In April 2022, The Slovak Spectator published its Business Focus on corporate social responsibility. Here is your overview of stories from the focus issue:
War in Ukraine prompts companies to ramp up their volunteering efforts
Katarína Palečková came to the border with Ukraine through the initiative of Debora, a refuge for mothers with children in Banská Bystrica, where her mother works.
“I was part of the team working in the customs area, a first contact point for the refugees,” Palečková, an external communication specialist at Danone, described for The Slovak Spectator.
To be able to help at the Ukrainian border, Palečková was given three days of paid leave from her employer. Several other companies active in Slovakia have taken a similar approach. They support volunteers who help nongovernmental organisations or join projects of aid to refugees.
Slovaks volunteer from the heart
Slovakia has experienced two unprecedented waves of solidarity and altruistic help in recent times. The first one was raised by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the second one by the inflow of Ukrainians fleeing the war in their home country. Whether such numbers of volunteers in Slovakia continue in the future will depend on the motivation of first-time volunteers as well as their experience while volunteering, said Zuzana Vinklerová, executive director of CARDO, the National Volunteering Centre.
Parents were at the greatest risk during the pandemic
The new approach to home office triggered by Covid has been welcomed as bringing undeniable advantages. But two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, businesses and labour market experts recognise and discuss its drawbacks, too. One drawback is pressure on mental health for those who have spent extended periods of time alone in their homes, as well as those with children struggling to maintain a work-life balance.
Mental health and domestic violence, another phenomenon that experts say has worsened during the pandemic, dominated this year’s applications for the Via Bona award in the Outstanding Employer category. In their applications for the prestigious national prize, handed out by the Pontis Foundation to responsible and fair businesses, companies also addressed employment of people from marginalised communities.
Waste has turned into something valuable worth a second life
Throwing a device that reaches its lifespan into a waste bin is no longer the best option given the depletion of raw material deposits. Instead, they are refurbished for further service or are a source of precious materials for further production. This year’s applications for the Via Bona award in the Green Company category, handed out by the Pontis Foundation, featured several ideas on how to do this in the most effective way.
A firm builds an army of digitally savvy Slovaks using a BBC product
Slovak Telekom launched its Enter programme in 2020, when it approached YouTuber GoGo to sell the idea of digital skills. The Enter project is said to be one of the most comprehensive and largest initiatives in the field of digital education carried out by a company in Slovakia, and much needed.
The micro:bit, designed by the BBC in 2016 to enhance computer education in Great Britain, is a small computer that introduces children to coding in an easy and fun way. Not only has it introduced children to digital skills needed in the market, but it has also motivated teachers to upgrade their IT skills.
What it takes for a brand to be loved and lovable
Have you ever thrown out a Lego set? Most likely not. In fact, the Danish-born and world-famous blocks tend to be passed down to siblings and cousins instead of ending up in landfills.
“The blocks fit one another, so you can still play with the set owned by your grandfather and combine it with new blocks,” said Adriana Jahňáková, general manager of Lego Czech Republic and Slovakia.
This is one reason why Lego is what marketers now describe as a love brand: a brand that exerts such strong attraction on consumers that it is not only preferred over other brands, but is even loved.