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Berenberg recognizes Faber-Castell AG for corporate responsibility

Dresden/Hamburg. On Thursday evening, Germany's oldest private bank awarded the first-ever Berenberg Corporate Responsibility Award to Faber-Castell AG at a ceremony in Dresden attended by over 300 leaders of family-owned companies. The Award was in recognition of the pencil manufacturer's project to transform barren grazing land in Colombia into sustainable forest.

"Corporate responsibility is particularly strong among family-owned companies. This has much to do with the fact that the owners have a very long-term outlook with a focus on sustainability," said Dr. Hans-Walter Peters, Spokesman of the managing partners of Berenberg. Berenberg considers itself a responsible and capable service provider and partner to its clients, and initiated the award to recognize projects by companies that combine their business purpose with social commitment in creative ways. "Only companies that react responsibly to the trust placed in them can be successful over the long term," said Peters. "Companies must become more open and play a part in society."

With the award-winning project Faber-Castell AG is working to protect the climate. In the north of Colombia, 51 farmers work 1900 hectares of forest to supply the company with raw materials. In doing so they make available some of the land they had previously used mostly for grazing, and get part of the profit from the wood harvested. The forest project is part of a large-scale state-supported restructuring programme for heavily overgrazed and eroded areas along the Rio Magdalena. Its goal is to protect the region from flooding and poor harvests by ecological means, and to stabilize it politically and economically. Faber-Castell is one of the few private-sector investors yet to support the project. In doing so, the company secures an ecologically sound source of raw materials while offering farmers opportunity and a future. As a result, Faber-Castell is the first privately-owned company in the world that is in a position to sell emissions certificates from forestry under the Kyoto Protocol for the reduction of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. 

The winner of the 2014 Berenberg Corporate Responsibility Award makes 2.3 billion pencils a year, 99% of them out of certified wood. In the 2012/13 fiscal year the company with its 7000 staff made revenues of 590 million euros. Faber-Castell has been family-owned for eight generations, and since 1978 has been led by Anton-Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell. His son Charles Graf von Faber-Castell accepted the award at the occasion of the launch of the "Lexicon of German Family-Owned Companies" presented by the Cologne publishing house Deutsche Standards EDITIONEN and sponsored by Berenberg, Ernst & Young and ASU, the German family-owned company association. "What unites us as family company owners is our long-term, generation-spanning perspective and deep sense of responsibility for our employees and the world we live in. We are delighted to receive this award, and consider it a confirmation that we are on the right path," said Charles Graf von Faber-Castell.  

The award jury was made up of Ariane Derks (CEO of Land der Ideen), Prof. Dr. André Habisch (Eichstätt-Ingolstadt Catholic University), Dr. Florian Langenscheidt (publisher), Dr. Hans-Walter Peters (Berenberg) and Prof. Dr. Sabine Rau (WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management). 

Director Corporate Communication

Karsten Wehmeier
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