Social Commitment

The commitment to social issues is deeply rooted in the values of Migros – fully in the spirit of its founder Gottlieb Duttweiler. In the service of society, Migros Culture Percentage has invested a total of CHF 3.8 billion in culture and education since 1957. And with its Aid Fund, Migros has supported sustainable projects around the world for more than thirty years.

Migros Culture Percentage – a unique commitment

The biggest social commitment of Migros is its Migros Culture Percentage; in 2011 it invested some CHF 117 million. The idea goes back to Migros founder Gottlieb Duttweiler. The important visionary introduced this unique commitment of Migros to make culture and education also accessible to social strata with less purchasing power for their personal and professional development.

Specified for the first time in the new contract between the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (FMC) and its member cooperatives, in 1957 Migros Culture Percentage is defined in the charter as a business purpose on an equal footing as the provision of affordable goods and services. The FMC and the ten Migros cooperatives undertake to make an annual contribution, which is calculated on the basis of their sales and is also paid in the event of a decline in retail business. Since the establishment of Migros Culture Percentage, Migros has invested more than CHF 3.8 billion in the values and activities of its five areas of activity – in culture, society, education, leisure and business. The permanent institutions of Migros Culture Percentage include the Migros Club School, the Eurocentres, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI) in Rüschlikon, the L‘arc in Romainmôtier, the four Parks im Grünen, the Monte-Generoso railway in Ticino and the migros museum für gegenwartskunst in Zurich.

The cultural and social projects of Migros Culture Percentage appeal to many social groups. A central aim is to grant people in the area of tension between tradition and innovation access to the current artistic forms of expression and to enable them to participate in the social, economic and cultural changes in society. The activities of Migros Culture Percentage are designed and implemented both at national level (by the FMC) and regionally (by the cooperatives). This «federal» structure of Migros Culture Percentage guarantees a broad regional and cultural foundation with a strong national presence. In addition to the implementation of its own projects, Migros Culture Percentage supports cultural and social projects, it takes targeted promotion measures for the direct benefit of the public and is committed to young artists.

Since its inception, «education for all» has been one of the key tasks of Migros Culture Percentage. As such, it makes an essential contribution to the promotion of personal and professional development in Switzerland. Migros Culture Percentage invests about half of its budget in education and is, along with the Migros Club School and the international language schools of the Eurocentres, one of the leading providers of adult education.

Migros Aid Fund: reaching out across frontiers

Be it a workshop for carpentry apprentices in Brazil, a centre of excellent for goat-breeding in Bergell, electricity for villagers in Madagascar, flood protection in the Graubünden Oberland, medical care for mothers in Tanzania ... the Migros Aid Fund is helping people all over the world to help themselves. Since 1979, the Migros Aid Fund has supported social and ecological projects in Switzerland and abroad, to which end it has a budget of CHF 1 million. A total of more than CHF 30 million has been distributed to date. Migros supports people in need on a sustainable basis.

On the occasion of its foundation, 69% of cooperative members voted in a Migros strike ballot for the Aid Fund, which was to be expressly not financed by Migros Culture Percentage. The organisation has remained unchanged ever since: seven delegates consider the projects submitted by recognised aid organisations. The projects selected are usually granted allowances between CHF 40'000 and CHF 100'000 as start-up financing.

Already the very first project supported by the Aid Fund was located far away from Switzerland: an initiative to promote women in Cameroon. Local animators were trained to give women in rural environments advice on hygiene and nutrition that is crucial for survival. As such, the funds of the Migros Aid Fund have acted as active and sustainable support for people in need for more than three decades. This commitment is also pursued fully in the spirit of Migros founder Gottlieb Duttweiler.