COMPANIES can themselves affect customers and consumer behaviour by offering them more responsible products and services. Members of the Business Leaders Forum and other companies are making an effort to incorporate the principles of corporate responsibility into their everyday workings. They showed some of their outcomes at the Market of Solutions event which was part of the annual conference on corporate responsibility in Bratislava on May 22 organised by the Pontis Foundation. Visitors, apart from trying some of the solutions on site, could vote for the best solution.

Out of the solutions presented by about 20 companies, environmental projects of the carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia, the Land of Saviours supported by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Sustainable Household solution of the furniture producer and seller IKEA, collected the most votes.
The biggest and oldest carmaker in Slovakia, Volkswagen Slovakia, launched the new environmental strategy Think Blue in 2010. Its aim is to reduce the company’s water and electricity consumption, CO2 footprint and waste by 25 percent by 2018. At the market it offered, among other things, test drives of its electric car, the Volkswagen e-up!

The Land of Saviours is a project aiming to teach everyone, regardless of age or education, to give first aid and increase the share of Slovaks able to perform first aid. At present, just 5 percent are capable. Within this project, those interested can attend a free online first aid course. After passing an exam at its end, they receive a certificate of the Land of Saviours which allows its holder to attend a cheaper and shorter practical first aid training.

IKEA presented its Sustainable Household solution, wherein it offers LED bulbs and other energy efficient and sustainable products. By purchasing LED bulbs from the IKEA design, a household can save approximately €7 on its electricity bill annually, the company says. Apart from this, as IKEA follows its own way of operation through the whole value chain, it can have a positive influence in the very phase of this chain, starting often in the process of acquiring the raw materials and ending in the final product.

Several other solutions were presented at the market. Out of those focusing on reducing energy consumption were solutions by Dalkia, Embraco, Slovenské Elektrárne and ZSE. Citi and Provident prepared finance-focused solutions, with the latter preparing a mobile application for family budget management aimed at the unemployed, retirees and youth from children’s homes. Some other solutions focused on healthy food products and sustainable food production. Beer producer Heineken presented its education programme Enjoy Responsibly pointing to the risk of excessive alcohol consumption. There were also solutions for waste reduction via the production of new designer products from waste as well as tracking illegal waste dumps. Some solutions focused on cooperation between businesses and schools, helping disabled people with higher education to establish themselves in the labour market and concentration of products helping the elderly on one website. Apart from VW’s electric cars, GreenWay Operator also presented its electric cars with replaceable batteries.