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Jacobi’s Hockey Donation Initiative

As people are such an important part of our global initiatives around sustainability we like to look at where we can help, this project is an example of how we were able to help via the medium of sports.

Tirunelveli is a city in India, home to one of Jacobi’s activated carbon factories. The city is sizable with several different industries operating within it, however, there are still many people who are underprivileged. Jacobi is a big employer here, we employ approximately 350 people, and we do our utmost to make sure we’re helping to give something back to the local people, whether or not they work with us.

One of the ways we do this is by championing sport for the local children. Back at the start of 2020, CEO, Remko Goudappel, visited the local sports club and realised how little was available to the children in terms of facilities and equipment – particularly when compared with what was available to his own children back home in the Netherlands. Remko coaches his daughter’s team at their local hockey club, called Hockeer, and had seen first hand that there was surplus equipment. Many of the children in Tirunelveli, however, didn’t have access to the basics.

Not long after the trip, Remko set up the Hockeer Initiative where extra hockey equipment from Hockeer was sent over to be used by the children in Tirunelveli. The club collected hockey sticks, shoes, goalkeeping equipment, sportswear and the protective wear to go underneath, and made arrangements for it all to be shipped.

Soon after, Sjinborn, a local rival club, heard about the scheme at Hockeer and wanted to get involved too. This club had recently changed sponsors, meaning there were hundreds of hockey kits that they were unable to use. Again, the club gathered all their spare kits and equipment to be sent over to Tirunelveli.

Several shipments, a large container worth of donations later and the Tirunelveli club now has all they need to play! Around 150 children, both boys and girls aged between six and eighteen, attend the club and are playing twice every week, well equipped!

“I would like to inspire others to do the same thing” said Remko. “All I did was take the initiative and facilitated gathering the equipment and then took it to be shipped – that was it. A minor effort in comparison to the benefits for these kids.”

He continued: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank Thomas and his team who made things possible locally. It is the team effort that makes the difference!”

The Big Game!

Some weeks ago now, back on February the 6th 2021, Jacobi and the sports club in India arranged an event with a hockey match. The children were split into two teams, with the girls representing Hockeer and the boys Sjinborn – like a local derby! Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions in Holland meant the teams weren’t able to play a simultaneous match, but they were able to see videos and pictures.

It was an exciting match that ended in a 1-1 tie and was even broadcast on local television! There were also some speeches made by guests of honour, Mr Rajesh, District Sports and Youth Welfare Officer for Tirunelveli and Mr Khrishna Chakravarthy, Manager of the Tirunelveli Sports Hostel. Again Covid-19 restrictions meant that Jacobi representatives from overseas weren’t able to watch the match in person, much to their disappointment. (Particularly Remko who plays a little himself and said he would have definitely loved to be there!)

Hockey and Our Sustainability Goals

The hockey scheme plays a part in our journey to become the most sustainable supplier in the industry. Of course, handing over this new equipment to children who will make good use of it has a huge impact on their lives. For some, it gives them a regular activity with purpose and for others it might simply be about having fun! But the impact actually stretches beyond these children’s day to day activities.

Often in the western world we have easy access to so much that we simply bin things we no longer need and hockey equipment is no different. In fact, a large proportion of these donations were brand new items but were about to be thrown away – pure waste. By sending the equipment over to Tirunelveli, we’ve prevented it from being consigned to landfill.

In terms of supporting the local communities in the areas Jacobi operates in, this initiative has several positive impacts. One of the United Nations Sustainability Goals we work towards is good health and well-being for all and, of course, the opportunity to regularly play hockey contributes to this. The club also invites both girls and boys to train, supporting our goal to bring equal opportunities and treatment to all genders.

Though in business we often try to quantify our goals or achievements, you simply cannot quantify the benefits of this kind of scheme. We’ve outlined some in this article but you can’t put a number on the positive impact on these families’ lives. It gives additional purpose to what we do as a company. It is about doing well by doing good.

We hope to continue the partnership between the Dutch and Indian hockey clubs and keep on facilitating the donations for a very long time to come!

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