IN MID APRIL the Pontis Foundation handed out the 14th annual awards for companies doing businesses in a responsible way. The ceremony took place on April 10 in Bratislava while it had the form of a theatrical performance featuring also a Down-syndrome affected actor. The jury selected winners from among 52 nominations.
“What we are trying to achieve by awards in Slovakia is often a matter of course in developed countries,” Pavel Hrica of the Pontis Foundation said, as cited in the press release. “We want to set this norm also in Slovakia, and companies already feel such expectations from their surroundings.”
There were seven categories in the 2013 Via Bona Slovakia Awards, reflecting the continuing development of corporate responsibility and corporate philanthropy in Slovakia. This year a new category, the prize of the public, about which people voting online via the website of the Hospodárske Noviny economic daily, was added.

Main awards:
-Main Award for a Responsible Large Corporation, for a non-discriminatory and non-corrupt approach to business based on equality of chances, many volunteering activities and cooperation with schools in the region went to Slovenské Elektrárne (SE). The major electricity producer has been implementing its CSR programme Energy for the Country since 2008. The programme covers five CSR areas (philanthropy, protection of the environment, education, culture and sport) and complements the everyday business operations.

-Main Award for a Responsible Small or Medium-Sized Enterprise went to the Rock, the publishing house of The Slovak Spectator weekly for its activities helping young journalists and students of journalism to be better prepared for performance of their profession in real life.

The Public’s Award
The public, by voting via the internet, sent the public award to Villa Green, a green pension and one of the most ecological accommodation facilities in Slovakia. Villa Green is a result of reconstruction of unused and dilapidated building in the centre of the spa town of Sliač. The pension itself produces almost 50 percent of its electricity consumption. There are several ecological solutions helping the pension reduce its general energy consumption and its environmental impact.

Other awards:
The Award for Excellent Employer went to the crude oil refinery Slovnaft for its kindergarten and a day care centre for babies, Slovnafťáčik. In efforts to help women return to work after maternity leave, Slovnaft reconstructed unused premises of a school and launched here a kindergarten and a day care centre for children of company employees and families living in the vicinity of the refinery.
The Fair Player on the Market Award went to the website Edujobs.sk, which tries to link public schools with the best applicants for jobs in the education sector free of charge. The Edujobs.sk is the project of the biggest job portal Profesia.sk.

The jury awarded the Green Award for 2013 to IKEA Bratislava, which has replaced wooden palettes used for transportation and storing of goods with paper ones. The recyclable palettes are more environmentally friendly and thanks to this change the number of trucks transporting products of IKEA decreased by 200 since last year. This has led to reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Pfizer Luxembourg was chosen as the Good Community Partner Award for its project the Land of Saviours. This is the first corporate project whose goal is to teach the general public how to provide effective first aid.
Poisťovňa Slovenskej Sporiteľne received the Supporter of Volunteering Award for its project Better Life. Employees of the insurance company help children, youth and women who have found themselves in an unfavourable life situation. They provide them financial education to save money so they can start an independent life.
The jury also granted an honourable mention in this category to Hewlett–Packard Slovakia for its project where employees spend time with residents of the senior citizen home in Rača.

Compiled by Spectator staff based on information from the Pontis Foundation