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26.10.2021
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BIRKENSTOCK donates for the flood victims in the Ahr valley

Employees and subcontracted workers at the BIRKENSTOCK production site in Sankt Katharinen have donated a five-figure sum to the victims of the disastrous floods in the Ahr Valley in the form of monetary donations and by forgoing payment for overtime hours.

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Employees and subcontracted workers at the BIRKENSTOCK production site in Sankt Katharinen have donated a five-figure sum to the victims of the disastrous floods in the Ahr Valley in the form of monetary donations and by forgoing payment for overtime hours. The donation drive was an initiative of the Works Council. This high degree of solidarity made an impression on BIRKENSTOCK CEO Oliver Reichert too, who rounded the donation total up to 100,000 euros. The funds will be transferred to the ‘Hochwasser’ (floods) donation account set up by the Ahrweiler district to assist those affected in the region with quickly and unbureaucratically overcoming the financial impacts of the floods.

When the headlines were dominated by news of the devastating floods in the Ahr Valley in July 2021, the approximately 900 employees at the BIRKENSTOCK site in Sankt Katharinen, Rhineland-Palatinate, were moved too – not least because many of them were made directly aware of the consequences of the events by their own families, friends and acquaintances and then spontaneously rolled up their sleeves to help clear up. Some of the workers were also directly involved in redeveloping the disaster-struck areas in their capacity as voluntary firefighters or as volunteers with Germany’s federal agency for technical relief, Technisches Hilfswerk. To demonstrate their solidarity with the victims of the floods and to play a part in helping them overcome the dramatic and sometimes existence-threatening impacts of the flooding, the Works Council launched an appeal for donations, which was met with wide support at the plant.

This resulted in a donation drive for the flood victims to which both cash and overtime hours could be donated. The recruitment agencies who operate at the site got involved too. In this way, a total of 16,500 euros was collected, which the BIRKENSTOCK management subsequently rounded up to a donation totalling 100,000 euros. This sum will now be distributed to the region’s flood victims over the next few days via the ‘Hochwasser’ donation account set up by the Ahrweiler district savings bank.

‘The people there still urgently need our support. Considering the scope of the disaster, every little contribution has an important part to play in these dreadful events being overcome. This form of immediate aid gets to where it is most urgently needed quickly and unbureaucratically,’ explains Michaela Falk-Wagner, Chair of the BIRKENSTOCK Works Council in Sankt Katharinen.

‘Our sympathies go out to all those who live in the disaster-struck areas. In hard times, it is all the more important for us to be here for one another. I would therefore like to thank our employees for their huge solidarity and willingness to help. Properly supporting this initiative which is backed by the workforce is a matter of course for us,’ says Oliver Reichert, BIRKENSTOCK CEO.

About BIRKENSTOCK

BIRKENSTOCK is a global lifestyle brand with a heritage in iconic footwear, rooted in the creation of the BIRKENSTOCK footbed. The brand that can be traced as far as 1774 is guided by the notion of quality and function in all its actions and across all categories. The concept of all-round wellbeing is developed into footwear, sleeping systems and natural cosmetics, increasingly translating the lifestyle vision of the brand heritage.

With around 5,500 employees worldwide, this traditional, sixth-generation family-run business is also one of the German footwear industry’s biggest employers. BIRKENSTOCK was already using the term “footbed” in the 1910s, giving it the meaning which is commonly understood by consumers all over the world to this day – as a synonym for outstanding comfort when walking and standing. By the early 1970s, BIRKENSTOCK had become a global player. Since 2021, the company is majority owned by L Catterton, the world's largest growth investor focused on the consumer goods industry, and Financière Agache, a holding company controlled by Agache, the holding company of the Arnault family.

Manufactured in Germany, the sandals are sold in more than 100 countries on all continents. BIRKENSTOCK also has a growing range of closed shoes, children’s shoes, and occupational footwear, as well as specialist products for orthopedic retailers, socks, bags, and belts. In 2017, BIRKENSTOCK added sleep systems and natural cosmetics (BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL SKIN CARE) to its portfolio of products. BIRKENSTOCK has 16 sites in Germany, in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Bavaria, and Saxony. The long-standing enterprise also operates its own sales offices in the United States and Canada as well as in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Dubai and India.

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