BUILD Change: first reports

Launched in June 2022, BUILD Change is the Group’s sponsorship and philanthropy policy. We look back over the projects that have accelerated the transition to a more sustainable construction. 

BUILD Change : premiers bilans

The Group’s sponsorship and philanthropy activities strengthen our ties with local communities. Where we take action, they give us visibility and increase public acceptance. As a global leader in sustainable construction, it made sense to align these actions with our purpose and our positioning in sustainable construction.

And because there is sometimes a fine line between sponsorship and philanthropy, it is important to start by making a clear distinction between the two.

  • A sponsorship is a payment made to an organization with a view to benefiting directly from an opportunity to promote our values, extend our reputation or develop the visibility of the brand by associating the Saint-Gobain name with the sponsored project.
  • Philanthropy is a donation made to an organization with a view to creating a positive social and/or environmental impact, without direct compensation. However, such actions can create visibility for the brand, give employees a sense of pride and strengthen our local roots. 

BUILD Change is therefore a sponsorship and philanthropy policy that unites all our actions around a global strategic focus: helping communities in the regions where we operate while inspiring and accelerating the transition to sustainable construction. 

Two pillars 

To achieve this, the policy is built on two pillars: training of young people in construction and access to decent, sustainable housing for all, especially the most impoverished. 

BUILD Change encourages young people, and especially the most disadvantaged, to pursue a career in construction at a time when the sector is facing labor shortages in many countries. 

Similarly, there is a chronic lack of decent housing for the most disadvantaged. Being able to improve access to insulated homes also helps these vulnerable populations to reduce their energy bills and live more comfortably. 

Although the BUILD Change policy guides some of these actions, each country runs complementary programs to support vulnerable populations in local communities. 

Already 80 BUILD Change projects

In 2022, Saint-Gobain invested €13.4 million in philanthropy and sponsorship, either in the form of direct financial support or donations of materials, and there have now been almost 80 BUILD Change projects in all the regions where we have a presence. Some have also received funding from the Saint-Gobain Foundation (projects sponsored by our active or retired employees). Congratulations and thank you to all the teams involved! 

All countries are encouraged to implement this policy on their own initiative with the support of the central functions (CSR and communication). It is through everyone’s commitment to BUILD Change that we will be able to make it a strong, visible and high-impact policy. 

Some inspiring examples of BUILD Change actions: 

South Africa 

The Saint-Gobain YouthBuild Academy program is tackling the growing number of young people who are unemployed, and the dwindling number of tradespeople trained in the construction sector. The Academy offers basic training while creating a direct route to the labor market, with special emphasis on environmentally friendly “green construction”. 

North America 

The North American teams are rolling out a program supporting construction or renovation of buildings, which is deployed in places where Saint-Gobain faces significant challenges with recruiting or retaining talent. In 2021, Saint-Gobain teamed up with Charis Homes and Habitat for Humanity to construct a zero-energy house to be sold to an underprivileged family with the help of a low interest loan. In 2022, the emphasis was on supporting secondary schools with plans to renovate, expand or construct buildings. Local factories are involved in selecting the projects. 

Argentina 

A joint action was carried out with the municipality of Almirante Brown to repair the roof of the Casa Amparo, a home for women who have been victims of sexual violence. 

Colombia

The Academia del Instalador program is a virtual academy founded in October 2022 by Fiberglass Isover to train installers in the Colombian construction industry (including younger generations) in the installation of insulation and waterproofing products. It includes online courses and workshops in the fields of architecture and construction, waterproofing, air conditioning and industry.  The program is supported by the ACOL (Colombian Association of Builders), which supports the social development of the country through access to labor and the development of technical, training and commercial activities. More than 100 people have already been trained in 2022 and 760 people are currently enrolled.

India 

Gift of Education – Learn While Earn Program (LWE) is a pioneering learning in the workplace program, designed to allow poor people or people from rural areas to access training in modern production workshops. LWE improves the livelihoods of families and therefore has an indirect impact on more than 1,000 people each year. 

This employability training comes with a monthly grant for the family. It offers students a way into the world of work. Since it was launched in 2011, around 340 students and their families have benefited from the program. 

France 

POINT.P set up the Ecole des Bâtisseurs to attract more young people to the construction trades. To succeed in this, POINT.P has developed, together with experts from the CFA (apprentice training center) and Saint-Gobain, an original educational program that has added 70 sustainable construction training hours to the official curriculum. 

United Kingdom & Ireland 

In partnership with the charity Barnardo’s, the Future Place Academy offers marginalized young people training in the field of construction, prepares them for the world of work and opens up employment opportunities. 

To find out more, read the presentation.