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8 Review | April 15 - 21, 2013Transparency slowlyemerges on local CSR market∫ ANDA SEBES...
CSR Review | April 15 - 21, 2013ing social enterprises that proved theirworth with financia...
10 Review | April 15 - 21, 2013won’t for the next three-five years inRomania.WhiletheEuro...
Interviu CSR Business Review 15 aprilie 2013
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Interviu CSR Business Review 15 aprilie 2013


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Interviu CSR Business Review 15 aprilie 2013

  1. 1. 8 Review | April 15 - 21, 2013Transparency slowlyemerges on local CSR market∫ ANDA SEBESILong-term programs with a significantimpact on communities and the envi-ronmenthavereplacedtemporaryoneswithshort-termresults.Educationinallits forms, the environment and the so-cial economy are some of the areas ofinterest for many large companies inRomania. But what do the figures sayabout the investments made in thisfield on the local market?Companies have invested EUR 28.5millions in CSR projects in Romania inthe past two years, of which over 50percent was spent in 2011, according toa study conducted by CSRmedia.robased on public statements, interviews,CSR reports, press releases and othercommunications from companies be-tweenJanuary2011andDecember2012.The research also found that the major-ity of CSR investments in 2011 weremade by companies in the oil, telecom-munications and banking industries.Dragos Tuta, managing partner atThe CSR Agency, a management con-sultancy company specialized in CSRandsustainability,saysthatatpresentitis mainly multinational companies op-erating on the local market that followtheprinciplesofsustainabilitywhende-signing their CSR strategies. “They do iteither at the recommendation of thegroup’srepresentativesorbecausetheyhave a very determined and ambitiousCSR coordinator,” says Tuta. In hisopinion,theonlyemployeethatcande-termine a company’s degree of “re-sponsibility” to its stakeholders is thegeneral manager. “Without a deter-mined and well trained CEO in the fieldof sustainability, we can’t talk about aninvolved management team, clear re-sults and objectives for a CSR coordina-tor or strategic priorities and efficientprojects. As a result, an involved CEO istheminimumconditionforresponsibil-ity in an organization,” adds the con-sultant.Social economy gains groundWhileinothercountriessocialenter-prisesplayasignificantroleintheecon-omy, Romania is still far from being aflag-bearer for the social economy. Butthere is great potential for the future asthelegalframeworkthatregulatestheseconcepts is becoming clearer. This po-tential has started to be capitalizedupon by several companies that havedecidedtoinvestindedicatedCSRproj-ects.Forexample,attheendofJanuaryPetrominpartnershipwithNESstFoun-dation launched the Fabricat in Tara luiAndrei competition, which aims to de-velopsocialbusinessesinlocalcommu-nities in Romania. In March, a juryselected 20 finalists from 512 applicants,with the companies who got the noddrawn from agriculture, the textile in-dustry, education, wood-processing,vulneraryherbs,food,constructionma-terials, manufacturing and furniture.The 20 finalists will be provided withconsultancytohelptransformtheirideainto a business plan and will receiveEUR 1,500 to conduct local research intheir communities. By the end of thisyear, the 10 program winners will re-ceive a total grant of EUR 350,000 tostart their social businesses with helpfrom Fabricat in Tara lui Andrei expertsin fields such as financial management,legal,marketinganddistribution.“Fab-ricat in Tara lui Andrei has two majorobjectives:tocreatejobsandamelioratesome social problems facing Romaniancommunities,” says Mona Nicolici,manager of community relations atPetrom. “We designed this project as acomplex competition that, first, edu-cates participants in the spirit of socialentrepreneurship and, second, offersthem financing to start a sustainablebusiness. I think that social businessescanintimebecomearecipetosolvetheproblems of Romanian society.”Elsewhere, UniCredit Tiriac Bankhasalsodecidedtosupportsocialecon-omy projects. Last year the lender,along with NESsT Foundation, gave fi-nancial support to four projects se-lected through the Your Choice, YourProject competition. It provided exist-The Romanian corporate social responsibility (CSR) scene has changed steadily over the past few years, makingsignificant strides toward maturity. Companies have started to take a more strategic approach to CSR projects,with social economy programs and other long-term schemes coming to the fore.Green planet: the environment has become a staple of local firms’ CSR efforts
  2. 2. CSR Review | April 15 - 21, 2013ing social enterprises that proved theirworth with financial support for ex-tending or consolidating their activity.The winners received EUR 7,500 eachwhile UniCredit’s employees voted forone of them to receive an additionalaward of EUR 2,000. “During this diffi-cult time, social entrepreneurship is anefficient solution through which wecan intervene in areas that need sup-port, involving the targeted beneficiar-iesdirectly,”saysAncaNuta,directorofidentity and communication at Uni-CreditTiriacBank.“Itisanexcellentex-ample of using business tools togenerate social effects and contributeto the development of the communitywe are part of. Although social enter-prises are new in Romania, UniCreditFoundation has been developing proj-ects since 2007.”Companies and NGOs joinhandsCurrently,manycompaniesonthelocalmarket are working in partnership withNGOstodevelopenvironmental,health,educational and cultural projects forlocal communities. Meanwhile, localcommunities, through NGOs, haveadopted new forms of fundraising tosupport local development. This is be-cause the Romanian state has been un-able to finance NGOs’ projects, whilethe number of social problems has in-creased significantly. “A partnershipbetween a company and an NGO is theresult of a natural step in the develop-ment of the community and CSR proj-ects initiated by companies. Throughsuch partnerships, NGOs help commu-nities that cannot support themselves,while companies develop sustainableCSR projects through ongoing andlong-term sponsorship programs,” sayrepresentatives of Vodafone Romania.Over time, the company has workedwith many NGOs, supporting emer-gency services such as Salvamont(since 2004), SMURD (since 2005) andSalvamar (since 2007). The VodafoneFoundation has also supported variousNGOs in fields including health, educa-tion and the prevention of family aban-donment since it was set up, back in1998.Volunteering is the key tosuccessCompanies across a range of industrieshave started to engage their employeesin various stages of their CSR projects,with Raiffeisen Bank and BRD-GroupeSociete Generale two such examplesfrom the banking industry. “The proj-ectswesupportwouldnothavebeenassuccessful without Raiffeisen Bank’svolunteers.Ourcolleagues’supportandinvolvement in our projects and theirexpertise in different fields of activityhavehelpedustoincreasetheimpactofour contribution to the community,”say representatives of the lender,adding that the number of employeesinvolved in volunteering has increasedfrom one year to the next. “Over 200RaiffeisenBankemployeesparticipatedinvolunteeringactivityandspentanav-erage of one working day on commu-nityprogramsin2012–threetimesmorethan the previous year.” United Wayand financial education programs arethe most popular among the lender’sstaff.Involving your employees in yourCSR programs has an even greater im-pact. According to Raiffeisen Bank data,volunteering has helped employees toimprove their personal, managementand work efficiency and had a signifi-cant individual impact. For example itincreased widely workers’ ability tosolve problems (20 percent) and com-municate(40percent),andimprovedtosome degree their negotiation skills (28percent), decision-making (58 percent),leadership abilities (43 percent), atten-tion to the company’s objectives (48percent)andattentiontocustomers(38percent).Companies reap benefits ofsustainability reportsSo far, several companies publish theirsustainability reports on the local mar-ket, including Coca-Cola HBC Romania,Heineken, GlaxoSmithKline and Raif-feisen Bank. Publishing a CSR reportshould be a crucial step for the stake-holders of all companies. But Tuta ofTheCSRAgencysaysthatthelocalmar-ketisdifferent.“Nooneaskscompaniesfor a CSR report and in my opinion they
  3. 3. 10 Review | April 15 - 21, 2013won’t for the next three-five years inRomania.WhiletheEuropeanCommis-sion will ask for this reporting to becompulsory, this will not change the socalled ‘state of the nation’,” says Tuta.Inhisopinionthemainbenefitofre-porting is an internal one. “Companieslearn to measure the impact and iden-tify much more easily the strategic di-rections they need to take. In the firsttwoyearsofreportingthenon-financialresults, every company makes an efforttolearn,adaptandunderstandboththetechnicalissuesandsustainabilityprin-ciples,”addsTuta.Theconsultantnotesthat it is compulsory to use reportingguidessuchastheGlobalReportingIni-tiative (GRI) or Global Impact becauseonly with a precise set of indicators andclearreportingprinciplescanyoumeas-ure and see the impact every year.Laura Sgarcitu, CSR coordinator atCoca-Cola HBC Romania, says thatmore and more companies have got in-volved in CSR activities in the past fewyears, and a more strategic approach inthis field has emerged. “Companies arepresenting evidence of more planningand vision in their involvement in CSRprojects. That’s why I think that thenext natural step will be to start report-ing these activities,” says Sgarcitu.Coca-Cola HBC Romania, for exam-ple, launched its first country sustain-ability report last year. It is also the firstsuch report in the FMCG industry thatmeets the international regulations inthe field (GRI). The GRI reporting stan-dard is a system based on indices,which enables the company to seeprogressfromoneyeartoanother.“Thesustainability report helps us to evalu-ate better our local actions and get pre-ciseandrelevantresultsforourareasofinterest. It is also proof of transparencyand commitment to the community.Through it we can inform all of ourstakeholders about the projects withwhich we intend to amend things: toprotect sources of water, increase therecyclingrate,supportthedevelopmentof communities or encourage a bal-anced lifestyle,” says Sgarcitu.Another company that has pub-lished its sustainability report isHeineken Romania. The brewerlaunched its first issue back in 2010 andits objective is to track the progress thecompany has made against its BrewingaBetterFutureAgenda.“BrewingaBet-ter Future represents our long-termglobal ambition to become the world’sgreenest brewer by 2020,” says OnnoRombouts, managing director atHeineken Romania. “We have imple-mented this sustainability strategy inRomania and we have added local am-bitions and programs to it. Our annualsustainability report measures our on-going evolution against the targets setboth at global and local level, and out-linesourplansineachofthethreemainareas of the sustainability agenda: theenvironment, society and the commu-nities where we operate.”In his opinion, companies that al-readypublishtheirsustainabilityreportswith clear and relevant informationprove their transparency and respect totheir external stakeholders. “The factthat companies in Romania have al-ready started to publish sustainabilityreports sets a standard that will be fol-lowed by the companies that start pub-lishing their own sustainability report.Infact,theareaofsustainabilitywillbe-come more and more competitive andthiswillgenerateprogress,”predictsthemanaging director.A sustainability report is the best ar-gument to show how CSR is part of acompany’s business strategy and inte-grated in its sustainable developmentplan. “In this context I would say thatsustainability reporting is a sign of thematurity of the Romanian CSR marketand of the responsibility of the wholelocal business market,” adds the repre-sentative of Coca-Cola HBC.HR in CSRTuta of The CSR Agency says that thereare three major challenges in the train-ing of CSR specialists on the local mar-ket: the lack of success models andvaluable debate about this field, lack ofeducationandexperienceinthefieldofmanagement and specialized know-how.“ThosewhogetonworkinginCSRdo so accidentally,” says Tuta, of thestate of the local market. In order tocounteractthissituationandtosupportthe development of the market, TheCSR Agency has initiated two projectsaspartoftheCSRThinkTank(theCom-munity of CSR Coordinators in Roma-nia): CSR Juniors and CSR Debates.WhileCSRJuniorseekstoprovidetrain-ing, practice and professional supportfor youngsters who want to start a ca-reer in this field, CSR Debate intends tocreate themed debates between theCSR coordinators of the largest compa-niesinRomania.“Lastbutnotleast,theinternet is full of articles, books andcourses about CSR and sustainability.The problem comes just from the hugeamount of information, lack of organi-zationswithauthorityandmanywrongapproaches in the field, which appearreasoned in detail and sometimes evencredible on the internet,” adds Tuta.Environment and educationlead the wayMany companies are focusing on envi-ronmental and education projects asthese seem to be among Romaniansociety’s top priorities. CarpatcementHolding’s CSR strategy consists ofseveral main areas of action: involve-ment in the local communities wherethe company operates (education,environment, infrastructure), the envi-ronment, ensuring a proper work envi-ronment, promoting human rights,permanent improvement of work,health and safety conditions for its em-ployees and ensuring freedom of asso-ciation and collective negotiation.“Quarry Life Award was one of themost important environmental proj-ects developed by Carpatcement in2012. It was a scientific and educationalcompetition developed at interna-tional level that sought to discover newideas about the preservation and pro-motion of biodiversity. The project willalso continue this year too,” saysBogdan Arnautu, communicationmanager at Carpatcement. He addsthat another area of sustainabledevelopment for the company isusing alternative fuels in the cementmanufacturing process. “Carpatce-ment was the first cement producer inRomania that used alternative fuels inits plant in Deva, back in 2004,” addsArnautu.Apa Nova Bucuresti is another com-pany that has the environment as a pri-ority in its CSR strategy, because it isthe subsidiary of Veolia Eau in Roma-nia, the water division of Veolia Envi-ronment group. “The group isremarkable in the fields of sustainabledevelopment and environmental serv-ices. On top of that, we work with aprecious natural resource, essential forall forms of life, which is more affectedby the impact of human activities onthe environment,” says Oana Ersova-Ranetti, public relations specialist atApa Nova Bucuresti – Veolia Apa. Thecompany’s environmental projects in-clude: Veolia Park in Tulcea (EUR30,000); populating the Danube Deltawith sturgeons (EUR 10,000); the re-pair of the Sfantu Gheorghe watertreatment plant and addition of a newchlorination station (EUR 30,000); therepair of the bulrush netting workshopin Mahmudia (EUR 10,000); forestationcampaigns conducted individually andin partnership with Viitor Plus Associ-ation (EUR 15.000); supporting thecampaign, Saving the Curly Pelican inthe Danube Delta (EUR 10,000); Reci-clonada (collecting all types of recycla-ble waste); and the Recicleaza PentruCopaci internal project in partnershipwith Viitor Plus Association. “Environ-mental issues in Romania are ex-tremely pressing. It is no different fromEurope or worldwide, but Romanianeeds to mobilize more to protect it ina concrete manner with tangible re-sults in this field,” urges Ranetti.Education is another priority formany local companies. For Actavis, ithas been a significant part of the firm’sCSR strategy since the beginning. “In-vestment in educational programs be-came a natural priority of our CSRactivity. The first step we made was 20years ago with the Actavis Sustine Per-formanta project, devised to rewardthe high marks achieved by students atthe International Chemistry Olympiad.We decided to extend the project touniversities this year,” says Ana MariaDraganica, communication manager atActavis. With the Actavis operationsteam (Sindan Pharma manufacturing)the company will support the medi-cine section of the Studentul Anuluiproject, helping students from themedicine and pharmacy faculties. “Inan extremely competitive and dynamicenvironment, CSR programs help us toposition ourselves correctly and secureloyalty to the Actavis brand,” con-cludes Draganica.  Remit of a CSRspecialist:l To understand the way a com-pany, market and the businessenvironment works;l To understand the principles ofsustainability and the way theyreflect on the business environ-ment and company;l To know from the start thatCSR is not a communication fieldand does not mean sponsorship,donations, planting trees, recy-cling or cleaning up pollutedareas;l To take charge of managementactivities;l To coordinate department man-agers in stakeholder engagementand research activities, helpingthem identify and set strategicobjectives, and find the most effi-cient strategies and projects inorder to achieve their goals;l To evaluate and report the im-pact for each indicator and to fol-low up with the company’sstakeholders.Source: The CSR Agency