Corporate Citizenship

Across the globe, megatrends such as climate change, urbanization and resource constraints are creating unprecedented social demands for advanced education and workforce development, housing and cooling comfort, and healthy perishable foods and goods.

Our citizenship investments rest at the intersection of these megatrends, our advanced technology and expertise in HVAC and transport refrigeration, and the unique needs of the communities where we live and work. Our aim is to create opportunity for all, putting more back into society than we take out, and achieving measurable results in our citizenship focus areas that are well aligned to both our business strategy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Achieving Our 2020 Sustainability Commitments for Citizenship Two Years Early

In 2014, we set ambitious sustainability goals for corporate citizenship centered on (1) expanding competency in energy and other resource efficiency; (2) inspiring STEM education and workforce development opportunities; (3) addressing nutrition and food waste reduction; and (4) supporting housing and shelter needs. 

Together with a network of community-based nonprofit organizations, we awarded 180 grants and 227 scholarships (19 outside of U.S.) and our employees volunteered 110,261 hours (between 2014–2018, the timing of our 2020 commitments). As a result of the dedication of our people around the world, we achieved our 2020 commitments two years ahead of schedule:

2020 Citizenship Priority 2020 Target
Expand competency in energy and other resource efficiency Share energy conservation knowledge with 200 officials in developing regions.
2020 Outcomes
We shared energy conservation information with more than 201 officials.

Among many other activities, we continued to educate government officials and industry bodies around the world in 2019 (U.S., European Union, India, China and others) on energy-efficient and lower global warming potential technologies, stressing the importance of making buildings and transportation more energy efficient, not just compliant with regulations.

We also presented at conferences and led national and international committees and working groups, such as ASHRAE, AHRI, UL, IEC, EN, UN and ISO, and served as a resource to state and local governments to help them understand the next-generation refrigeration landscape.
2020 Citizenship Priority 2020 Target
Inspire STEM education Launch signature program to increase female representation in manufacturing positions and advance technical workforce development programs at 100 community colleges and technology institutes worldwide.

Sponsor 20,000 females in STEM-related activities to increase career interest.
2020 Outcomes
We reached 106 community college and technology institutes and more than 210,201 women with STEM-related activities, far exceeding our goal of 20,000.

In partnership with the Agastaya International Foundation in India, we created mobile science labs and centers that provided teacher training, science fairs and summer camps to economically disadvantaged children and government school teachers.

As the exclusive HVAC and energy efficiency industry sponsor for NC3, we strengthened career and technical education and workforce development opportunities through grants to support 81 community colleges and technology institutes.
2020 Citizenship Priority 2020 Target
Address nutrition and food waste reduction Provide food and nutrition education to 200,000 children.
2020 Outcomes
We provided food and nutrition education to 261,860 children through partnerships with American Heart Association and Second Harvest through Feeding America.

Together with the American Heart Association, we brought Kids & Nutrition assemblies to elementary schools across Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Thousands of children learned about sugar intake, took books home that contained kid-friendly recipes and learned how to eat healthy on the go.
2020 Citizenship Priority 2020 Target
Support housing and shelter needs Volunteer 40,000 hours related to housing and shelter.
2020 Outcomes
Our employees volunteered 51,453 hours, exceeding our goal of 40,000 hours.

We operationalized United Way campaigns in 24 U.S. cities to address critical issues in America’s communities including housing and shelter needs. Employees volunteered and raised funds for United Way, which included a company match for every employee donation. The U.S. company-wide campaign totaled more than $2.89M to local communities.

Creating Opportunity for All Through our 2030 Citizenship Commitments

With our 2020 commitments for citizenship met in 2018, we pivoted our citizenship focus towards the future. The successes, lessons learned, partnerships built, and communities positively impacted paved the way for us to commit to a bigger, bolder company-wide strategy and aspirational targets as part of our 2030 Sustainability Commitments announced in 2019.

We embrace the unique role we play as a climate innovator for buildings, homes and transportation. With our global footprint, unique innovation, and our expertise, we can (1) increase education and economic mobility in communities where we live and work; (2) increase access to housing and cooling comfort; and (3) increase the availability of healthy food to people who need it most.

Our 2030 citizenship commitments are:

  • Establish a network of partners to foster STEM and early education experiences for individuals in underrepresented communities.
  • Invest $10 million in workforce development and re-training/re-entry programs to foster experiences within underrepresented populations.
  • Establish a community impact grant program with hyper-local organizations to address systemic challenges in underrepresented communities where we operate and serve (with poverty levels >12%).
  • Dedicate 100,000 employee volunteer hours to signature programs that increase access to food, housing and climate comfort, and other well-being services.

Strengthening Our Delivery Model

In 2019, we developed a citizenship delivery model with three categories and set “Best of the Company” criteria to bolster the impact, transparency and governance of our citizenship initiatives.

  • Signature: Partnerships with larger national and international organizations tied to education and economic mobility, housing and cooling comfort, healthy food and other well-being services with organizations such as Feeding America, American Red Cross and Climate Generation.
  • Strategic: Partnerships with established regional organizations, primarily tied to education and economic mobility such as Discovery Place Science Museum, Explore More Life Sustainability Lab and Ada Jenkins Center’s transitional housing program.
  • Community Impact: Partnerships with hyper-local organizations addressing systemic economic mobility challenges in underrepresented communities working with organizations such as Pueblo School of Arts & Science, Chapel Hill Career and Technical Education and the East Trenton Collaborative.

As part of the delivery model, we defined and began to apply a “Best of the Company” approach that includes:

  • Funding for programs only (limited/no operating costs)
  • Asking leaders to participate on nonprofit boards and champion project teams of partner organizations
  • Encouraging and incenting skill-based employee volunteerism and employee fundraising
  • Increasing in-kind giving of HVAC and Transport Refrigeration products and services
  • Progressing toward outcome-based metrics (in addition to output metrics)

In 2019, in line with this delivery model, we supported and funded:

6 Signature partnerships 13 Leaders on nonprofit boards
28 Strategic partnerships 6 Expertise projects
12 Community impact partnerships
  • 44% in Charlotte
  • 52% in other U.S. markets
  • 4% in countries outside of the U.S.
  • 89% in markets with poverty levels >12%
21 Community-based events

Our Focus Areas

Education and Economic Mobility

We believe that education and economic mobility are central to strengthening communities and building a workforce for the future. Approximately 90% of the manufacturing communities where we operate have poverty rates above the 12% national average including the city of our U.S. headquarters, Charlotte, NC, which ranked 50 out of 50 in U.S. cities for economic mobility in a 2013 Harvard University/UC Berkeley study.

At the same time, manufacturers are competing for talent like never before because of an aging population and skilled labor shortages. In fact, the manufacturing skilled labor shortage is expected to increase to 7.9 million people globally by 2030 (from today’s 2 million people).

By increasing access to early childhood, STEM and climate-related education experiences for underserved populations, we have an opportunity to increase economic mobility and build the skilled labor pool for our business and others.

Specific social KPIs for our education and economic mobility focus area include:

  • Increase access to STEM education experiences for underrepresented populations
  • Increase number and marketability of skilled workforce targeting labor shortages in the manufacturing sector
  • Advance communities historically left behind through workforce training where we operate

Our 2019 Progress

Network of partners to foster STEM and early education experiences

We have established a network of 8 nonprofit partners to create high touch and high reach experiences for underserved populations, and to extend access to STEM and climate-related education through museums, multimedia and grassroots engagement.

  • Discovery Place Charlotte: As the official Sustainability partner of Discovery Place, we began activities where company experts share knowledge about reducing food waste, the relationship between water and heat, and the resources that provide breathable air and drinkable water. We also performed an energy audit paired with advisement from our EVP and Chief Technology and Strategy Officer who serves on the Discovery Place Board of Directors.

  • National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE): Together, we are in the early phases of developing SEEK, an engineering immersion program to expose racially and ethnically under-served populations in grades 3–5 in Charlotte to STEM education. The initiative is facilitated by employees and championed by company leaders active in the organization and on the NSBE Board of Directors.
  • Project Scientist: Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, but hold less than a quarter of the country’s STEM jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Project Scientist seeks to close this gender gap by identifying, educating and coaching girls ages 4–12 at the beginning of the STEM talent pipeline. We have continued to work with Project Scientist to scale their program in markets including Charlotte, Southern California and Minneapolis/St. Paul. In 2019, our Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer joined the Project Scientist Board of Directors. Together, we are co-developing sustainability curriculum, providing human resource advisement and networking Project Scientist to other potential corporate partners.

Invest in workforce development and re-training/re-entry programs

We partner with our progressive, diversity and inclusion (PDI) and talent teams to identify critical workforce needs for the future and design programs that help address these gaps. One example is our company and HVAC industry need for HVAC technicians who install and service systems and controls technology. Our employee resource group called the Black Employee Network helped tackle this issue through a unique partnership with the Urban League:

Urban League of Central Carolinas: We supported a 16-week HVAC training program for students that focuses on the knowledge and hands-on skills needed to be ready for certification and immediate entry-level employment. In addition, we hosted an on-site career workshop that equipped HVAC trainees with the skills needed to be employment-ready following program completion.

Establish community impact grant program with hyper-local organizations

We established a program to engage with hyper-local organizations that are dedicated to improving career and technical education in high schools, investing in workforce training for less skilled workers, expanding access to quality early-childhood education, and investing in distressed neighborhoods.

These organizations can receive up to $5,000 in funding for programs. Examples include the Chapel Hill Career and Technology Education in Tyler, Texas, where we funded and provided skill-based expertise to develop curriculum to teach manufacturing skills in the classroom; Pineville Neighbors in Pineville, NC, where we funded a transitional housing program to assist families in need to provide stable, affordable housing; and the East Trenton Collaborative in Trenton, NJ, to offer residents of 20 or more years funding to improve health and safety features in addition to exterior repairs, helping long-time community members age in place and keep their homes.

Housing and Cooling Comfort

Access to housing and cooling comfort are critical issues for our company. As the world warms and weather becomes more unpredictable, shelter and cooling comfort are becoming even more important. That’s why we work to improve access to affordable housing, increase the availability of cooling comfort and educate people on how to improve home efficiency and indoor air quality.

Specific social KPIs for our housing and cooling comfort focus area include:

  • Improve access to energy-efficient and affordable housing globally
  • Increase access to cooling and comfort in under-served communities where climate change impact poses risks to health and well-being
  • Improve and expand education on home efficiency and indoor air quality control

Our 2019 Progress

Provide Senior Care in China

We have an established signature partnership with the Guangzhou Zhi Kun Foundation to improve the living environment and enhance quality of life for the elderly in China, a significant issue in Chinese society. The partnership leverages the company’s resources, technology advantages and employee engagement to create a curriculum on home HVAC maintenance and air conditioning cleaning and maintenance. In 2019, more than 100 employees volunteered to support 116 seniors through the program.

Work with Habitat for Humanity to Improve Home Efficiency

More than 40 million Americans live at or below the poverty level and lack access to affordable housing and the necessary information to avoid home maintenance issues and costs. In late 2019, we initiated a signature partnership with Habitat for Humanity to develop home maintenance curriculum including home efficiency, heating and cooling and air quality. The program will be implemented in select U.S. markets in 2020 where the need is greatest, and in line with our dealer and distributor network and employee base for volunteerism, fundraising and sharing expertise. 


Healthy Foods

The greatest challenge getting food to the 795 million people around the world who don’t have enough is refrigerated transport. Through our Thermo King business, we use our refrigerated transport knowledge and products to move fresh, healthy food and get it where it’s needed most. With our knowledge and products, we can also help tackle the problem of food waste. Approximately one third of food produced is wasted, which results in close to 10% of global GHG emissions.

Specific social KPIs for our healthy foods focus area include:

  • Increase access to fresh, healthy foods in food deserts, helping to decrease the number of food deserts around the world
  • Fund more mobile food pantries to improve fresh food transport
  • Decrease amount of food waste

Our 2019 Progress

We Move Food

We designed and continue to grow the We Move Food program together with Feeding America to transport perishable foods to 26 of the most food insecure markets in the U.S. as well as Brazil.

Our employees and Thermo King dealers in 30 cities have volunteered with mobile food pantries and food banks, applied expertise to increase the efficiency of Feeding America food banks and facilitated in-kind giving through a free and deviated pricing program.

In total, approximately $578,000 has been donated to Feeding America from the company foundation, Thermo King dealers and the employees at Thermo King locations. Going forward, we plan to measure reduction in food loss and avoided CO2 emissions as a result of the program.

Measuring Our Impact: Key Performance Indicators

We are taking steps to shift our metrics from “outputs” (like number of people served) to “social and business outcomes” (like carbon emissions avoided or maintenance cost decreases). As a step forward in 2019, we aligned our citizenship investments to our business strengths, employee expertise and communities where we live and work.

In addition to the KPIs included above, we are working towards cumulative social KPIs including:

  • Investment/funding for programs and in-kind giving across our citizenship focus areas in communities where we operate and serve including Charlotte, NC.
  • Provide 100,000 employee volunteer hours towards our citizenship initiatives.
  • Reach individuals primarily in underserved communities where we live and work through our citizenship and community investments.
  • Future: Measure outcomes in areas like carbon emission avoidance, food loss reduced, home and building maintenance cost reduction, long-term impacts on education.

Our business KPIs include:

  • Higher employee engagement
  • Increase in employee volunteerism centered on citizenship focus areas
  • Increase in brand equity and reputation
  • New and expanded business opportunities for sales teams, dealers and distributors
  • Stronger value chain through tighter stakeholder relationships (customers, suppliers, partners)
  • Higher visibility in areas outside our traditional footprint of collaborative partnership

We look forward to building on our social and business KPIs as we progress towards our 2030 targets.

Governance and Transparency

Our citizenship governance and transparency has been a critical focus in 2019, ensuring that the “Best of Company” approach was applied consistently and that we would be well positioned in our maturity toward outcome-focused metrics.

We implemented the Benevity Foundation Management Software, which has helped us better track and improve transparency of our grant recipients, volunteer hours, employee donations and matching funds and improve communications.

We also evolved the role of the company’s Foundation Council to include citizenship strategy, 2030 commitment setting, and championing grant programs. Further, the Foundation Council reviews all grants awarded over $50,000 twice annually to ensure quality of execution. This update was reflected in a refreshed Foundation Charter and captured in meeting minutes, both available on the company’s website.

Global Contributions 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Volunteer participants 17,044 17,038 13,292 4,765 3,655
Hours volunteered 31,682 30,492 25,252 19,301 19,390
Charitable fundraising $1,007,855 $1,789,290 $7,430,620 $5,519,771 $5,168,408
Value of employee volunteering time during paid working hours $805,673 $752,847 $623,471
In-kind giving* $1,818,909 $253,926 $226,648
Management overheads $150,407 $61,998 $39,419
Ingersoll Rand Foundation donations to community partners $5,455,080 $4,262,499

*Significant jump from 2018 to 2019 due to improved reporting capabilities.

Employee and Community Engagement Data
36% of employees globally participated in community or sustainability initiatives in 2019.

Total philanthropic giving in 2019 including foundation, in-kind and employee fundraising and donations was $8,432,521.

Bold Commitments. Tangible Progress.

Working to Eliminate Energy Poverty

Every night, 18% of the world’s population is left in the dark. Energy poverty — living without access to electricity and clean cooking facilities — is a global challenge with a profound impact on health and well-being. It kills more people each year than malaria and HIV combined and restricts economic mobility for billions of people who are unable to work, cook or study after the sun goes down. 

Leaning into our 2030 Sustainability Goals, we partnered with SolarBuddy in their mission of gifting six million solar lights to children living in energy poverty. More than 1,000 of our employees got involved to donate and help assemble 3,000 lights that will give 1,000 students in Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, India and South Africa more time in their day to study and commute safely to school. Powered by renewable energy, these lights are also going to decrease the use of unsustainable energy sources like kerosene. Working together is how we contribute to making big ideas like SolarBuddy happen.