Johnson Matthey: Aligning strategy with purpose

Last updated: 15th December 2021

The creation and delivery of Johnson Matthey's Science and Me Programme is one way in which CAF helps them to deliver impact in line with their vision for a cleaner and healthier world.

The objectives

As a leader in sustainable technologies, applying cutting-edge science and chemistry to creative solutions, Johnson Matthey strives for a cleaner, healthier world today and for future generations.


Their pioneering spirit and peerless knowledge of complex chemistry have never been more relevant than they are today. With their strong DNA of science and innovation, they are enabling and accelerating the big transitions to decarbonise transport, energy and the process industries.


But Johnson Matthey recognised that their contribution to society should not be limited to their scientific capabilities or the impact of their products. They wanted to extend their impact by investing more strategically in their communities and looked to CAF to make this happen.


Our support

CAF took Johnson Matthey’s desire for greater community impact and challenged their initial thinking, working with them to identify a core objective based on their vision and their needs. This formed the foundation for their global community impact programme.


With science playing a key role in tackling global challenges such as climate change and health pandemics, many more scientists, engineers and technologists are needed in the global workforce. With this in mind, Johnson Matthey’s resulting objective was ‘to improve access to quality science education for all’.


Our research into the social needs surrounding access and quality of science education identified several core barriers: attitudes of young people and influencers, a lack of diversity and social mobility, inspiring teachers and teaching, progressive career pathways and informed careers advice. These issues informed the focus areas for achieving their goal through the programme.


We helped Johnson Matthey design the global flagship programme, Science and Me, using a £1 million fund created as part of their Covid-19 commitments made in 2020. This gives their sites access to funds to run science education projects in their communities with local partners through a grant scheme. And because science inclusion is at the heart of Science and Me, the programme is aimed at empowering diverse learners to positively identify with science and science careers.


With our help, Johnson Matthey launched its Science and Me grantmaking programme in April 2021. With an initial annual budget of £500,000, the grantmaking programme offers grants ranging from £250 to £20,000 to global organisations that work to improve access to quality science education.


The impact

Johnson Matthey has committed to investing at least £1 million every year in community engagement to address the needs of their local communities and fund their flagship programme Science and Me across hundreds of sites around the world.


Their global volunteering programme entitles employees two paid volunteering days a year, aiming to achieve 6,000 days of corporate volunteering a year by 2030. Their match funding programme also doubles the money that staff raise for charity up to £1,000 a year per employee.


Despite the pandemic, Johnson Matthey was able to run its first set of projects online in 2020, connecting with young people. These included volunteer activities in which colleagues connected with students through online chat forums to answer their science questions and developed science activity packs for disadvantaged children to use at home.


They also provided mentoring and skills and careers talks for young people around the world. Throughout the year, over 200 employees took part in their online activities and they reached more than 1,500 students. They will continue to run virtual events to supplement face-to-face activities, as they’ve proved highly effective.


Johnson Matthey’s Virtual Work Experience Week won them Best Online External Event Award at the 2020 Covid Comms Awards. During the week, more than 100 UK students worked online, completing team and individual activities set and run by more than 45 employees, including their Chief Executive.


Still in its early stages, the grant programme is yet to realise its long-term impact, but will aim to see £500,000 in its first year alone being put towards key community projects improving access to science education. So far ten grants have been awarded, with several more in the decision stage.


Project takeaways


Aligning strategy with purpose

We were able to guide Johnson Matthey to bring their community impact programme in line with their corporate offering of striving for a cleaner and healthier world. Encouraging strategic thinking and a robust approach to their giving not only benefits the students they work with, but adds value to the scientific community by providing a more diverse and wider workforce.


Providing constructive challenge

As an independent, experienced partner with a strong commitment to community impact, CAF is able to challenge assumptions of the best course of action. We were able to push Johnson Matthey further at every step of the way to challenge their ideas, expand their offering and maximise their impact.


Read the full case study


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