We see tremendous opportunity to positively impact the planet and communities where we operate. We will collaborate with customers, NGOs,suppliers, and local leaders to make glass recycling available in 100% of our locations.
O-I values, and is committed to, building sustainable communities in which we live and work. We aim to maintain a corporate culture where sustainability and social good are integrated into O-I’s DNA. Our people are encouraged to give back and be actively involved in the improvement of their communities. The financial support provided by our company and the O-I Charities Foundation, and the voluntary charitable leadership offered by thousands of O-I employees around the world, demonstrate this commitment. O-I supports nonprofit organizations on a corporate level, as well as through our employees. O-I is active in the areas of education, arts and culture, environment, and the basic needs of our local communities. We are proud to make a difference in the lives of others.
The O-I Charities Foundation was established in 1937 and donates more than $1.5 million (USD) annually to charities and non-profit organizations in North America, along with numerous grant programs. Through our robust Employee Matching Gift Program, which matches donations dollar-for-dollar and provides a 2:1 match for educational gifts, the Foundation amplifies employee giving and provides longer-term investments in areas where the company can support broad movements for social change. O-I seeks to maximize the impact of our giving, volunteerism, and partnerships in the community while upholding our commitment to value creation.
Our community relations activities seek to develop collective prosperity by enhancing company culture, promoting O-I’s attraction to employees, supporting employee retention, increasing employee productivity and happiness, improving O-I’s brand perception, and offering opportunities for professional development. In the U.S., employees can receive up to 16 hours of paid-volunteer time and are encouraged to participate in group and individual volunteer opportunities throughout the community.
The community engagement efforts of our employees serve as a testament to the sound character, values, and spirit of generosity upheld by our global workforce. Our relationships with our communities are critical to us, and we are proud of the philanthropic endeavors and achievements of our over 25,000 employees.
We strive to be an active and contributing member of every community where O-I employees live and work. As global citizens, we are immensely proud of the efforts of our people, and the company as a whole, to support health, safety, education, arts and culture, social good, and the environment in order to make our communities more sustainable. In 2020, O-I Charities Foundation gave $680,000 to more than 30 nonprofits. The Foundation also matched another $790,000 in gifts from our employees to over 160 organizations.
Though O-I and our employees remained committed to supporting our communities during the pandemic, COVID-19 presented certain barriers to our usual giving, which can explain the decrease from 2019 to 2020. Financial uncertainty likely impeded employee giving and in-turn, matching gifts. In addition, events were cancelled, the annual United Way giving campaign went virtual, and many of the programs O-I has supported in the past were closed, such as schools, libraries, community centers.
Supporting Worthy Causes
Even through this difficult time, we maintained our support for our communities. We look for activities that lift the human spirit, provide community support, and contribute to O-I’s visibility. Through employees and plants in North America, we provided about $900,000 independent of Foundation giving in support of community-based causes.
The Foundation donated over $200,000 for art education, programming, and sustainability. It supports visual and performing arts organizations, museums, public broadcasting, historic preservation societies, and other cultural organizations, particularly in Northwest Ohio.
Our Commitment to the Glass City
The Toledo, Ohio area is O-I’s birthplace and home of our global headquarters. Toledo is known as “the Glass City” because of its long history of glass manufacturing by companies like O-I. Bettering the Toledo community is a constant element in our initiatives on social engagement. For over three decades, O-I has been a supporter of the Toledo Zoo, pledging $1 million over 10 years to support education programs and exhibits. We are currently the title sponsor of the newly renovated aquarium, featuring a 90,000-gallon reef exhibit, which helps raise awareness over protecting these endangered ecosystems.
The alliance of art and industry is strong in the Glass City. Exposure to Arts and Culture creates vital and robust communities and O-I has promoted such organizations for over 50 years. We value our strong relationship with the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts, which includes the Toledo Symphony and the Toledo Ballet, as well as the Toledo Museum of Art and the local Arts Commission. In 2020, the O-I Charities Foundation provided over $200,000 in support of glass-blowing demonstrations, educational programming, virtual performances, and more, providing socially distanced opportunities and entertainment for the community during a challenging year.
Stone Brewing Bottles “Black is Beautiful” Beer in O-I Glass
In 2020, O-I supported the Black is Beautiful beer project. Founded by Weathered Souls Brewing in Texas, the product invited breweries to help fight racial inequality by donating proceeds from the sales of a designated Black is Beautiful beer. Our craft brewing customer, California-based Stone Brewing, was among the 900-plus breweries who joined in the project.
O-I set aside glass bottles to support craft breweries who wanted to bottle their Black is Beautiful beer. Using donated bottles is one less expense for a brewery, essentially allowing them to give more proceeds to their chosen organization. Stone Brewing released their version of Black is Beautiful in September, an imperial stout with added layers of oak and bourbon barrel sweetness. They donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc (LDF).
Supporting STEM Education
At the end of 2019, O-I kicked off a very special event in Brazil, “There Will Be Girls In Science,” encouraging young women to consider careers in the STEM fields. The event was held at the University of Sao Paulo School of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities. It featured several lectures and activities hosted by a group of science teachers. The setting allowed young women, aged 14 to 17, to hear about and experience multiple areas of science, providing exposure to the broad array of science-based career options. O-I values participating in these events because of the role they play in achieving gender equity and empowering all women at every age.
O-I additionally supports education through the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation, which is working to advance STEM programming. We granted $15,000 to support programming that introduces students to glass and ceramic science.
Creating Sustainable Communities Through the United Way Campaign
O-I is a strong supporter of United Way, a global nonprofit with 1,800 community-based organizations that seek to help individuals and families achieve their potential through education, income stability, and healthy lives. O-I’s core values and philanthropic aspirations align strongly with United Way’s global mission and its efforts to mobilize local communities.
At our global headquarters in Ohio, O-I has been among the largest contributors to the local United Way campaign for many years. The United Way of Greater Toledo serves Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa Counties. In those communities, the needs are homelessness, addiction, unemployment resources, early childhood education, literacy, financial literacy, and health and wellness. In 2020, our U.S. corporate employees generously donated $236,803 (58% participation), which O-I matched dollar-for-dollar.
O-I employees additionally supported United Way Brazil in 2020 with $40,000 (USD) in giving and United Way Peru with $16,000 (USD). Since 2012, O-I Brazil partnered with United Way to invest in education programs focusing on early childhood development. O-I has also supported programs in Brazil that encourage the development and strengthening of socio-emotional skills of young adults.
Support and Solidarity in the Face of a Pandemic
2020 was a particularly challenging year globally. The COVID-19 crisis made clear the value and need for community and social engagement. O-I invested both time and financial support to provide COVID-19 and disaster relief. We donated $50,000 for two COVID-19 relief funds. We provided additional support to the Red Cross for antibody testing, including blood drives with 1,290 units collected, and product donations for hand sanitizer. Despite the challenges posed by volunteering during a pandemic, our employee commitments and willingness to do so remained strong.
Victory Over COVID-19 Through Vaccination
In January 2021, O-I’s Charitable Foundation donated $50,000 to the Victory Over COVID-19 Through Vaccination (VProject). The VProject was an area-wide initiative to educate, motivate, and vaccinate the entire Northwest Ohio corridor to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To accomplish this, leaders from industry, government, non-profit, health care, education, and religious organizations united in an unprecedented effort to effectively mobilize the community. In addition to financial contributions, O-I employees are actively volunteering in leadership and other roles to support every aspect of the VProject.
O-I Works with Local Partner to Produce Reusable PPE During COVID-19
O-I collaborated with a local industrial automation company to make reusable face shields for members of the Northwest Ohio medical community at the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis, when PPE supplies were critically low. We used our 3D printing capabilities to make the frames for the shields in a nearly zero-waste manufacturing process and our partner supplied the face shields.
While the company’s global campus was closed to office workers because of COVID-19, we created an innovative approach to overcome the staffing challenges to manufacture the frames. We combined the need for essential employees to help secure and maintain our facilities with the personnel needed to operate the 3D printers. Our security and maintenance team collaborated with the innovation team to provide the personnel to make the frames. Security staff timed their rounds so they could be in O-I’s Glass and Science Materials Lab to remove completed print jobs and start new ones.
O-I’s Seville Plant Joins Forces with Red Cross to Help Families in Need
To support our Seville, Spain plant’s community, our employees joined forces with the Red Cross. The partnership organized an effort—with the plant providing a donation location—to collect and distribute food and basic necessities. As part of the program, O-I donated PPE to the Red Cross workers. While conceived only as a week-long focused effort, the campaign was extended and embraced by others in the community, including a local artisan, Pandería Artesana Obando. In the end, the Red Cross was able to distribute over one ton of food and other goods to local families in need.
Wingles Plant Chooses Solidarity in Times of COVID-19
Employees at the Wingles plant in France took the initiative to support the staff of the hospital in the nearby city of Lens. They donated 500 salad-sandwich meals to the hospital employees. As part of the effort, the plant employees enlisted others in the community to help, including Intermarché Wingles, a local business that prepared and delivered the meals. Inspired by the initiative, Intermarché supplemented the meals with desserts. An open letter from all O-I Wingles employees accompanied these meals, expressing support and gratitude to the hospital staff for their dedication and courage. The team also donated materials to a hospital center located in Béthune, enabling the production of 1,400 medical gowns. The employees also collected t-shirts, which the hospital converted into medical caps.
Lapel Plant Donates Glass Bottles for Hand Sanitizer
Deemed an essential business, plants in the northern United States were operational during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Lapel plant in Indiana used its production capacity to donate bottles to a local distiller, Oakley Brothers Distillery, for the production of hand sanitizer.
San Domenico Employees Use Solidarity Fund to Donate to Hospital Fighting COVID-19
For years, employees at the San Domenico plant near Naples, Italy collected money every month in a solidarity fund to support the local community and colleagues in need. During the pandemic, they unanimously agreed to deploy part of the solidarity fund to support medical staff of the Cotugno hospital, a well-known specialized infectious disease facility in Naples. It became the subject of international media coverage in April 2020 because it had no positive cases of COVID-19 among its staff—even though it was only treating COVID 19 patients. San Domenico employees were eager to recognize the hospital’s tremendous efforts, give back to the community, and send a tangible signal of support.
Forming for Our Future
O-I aims to build and maintain strong relationships with the global communities in which we operate, creating a positive impact, promoting sustainability, and long-term prosperity. We strive to inspire employee pride and engagement through our community involvement. We have developed objectives to guide how we expand and integrate community involvement more deeply into the company’s practices.
To reinforce our presence in our local communities and support our employees’ continued desire to give back, we plan to expand our volunteer opportunities and create innovative programs to engage friends and families of our employees.
As global citizens, we strive to increase O-I’s impact in our communities around the world. We aim to identify and create partnerships with international organizations. We will work toward having organized volunteer programs in place at all of our global facilities.
While the O-I Charities Foundation has historically focused on North America, our community engagement strategy for the next 10 years involves creating global philanthropic programs to provide similar support outside of North America. These volunteer opportunities and foundation giving will align with our sustainability purpose and UNSDG goals. Part of our roadmap to bring our vision to life is to improve and create global metrics for volunteer hours, donations, grants, and non-profit group engagement.
Working towards our global sustainability goals, we have the ambition to ensure we establish and maintain glass recycling in 100% of the locations where we operate. Our ambition also includes finding innovative ways to tie increases in glass recycling rates to direct community benefit through our Glass4Good™ initiative.
Sustainability in Action
New Recycling Hub Launches in Southern Colombia
Our new recycling hub in southern Colombia has officially opened. Strategically located in the city of Yumbo, the facility advances […]
Repeat Glass Launches Recycling Subscription Service in Cleveland
In April 2022, Jamie Arnold launched Repeat Glass, the first glass-only recycling pickup service for homes and businesses in the […]
Renata Tambasco’s Glass Recycling Start-Up Creates New Habits in São Paulo
Recitotal, a glass recycling and processing company based in São Paulo, Brazil isn’t your average recycling collection operation. Led by […]
Pennsylvania State Senator Cris Dush Presents O-I Brockway with ENERGY STAR® Certificate
Pennsylvania State Senator Cris Dush presented the ENERGY STAR® Certificate to O-I’s Brockway facility at a press conference in Brockport, […]