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CSR helps regions and communities

The Slovak Spectator: How can large companies contribute to regional development as part of CSR? Does your company develop its own activities, or bring in models from its parent company? How do these two approaches work in your company?David J. Rintoul, President of U. S. Steel Košice (USSK): I am sure that we demonstrate through our everyday activities that we have a responsible approach to our business, our employees and partners, to the environment and the community. Though in all U. S. Steel plants we acknowledge the same corporate values, the needs of the communities we work and live in are different, so we develop our own activities here in Slovakia in line with our experience and knowledge of local challenges. Just a few days ago we extended our support to eleven non-profit organisations within our sixth USSK Volunteer Days.

The Slovak Spectator: How can large companies contribute to regional development as part of CSR? Does your company develop its own activities, or bring in models from its parent company? How do these two approaches work in your company?
David J. Rintoul, President of U. S. Steel Košice (USSK):
I am sure that we demonstrate through our everyday activities that we have a responsible approach to our business, our employees and partners, to the environment and the community. Though in all U. S. Steel plants we acknowledge the same corporate values, the needs of the communities we work and live in are different, so we develop our own activities here in Slovakia in line with our experience and knowledge of local challenges. Just a few days ago we extended our support to eleven non-profit organisations within our sixth USSK Volunteer Days.

Marta Krejcarová, Slovenská Sporiteľňa: The size of the company does not play any role in this case. It is a matter of the attitude of the company as well as its employees. Our bank creates space for volunteering activities by our employees and we are glad that interest in these is growing. Within CSR activities we are tailoring our activities based on the needs of local communities. We do not take any model from our parent company; rather, we implement group projects which have a positive impact on the markets in which we operate. In the case of Slovenská Sporiteľňa these are projects focused on financial education, in particular.

Alena Walterová, VÚB Banka: Large companies have big influence on their environment and thus they should behave responsibly. In the given region they employ people and purchase goods from suppliers, who are often local companies. Apart from the economic influence they can considerably affect also the environment. Even though VÚB is not a significant direct polluter, it can affect the environment via provision of loans. This is why VÚB does not provide loans for risky activities. On the contrary, it supports green energy projects focused on obtaining energy from renewable resources and energy saving. We have a team of experts providing assistance to clients during the preparation and realisation of such projects and in this way contributing to environmental protection.

The strategic focus of our activities is similar to those developed by our parent company, but we adjust them to the Slovak context.

Andrej Gargulák, Slovak Telekom: The CSR principles of our parent company provide only the basic philosophical framework, and the individual activities which Slovak Telekom realises respect the regional needs of the community and are primarily focused on Slovakia. We direct support especially to areas where we can help in a complex way, not only by financial contributions but also by the services which we offer, our know-how, and volunteering. For example we work on internet children protection mechanisms, creation of special products and services for the hearing-impaired community or offer helplines that we operate free of charge. We have been supporting the Dom na Polceste facility in Veľký Slavkov, in which adult boys from foster homes can cut loose. Via corporate volunteering we support restoration of the High Tatras areas devastated by the 2004 windstorm, blood donations, run the Heads Help programme and participate in the Naše mesto (Our City) corporate volunteering event.

Peter Tóth, Orange Slovensko: Orange Slovensko, as a leader in CSR, has been carrying out several activities to support environmental protection, improvement of our surroundings and development of the regions for a long time. It has been doing this via its foundation, Nadácia Orange, or directly, for example via motivating our clients to ecological behaviour and nature protection. Orange Slovensko has been carrying out its CSR activities independently, but in line with the global goals of its parent company France Telecom – Orange. Our experiences are very positive and interest in activities in these areas is high, demonstrated by the increase in projects submitted within the grant programme Chance for Our Region.

Martina Jamrichová, Telefónica Slovakia: Corporate responsibility and community support should be one of the fields of interest for each big or important company. This is because, apart from building a positive attitude to its brand, the firm can achieve development of the environment in which it operates. It can support citizens living in it and increase the quality of their lives or their purchasing power, which can have subsequent impacts on the firm’s operations. Thanks to CSR activities a company can boost people’s engagement or strengthen social relations, from which it can benefit over the long term.

Based on surveys, 30 percent of young Europeans aged of 15 to 24 lack education, are jobless, do not have any life goals and lack the motivation to achieve something. Thus the Telefónica group decided to create, in all European countries in which its members operate under the O2 brand, a programme that believes in young people and their abilities. It supports active and strong projects.

In Slovakia, O2 carries out, in cooperation with the Ekopolis Foundation and the Foundation for Children of Slovakia, a grant programme, Think Big, via which 98 projects have already been supported in Slovakia with a total of €166,000. In this way young people get a chance to improve the environment in which they live.

Marek Gešo, Accenture: For more than 50 years, our success has been based on the principles of corporate social responsibility. They are critical for our company’s success because they build trust and transparency. Trust and transparency, in turn, build the right environment for our people, our clients, our suppliers, our stakeholders and the communities in which we work.

Our corporate citizenship programmes operate globally and locally – focusing on our overarching corporate citizenship theme “Skills to Succeed”, which builds skills that enable people around the world to participate in and contribute to the economy and society. By 2015, Skills to Succeed initiatives will equip 250,000 people around the world with the skills to get a job or build a business. Our local adaption has been recognised at the Via Bona Awards for the courage to support an innovative theme – reintegration of prisoners.

We also strive to minimise any harmful effects on the environment caused by our activities and to achieve continual improvement in our environmental performance. We were included on the Global 500 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index and named as a leader in the information technology sector.

Andrea Danihelová, Východoslovenská Energetika: Long-term sustainable growth and related employment and investment are key questions for our company. Our activities have an economic, social and environmental character focusing on improvement of life in the community and dialogue with stakeholders. We are part of the RWE international concern, which brings us many benefits. We have taken over from the parent company projects which have made processes in our company more effective and optimal. Simultaneously, we take into consideration the needs and specific features of our region; these are mirrored in all our company’s processes, and we also adapt our activities to them. We have managed to implement new programmes improving effectiveness and transparency, for example the ombudsman system or electronic auctions. We aim to provide information on energy efficiency via various communication channels to individual groups of clients. Environmental questions are sheltered within the Green Future concept, which includes the projects E-mobility, birdlife protection and education.

Jana Bolibruchová, Stredoslovenská Energetika: Social responsibility is one of the basic topics addressed by Stredoslovenská Energetika (SSE). If we act responsibly as a company, this means that we behave responsibly and with respect towards employees, the region and environment.

Under the slogan “SSE – Energy which Helps” we have been carrying out a volunteer activities programme in the region in which we operate. During 2011 we volunteered at Šášov Castle, the animal rescue centre in Ružomberok, and a sports club in Dolný Kubín. We carry out all these activities in the form of teambuilding. SSE, as one of the top partners, also participates in organising Naša Žilina, a corporate volunteering event to make the city nicer and better for its inhabitants.

SSE has mostly develops its own initiatives, but some activities are carried out in cooperation with its parent company. All initiatives are in line with permanent sustainable development and thus with the values of the parent company.

Peter Bednár of SPP: We at SPP use exclusively CSR programmes developed on the basis of knowledge of local needs. SPP for the Future represents an integrated concept and the foundations Nadácia SPP and EkoFond contribute significantly to its fulfilment.

Our regional activities have a wide span, from restoration of national cultural monuments, via increasing energy effectiveness, nature protection and education, to various philanthropic and public-benefiting activities focused on specific regions and communities. When selecting projects to be supported we place stress, apart from transparency, also on relevancy for the given community. Within our newest programme, SPPoločne, the public will select which programmes will get money. The several prizes we have received for our activities prove the success of our activities.

Branislav Kohl, IBM: IBM has been dealing with the topic of CSR for more than one hundred years. By interconnecting IBM technologies with expertise of non-profit partners we create programmes which help to solve topical societal needs of communities around the world. Via innovative technologies we endeavour to minimise impact on the environment and develop solutions which help our clients to make their own operations more effective.

All our activities stem from a set of global values which define the borders of ethics in all decisions and activities. CSR, apart from a good feeling from effective, long-term and targeted help to communities, brings us many economic benefits. It enables to increase the value of the company for shareholders, helps to obtain and keep the best employees or reduce costs. Our results in CSR are often a decisive factor when obtaining new clients and help us to enter new markets.

When implementing individual programmes we prefer to help by employing our own solutions, and transferring our know-how and experiences, to providing finances, while we support employees to actively join in the lives of local communities. IBM has one global CSR strategy which is implemented with respect to local particularities in more than 170 countries.

Topic: Corporate Responsibility


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