Success from tradition

The history of Boehringer Ingelheim is a history shaped by long-term, strong, successful partnerships. From the very first days, social interaction had been important to the founder of the company – interaction based on respectful and trusting cooperation within the company and with outside partners. This has marked our corporate culture, which puts people first. Partnerships arise when people are ready to assist one another and to help one another in order to mutually progress. At the same time, it is also important to create the necessary space for personal development. Boehringer Ingelheim has worked according to this principle for over 130 years.

Chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 42 per cent of Mexico’s rural population mainly rely on wood as fuel for heating and cooking. Burning wood produces large quantities of harmful substances such as small soot particles, which directly enter the lungs. As most houses are very poorly ventilated, the soot concentration in them exceeds by up to one hundred times the level at which it is no threat to health. Constantly breathing in these soot particles indoors can result in diseases for those affected – mainly women and children – for example in COPD, asthma and lung cancer. Together with the “Fondo para la Paz” charity, Boehringer Ingelheim in Mexico has set the goal of not only improving the quality of life of patients with respiratory diseases but also of tackling the causes. To this end, Boehringer Ingelheim has since 2007 installed more than 1,600 ecological stoves in poorer communities in Mexico, enormously improving the lives of more than 6,000 people. The project also reduces greenhouse gases and delivers an improved carbon footprint.

Space for culture: in 1959, Ernst Boehringer established the “International Days” in Ingelheim, Germany in order to provide an insight into the life and culture of other nations and peoples. Since then, the annual series of cultural events has guided visitors through history and around the globe, from Greek antiquity to the modern era.

Space for patient empowerment: Boehringer Ingelheim employees in the USA have long served as volunteers at a local Americares free clinic for people without health insurance. In 2016, the Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation and Americares launched a new health coach programme there that grew out of community conversations about unmet needs. Health coaches who speak Spanish and English work one-on-one with patients with chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, and help them develop action plans to reach their health goals.

Space for more togetherness: every year, people with disability and Boehringer Ingelheim employees celebrate a togetherness festival at the company’s Biberach site in Germany. They come together to get to know one another, exchange views and learn from each other. For over ten years, Boehringer Ingelheim has been partnering a local social organisation for people with disability in Biberach. More than 150 employees have since worked as volunteers on various projects.

Space for good ideas: why not use open source technology to manufacture electronically controlled artificial limbs at low cost? In 2015, the “FunMove” team from South Korea took first place with this good idea in the “Making More Health Changemaker” competition. The background to this project is that in South Korea, artificial limbs are generally much too expensive in relation to the average income level. Boehringer Ingelheim launched this competition in 2014 together with the charitable organisation Ashoka.

Space for creativity: since 2010, Boehringer Ingelheim has supported the “People with disability paint” (Behinderte Menschen malen) project initiated by the State Office for Social Affairs, Young People and Care in Mainz, Germany. One highlight is the annual exhibition in the company’s staff restaurant in Ingelheim, where people with disability present their paintings.

Space for the family: already before the First World War, Boehringer Ingelheim began building flats and houses near the plant site in Ingelheim, Germany for employees with their families.

Space for team spirit: on the occasion of the company’s 25th anniversary in 1910, this photomontage of all of the company’s employees was made. The picture was a present from the workforce to Albert Boehringer and hung for many years above his desk.

Space for rest and relaxation: as one of the first companies in Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim in 1910 introduced paid holidays for employees.

Space for ideals: in September 1913, Albert junior, the older son of the company’s founder, wrote a letter to his brother Ernst, who was still at school at the time. Among other things, he advised his younger brother, “Don’t perceive your ideals solely in making money, but also in the common good, in which, for example, you as an industrialist practice social welfare among your workers.”