AS supporters go, INEOS is in a league of its own.
But that’s not INEOS’ verdict; it’s the word on the ground where INEOS does so much to help develop a healthy interest in sport, particularly among the young.
And it’s in any sport. Ice hockey. Football. Rugby. Running. And, seemingly, in every country where it does business. The US, the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and Belgium.
“INEOS revolutionised our club,” said Sacha Weibel, Chief Executive Officer of Lausanne Hockey Club. “We are now in the first division and one of the top 10 teams in the country.”
INEOS approached the club in 2010 – the year it uprooted 80 families and moved its headquarters from the UK to Rolle in Switzerland.
“They wanted to be a part of the community, which was wonderful,” said Sacha. “We wish more people thought like that.”
But it wasn’t just financial support on offer.
“INEOS wanted to be totally involved,” said Sacha.
That meant regularly attending matches at the 8,000-seater stadium – and staging their own friendlies before the club’s official games.
Are they any good?
“No, they are terrible,” he said with a smile. “But it is to be expected. Kids here skate as soon as they can walk.”
Ice hockey is the biggest spectator sport in Switzerland and one of the most difficult sports to master. You not only need to be able to skate well, which takes skill, but competitors also need to be able to run, shoot, pass and block shots at high speed.
INEOS may not cut it on the ice, but off it, the company’s support has proved invaluable.
“It really helped us to transform the whole company,” said Sacha.
Over the past four years the club has enjoyed a spectacular comeback and now competes in the top tier of Swiss hockey. And season after season, it gets better.
“It really is inspirational working with INEOS,” said Sacha. “Their way of working rubs off on us all.”
Of course, that’s not all.
As a company, it also produces the raw, building block chemicals that can be found in hockey helmets, sticks and keep ice rinks cold.
INEOS is also a big supporter of sports clubs where its own staff – or employees’ children – spend their spare time, training, coaching or playing.
“We are always proud of our employees who actively get involved in clubs to help other people,” said Dr Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua, head of the communications department at INEOS Koln.
In January the site teamed up with one of Germany’s biggest athletic clubs.
Part of its work with ASV Cologne will be to organise the GO Run For Fun events in June.
The INEOS-inspired GO Run For Fun is now a global running campaign. Over 1,000 schools across the UK, mainland Europe and the US have hosted a 2km fun run thanks to INEOS’ initial investment of £1.5 million (€1.9m, $2.5m).
And that work – to instil a healthy approach to exercise and nutrition – goes on.
Anne-Gret said INEOS financially supported countless sports clubs for children close to the Koln site.
“INEOS likes to support those with a desire to lend a hand in the community,” she said.
One who is out there in all weathers is Bill Faulds, who manages the Under 16s Falkirk rugby team in Scotland, UK.
The Infrastructure Technical Manager at INEOS’ Grangemouth site has been involved with the club since he was a student in 1985 and spends up to three nights a week coaching the youngsters.
“It is so rewarding to see children develop their skills and confidence,” he said. “And INEOS has been very supportive with an annual grant, which matched my time. Their support meant we could buy training gear.”
INEOS will always find ways to support those who champion sport and understand how important it is to the development of young people.
Or as former US president John F Kennedy put it: ‘Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.’