for details about their sustainability record and making sure that this is a factor included in commissioning decisions. That’s because there’s a flip side to climate-friendly electromobility: Battery-powered vehicles are often criticised due to their potential for negative ecological and social impact caused during battery production.
The dilemma is that, up until now, there hasn’t been a certificate for verifying a sustainably produced battery. We therefore wanted to know more from the bus manufacturers involved in the tender, beyond information limited to the sustainability performance at the bus production site. We demand transparency when it comes to the issue of active human rights due diligence in supplier management. And most importantly, reaching back to the earlier stages of the value chain right through to the sourcing and extraction of raw materials.
As a Hamburg company, we are committed to the people of this city and to making sure our actions are in harmony with them. We also want to use our knowledge and our infrastructure to contribute to social issues such as ways out of homelessness and ways to integrate disadvantaged groups into the jobs market. Here are some of examples of the projects we’re involved in:
#wärmegeben and “Hamburg packt’s zusammen”
During the pandemic in 2020, our trainees and working students were involved in the “Hamburg packt’s zusammen” (“Hamburg gets packing”) initiative, putting aid packages together and supporting the mobile food distribution efforts of the local charity “Hamburger Tafel”. Working together with 28 other Hamburg-based companies, the initiative helped no less than 60,000 people.
Also through the charity “Hanseatic Help” and its #wärmegeben (#givingwarmth) campaign, we provided a Warming Bus (“Wärmebus”) in December 2020 and spring 2021 to collect donations in kind for the homeless. As the successor to our long-standing children’s bus, the Warming Bus will now be out and about on the roads annually during the colder months of the year. We also aim to provide warmth with our annual Christmas campaign “More than just a warm meal”, which supports the homeless, for those in Hamburg who most urgently need it.
The “Duschbus” – where showers provide dignity
The idea: to provide homeless people with a mobile showering facility. HOCHBAHN donated a bus to the non-profit organisation GoBanyo back in the spring of 2019. Due to the fact that, even in Hamburg, many people cannot afford proper hygiene and healthcare. Around 2,000 people currently live rough on the streets here.
Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, GoBanyo then raised the funds need to convert the bus into a “Duschbus” – or “shower bus”. And it has been a resounding success: Since December 2019, it has been travelling all over Hamburg. And it has even found a parking space at one of our depots.
Refugees training on the job
Bringing people to their destination. As well as being our remit for Hamburg, the refugees in our integration project have also dedicated themselves to this goal. Since 2017, we have been offering a brand new perspective for those who were forced to flee their homes: as bus drivers working for HOCHBAHN. Together with Dekra and the local job centre, we are training these refugees.
Their route to getting behind the wheel of HOCHBAHN buses involves the following: driving school, obtaining a German car driving licence, attending German language courses, then completing a six-month training course to obtain a bus driving licence, followed by an internship lasting several months at one of our depots.
NEUSTART – Taking advantage of opportunities
Enabling a “NEUSTART” (new start) – that’s the central aim of the initiative of the same name managed by the Hamburg training centre HAZ. Since 1978, socially disadvantaged young people have received training here in industrial metal and electrical professions. HOCHBAHN is one of seven Hamburg companies that is a member of the initiative, funding 30 training places each year. 35 employees at HAZ, 30 of whom are experienced master trainers, prepare the young people in the program for life in the world of work. They are also supported along the way by learning therapists and social education workers.
To find out more about the initiative or to apply, please click here.
The idea behind HOCHBAHN’s Social Days is to promote social responsibility and sharpen people’s awareness of the importance of voluntary work. It’s with this in mind that trainees and working students at HOCHBAHN swap their everyday working life for a day of charity work. In the past, they have packed clothes for people in need, done gardening at a residential facility for homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, and organised a day out for children in need at the “Arche Billstedt”.