03. 04. 2019 Corporate responsibility

We Already Know Which Companies Are the Most Responsible Out of the Responsible Ones

For the nineteenth time now, the Pontis Foundation has awarded the most responsible companies from all over Slovakia. The Via Bona Slovakia Awards for 2018 were presented in the Old Market Hall in Bratislava on the 2nd of April. The gala evening was also attended by President Andrej Kiska and his successor Zuzana Čaputová.

The Via Bona Slovakia award-winners are companies that, through their projects and the responsible approach to business, change life in Slovakia. “After last year’s February’s events, citizens are calling for change, justice, and greater transparency. They want to have a fact-driven government but also companies aware of their responsibility to take care of the environment. They want the companies to be good partners of communities, great employers, fair market players, and social innovators. And there are more and more such companies, their projects are getting better and better and they often bring also so much needed system changes,” says Michal Kišša, Executive Director of the Business Leaders Forum and Programme Director at the Pontis Foundation.

This year, the Pontis Foundation has received 56 applications from small, medium, and large companies, which operate in Slovakia. Independent evaluation committees sent 23 project nominations in 8 categories into the final round of the selection process. The committees consisted of representatives of the business sector, the government, the media, the non-governmental sector, and educational institutions. Moreover, we also presented two special awards. Our foundation presented the Family-, Gender Equality-, and Equal Opportunities-Friendly Employer Award under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family. The Well-Governed Company Award was presented in cooperation with the Slovak Corporate Governance Association. The Public Choice Award was decided about by readers of SME daily, who chose the winner through an online poll.

Which companies were the most responsible?

Accenture was presented an award in the main category, Responsible Large Company

Accenture strives to improve the conditions in which we live and work through their corporate social responsibility strategy. Within the Skills for Success programme, it focuses on areas which enable the unemployed and the disadvantaged to acquire skills for long-term employment and gain business opportunities. The company also supports diversity because it understands that it makes the company stronger and more innovative. Accenture understands its role in the global economy as not only developing its own activities but also extending the sustainability principles into the supply chain. It contributes to supplier diversity by integrating diverse businesses into the supply chain and prefers local suppliers.

A novelty of this year has been the Well-Governed Company Award for 2018, which went to Slovnaft for transparency in publishing corporate governance data in accordance with the Corporate Governance principles.

Letmo SK was awarded in the second main category, Responsible Small / Medium Company

Letmo SK puts emphasis on the philosophy of a lifelong partnership with clients. They bring top-class wheelchairs to suit their clients’ needs, ranging from the cheapest full-featured types to premium models for the most active users. The company takes part in projects that support disadvantaged people‘s self-development. In their field, they bring awareness-raising and education which support immobile people in active life. They also offer their customers consultations on their specific requirements, mapping their closest surroundings with an emphasis on barriers which may cause them problems.

The N Press publishing house has become the Fair Market Player for its fight against disinformation and conspiracy theories and for opening up important social topics among the young people. Denník N has published four publications that supplement Slovak educational materials with information on current social phenomena (lies, conspiracies, critical thinking, the functioning of the media…) in order to help teachers, pupils, and students of primary and secondary schools to orientate.

Slovak Telekom has become the Good Partner of the Community for bringing long-term and systematic positive changes to the communities of the hearing-impaired. The goal of the telecommunications company is to create a country where the handicap of the hearing impairment is no obstacle in daily life. Through the Search for Another Sense (Hľadáme ďalší zmysel) project, the company educated and provided entrepreneurship grants to the hearing-impaired. Further, through the Online Interpreter service, Slovak Telekom fundamentally improves the ability of the hearing-impaired to communicate in various critical and routine life situations, such as a doctor’s visit, contact with the authorities, as well as a job interview and flat rental. Thanks to the experience from the programme, online interpretation as a social service has been incorporated into the law. Slovak Telekom has developed the most the issue of early care for children. Through early field intervention, the 6-year programme titled the Mobile Teacher prepared families with children with the hearing impairment for the new conditions and helped them adapt. It also helped them accept their children’s handicaps and kick-start the active progress of a child through his or her upbringing and education.

Nosene, a company which gives the clothes a second chance and strives to spread the idea of sustainability in the fashion industry, was presented the award in the Green Company category.  In addition, the company also raises awareness of textile waste recycling and the environmental impact of fashion. The company tries to teach the public how they can give their clothes a second chance so they do not need to end up in municipal waste. It also gets companies and individuals involved in the issue. Over the years, the company has organised multiple collections and practical upcycle workshops in companies and at different events.

In the Great Employer category, Slovnaft was the most successful company.  It was presented the award for the comprehensive care of its employees and the support of their work-life balance. Together, Slovnaft employees created a place where they can come with their families for active relaxation after work. They revitalised the neglected building near the company and transformed it into a modern sports and relaxation centre – Slovnaft RELAX. There, the employees have the opportunity to use a bowling rink, fitness centre and wellness. The project is unique due to the fact that its construction was initiated, coordinated and completed by the employees themselves.

As a part of this category, under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic, we also presented a special award titled the Family-, Gender Equality-, and Equal Opportunities-Friendly Employer Award. This award went to Swiss Re Management AG for authentic gender and anti-discrimination approach to employees, and the full flexibility of the workplace and time.

The award-winner in the category of Social Innovation is T-Systems Slovakia, which has developed an application for the visually-impaired with an aim to increase their independence when moving and orientating in museums. It is a solution that allows the visually-impaired to spend time in a museum on their own. The company installed the sensor network in the East Slovak Museum, but the project does not end there. Options for further use of the application are, for example, public spaces, hospitals and any other premises where visually-impaired people have problems to orientate. The readers of the SME daily took a great interest in the project too, making it a winner of the Public Choice Award.

The Award for the Contributions to Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals was given to Stiga Slovakia for an inspiring example of addressing the issue of inclusion of the Roma community in the labour market. The project was created in reaction to a lack of free human resources in the market. It aimed to make use of the available workforce in the Spis region, especially the marginalised Roma communities. In collaboration with the People in Peril organisation, which has its own field workers in several Roma settlements, the company has implemented a project of supported employment of the marginalised Roma. Hence, the project provides people excluded from society with the opportunity to improve their lives and integrate. For many participants, this project has been their first opportunity for legal employment. At the same time, the company changes perceptions of the Roma by employees from the majority population and helps erase the established stereotypes about this community.

Evaluation committee members – Via Bona Slovakia 2018

1. Category: Responsible Large Company

Katarina Gazdíkova (Kia Motors Slovakia), Xénia Makarová (Stop Corruption Foundation – Nadácia Zastavme korupciu), Ján Pallo (Slovak Spectator), Miroslav Kollár (the Hlohovec municipality), Lucia Marková (ESET), Drahomíra Juriková (Slovenská sporiteľňa), Elena Kohútiková (Slovak Corporate Governance Association), Dalimil Draganovsky (Slovak Corporate Governance Association), Juraj Droba (Bratislava Self-Governing Region), Sandra Salamonová (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatisation, Department of the Agenda 2030 Coordination)

2. Category: Responsible Small / Medium Company

Ondrej Smolár (Soitron), Marián Letovanec (Slovak Business Agency), Michal Hrabovec (ANASOFT), Andrea Ferancová (ESPIRA Investments), Lucia Štasselová (Bratislava – the Capital of the Slovak Republic), Tomáš Nejedlý (TREND), Lukáš Bakoš (Maxman Consultants), Zuzana Bartošovičová (Hillbridges)

3. Category: Green Company

Martin Haluš (Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, Institute of Environmental Policy), Petronela Ševčíková (Strategies – Stratégie), Hana Nováková (ENVI-PAK), Marcel Lukačka (GO4), Juraj Hipš (Živica, NGO), Katarína Matulníková (Allen & Overy), Jan Kurka (Green Foundation)

4. Category: Great Employer and Family-, Gender Equality-, and Equal Opportunities-Friendly Employer

Ivana Molnárová (Profesia), Tomáš Hasala (Nexteria), Jaroslav Grygar (Whirpool Slovakia), Sylvia Porubänová (Institute for Labour and Family Research), Oľga Pietruchová (Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic), Miriam Zsilleová (Women in Town portal – portál Ženy v meste), Gabriela Dubcová (University of Economics in Bratislava)

5. Category: Good Partner of the Community

Erika Turček Pfundtnerová (Kaufland SR), Juraj Králik (Philip Morris Slovakia), Mária Grebeňová Laczová (Radio Regina), Marek Adamov (Žilina-Záriečie Station), Daniela Danihelová (Bratislava Community Foundation), Dáša Matušíková (Ringier Axel Springer Slovakia), Michal Hrčka (Restoration –Obnova)

6. Category: Fair Market Player

Richard Ďurana (INESS), Luppová Stanislava (Hospodárske noviny), Juraj Bobula (Kinstellar), Zuzana Petková (Stop Corruption Foundation – Nadácia Zastavme korupciu), Dominika Šulková, Tomáš Kleimpai (WebSupport), Martin Provazník (bnt attorney in CEE)

7. Category: Social Innovations

Danica Balážová (Junior Achievement Slovakia), Michaela Kršková (Neulogy Ventures), Katarína Bežová (Tatra Bank), Danica Matáková (GEOMATIX), Andrej Salner (Basta Digital), Zuzana Polačková (Institute for Forecasting at the Slovak Academy of Sciences), Peter Hodál (white & case), Mária Hurajová (Slovak American Foundation)

8. Category: SDGs Awards

Martin Kinčéš (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatisation, Department of the Agenda 2030 Coordination), Karla Wursterová (Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic), Michal Feik (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic), Ivana Maleš (Circular Economy Institute), Milan Chrenko (Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic), Veronika Bush (TESCO Stores SR), Tatiana Žilková (Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic), Matej Ftáčnik (VacuumLabs), Soňa Hekelová (Schoenherr Attorneys in Law)

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