MINSK, 21 November (BelTA) – There are plans to introduce a corporate social responsibility (CSR) index in Belarus, BelTA learned from Alexander Skrabovsky, head of the Belarusian office of the United Nations Global Compact network, director of the Belarusian social investment foundation Dobra, during a public hearing of socially responsible businesses in Minsk on 21 November.
The Dobra Foundation is behind the initiative to measure the social responsibility of Belarusian companies in order to encourage them to more effectively communicate with consumers by spreading the word about their adherence to social and environmental values.
According to the source, the CSR index does not aspire to provide a comprehensive evaluation of Belarusian companies, yet unprepared people will be able at a glance to compare efforts and statements of companies regarding their contribution to the society.
Belarusian companies will be evaluated using open sources in four groups of criteria: labor relations and human rights, bona fide business practices, consumers and contribution to the society, environment.
There are plans to discuss all the details pertaining to the CSR index's introduction with experts and representatives of the private sector by the end of the year. The actual evaluation of companies will begin in January 2019. The ratings will be public and will be updated at least once a year. If discrepancies are detected, the index will be suspended until the issue is corrected.
The public hearing has been organized by the Dobra Foundation in association with the United Nations Development Program and Belarusbank.
One year ago representatives of Belarusian companies signed an agreement on cooperation of socially responsible businesses. The public hearing held on 21 November gathered representatives of those companies, top government officials, representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations, top managers of the Belarusian private sector in order to talk about their achievements, share the best practices, and hear the official stance on possible cooperation with the government and international organizations. Apart from that, participants of the event can work with leading international experts to come up with new cases of social projects, which will bring financial benefits to the companies.
“Social projects can be effective if private business is more committed to them. But we would like to hear how businessmen see their participation in them. The term ‘impact investing' has only recently started taking root in Belarus. We should generalize experience, train specialists, and demonstrate successful socially responsible companies,” said Marianna Shchetkina, Belarus' national coordinator for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki also mentioned Belarus' accomplishments in promoting cooperation between the state and the private sector in this matter. “The forum is supposed to focus on the role the private sector plays in reaching the SDGs. It is necessary to see companies, which can support projects in the area of healthcare, education, environmental protection, and the development of new technologies,” she explained.
The Dobra Foundation is the Belarusian office of the United Nations Global Compact network, the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative. The network urges companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.More about Society