Companies Coca-Cola HBC, Eurobank EFG, Holcim Serbia, SUNCE Marinkovic and Tigar are the first ones to receive the CSR Certificate, representing a guarantee that they do business in accordance with the highest standards of corporate social responsibility (CSR). At the ceremony held on October 2 at the Belgrade City Assembly the companies were awarded this certificate by NALED, in cooperation with SMart kolektiv and Balkan Community Initiatives Fund (BCIF), with the support of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). The awards were granted within the program „Civil Society Advocacy Initiative program in Serbia“ financed by the USAID.
The ceremony was attended by a large number of distinguished representatives of national and international institutions, diplomatic corps, foreign investors, domestic businesses, local governments and the media.
In an opening speech, the audience was addressed by Neven Marinovic on behalf of NALED Managing Board, emphasizing that the CSR Certification is the beginning of a good practice in Serbia, that should serve as a positive example for others.
„Certification represents a step forward for the businesses and citizens, an incentive for large companies, but also small and medium enterprises, to follow the path of this year’s awarded companies, since the CSR Certificate represents a guarantee for the buyers, suppliers and business partners that the company operates entirely in accordance with the national and international standards and CSR principles.“ – said Marinkovic.
The ceremony opening also included addresses by Milan Pajevic, Director of the Serbian European Integration Office of the Government of RS and Susan Fritz, Mission Director of USAID. Mr. Pajevic said that establishing standards for assessing corporate social responsibility was a very positive initiative started by NALED, as this is the right path to progress and EU accession, especially as the European Commission adopted a new policy defining, among other things, that the corporate social responsibility should be an integral part of strategic plans for further corporate operations, but also for the state and civil sector. Susan Fritz said that being successful means giving something back to the society. Fritz particularly emphasized that in the situation of an economic crisis, the local business sector should become more engaged when it comes to social responsibility matters.
Within a panel discussion, the audience was addressed by promoters of social responsibility, Assistant Minister of Foreign and Domestic Trade and Telecommunications Nebojsa Vasiljevic, Head of Public Relations and Corporate Image of Serbian National Broadcasting Corporation (RTS) Duska Vucinic-Lucic, the founder and President of PEXIM Foundation Mihail Petreski and the Vice-president of Business Leaders Forum Stephen Fish. Panel participants agreed that the awareness and attitude towards CSR in private, public and civil sector in Serbia have significantly changed compared to the previous years, but that there is still a lot work to be done in order to make CSR a strategic priority of doing business.
The first CSR certificates were awarded to Directors of companies which managed to fulfill more than 75% of a total of 119 criteria in six months, by a member of NALED Managing Board, Neven Marinovic.
On behalf of their companies, the Certificates were received by Ramon Weidinger, General manager of Coca Cola HBC, Vuk Zecevic, member of Eurobank EFG Executive Board, Gustavo Navarro, General Manager of Holcim Serbia, Aleksandra Radinovic, Marketing Manager of SUNCE Marinkovic and Jelena Petkovic, General Manager of Tigar company. All winners expressed their gratitude to be the first champions of corporate responsibility in Serbia in 2012, thus directly contributing to the quality of life of citizens.
The aim of the CSR certification project is to establish a national CSR standard and it is intended for all companies wishing to improve their procedures and processes in this area.