Corporate University, Touch-free Keyboard for the Health-Disadvantaged and Real Household Waste Data. We Know the Finalists of Via Bona Slovakia 2019
Every year, the Pontis Foundation awards exceptional projects and responsible approaches of companies that make Slovakia a better place. Altogether, 38 small, medium and large companies submitted their nominations for the 20th year of Via Bona Slovakia. The highest number of entries has been sumbitted in the categories of Green Company and Good Partner of the Community. Out of 52 projects, independent evaluation committees selected 17 finalists in 6 categories. The names of the award-winners will be announced by the Pontis Foundation at the gala event of Via Bona Slovakia 2019 on the 28th of April, 2020.
Responsible Large Company
For a long time now, ESET has adhered to the principles of responsible entrepreneurship, which it has also enshrined in its CSR strategy. The main points of the strategy are ethics as the basis for entrepreneurship, safer technologies, satisfied employees, better Slovakia thanks to better education and research and mitigation of the impacts of climate change. The CSR agenda is also a part of the company’s goals. When creating technology, the company focuses on innovation and a secure digital world for everyone – as evidenced by the creation of an application for a responsible approach to child protection on the Internet and support for software for the visually-impaired. Further, it also emphasises Internet safety education for children and parents. ESET provides support for emerging leaders as well as employee development programmes. Twice a year, employees have an opportunity to participate in an employee grant programme and take part in volunteer activities even during working hours, within set limits. In 2019, the company launched the first year of the ESET SCIENCE AWARD for excellent scientists, which aims to increase the social status of science and scientists in Slovakia.
Nestlé understands social responsibility as a way of doing business that delivers long-term sustainable values and helps society develop. One of its main areas of interest is the education of children in the field of a healthy lifestyle. The project “I Know What I Eat”, which contains digitised materials in 6 thematic modules, has been incorporated into the curriculum by the National Institute for Education and will be taught as an optional subject in the next school year. The company also focuses on the promotion of diversity and employment of people under 30 years of age. In addition to having strived for gender equality for women and men in the workplace, together with other partner companies, it has also created an Alliance for YOUth which actively supports young people at the labour market. To improve the quality of the environment, Nestlé is committed to efficient water management and energy saving in its production plant.
In its corporate responsibility strategy, TESCO focuses primarily on addressing social and environmental challenges – responsible consumption and production of goods, fighting food waste, and reducing the negative impact of food packaging on the environment and climate change. For these topics, Tesco creates platforms for strengthening cross-sectoral cooperation. Thanks to cooperation with the Food Bank Slovakia, tireless work of employees and transparent publication of data, the company has managed to reduce food waste by 52% in its stores in Slovakia. In 2019, as the first retailer in Central Europe, TESCO managed to donate unsold food from all its stores in Slovakia. The company also supports Slovak suppliers, not only by putting domestic products on the shop shelves but also through a programme to support local farmers and a series of educational programmes. The offer of own-brand products emphasises the protection of health and is adapted to people with different needs (gluten-free and lactose-free series). As part of its innovations, TESCO has introduced new shopping opportunities through scanners, mobile phones, and online purchases. The company keeps in mind its employees too – through the financial collection Tesco Angel, it supports colleagues in a difficult life situation. Some employees donate monthly wage deductions and the company multiplies and matches the collected funds.
Responsible Small/Medium Company
DEUTSCHMANN INTERNATIONALE SPEDITION
In its corporate philosophy, the international truck transport company is committed to helping and ethics. One of its priorities is an individual and human approach to employees, providing them with various benefits, such as vocational training, flexible working hours, extra pay for achieving results, a financial contribution towards sporting activities, as well as an option of a corporate loan, and settlement assistance with debts. DeutschMann carries out a number of community-focused activities throughout the year, for example through fundraising, in-kind donations and the support for local events. The company consistently pays attention to the selection of its suppliers.
LYRA GROUP is aware of the importance of protecting the environment, and therefore uses energy-saving technologies and environmentally friendly waste disposal to produce chocolate from the finest ingredients. Students and the broad public have an opportunity to peek into the world of chocolate production through excursions for secondary schools and a range of various events. The company created Blockchain Chocolate, which brings transparency into the chocolate production process, not only in terms of ingredients used but also in the time traceability of products. With its social activities, the company has also crossed the Slovak borders – in Colombia, where most of the LYRA chocolate ingredients originate, the firm supports local farmers and young people who learn how to use their potential and become good leaders. The company also focuses on supporting organisations which help people with learning disabilities, and for its volunteer activities, it has also won the Heart on the Palm award.
Since it was established, Profesia has taken an inclusive approach and showed respect for diversity in all its values. The company employs an equal number of men and women, including members of minorities, and does not forget mothers with children or people with disabilities. The company has long supported transparency in entrepreneurship and creates opportunities for people with disabilities. Profesia employees pass on their experience and knowledge in the form of expert assistance – they organise workshops and training sessions for non-profit organisations, and also educate school principals in the field of human resources. Services of Profesia.sk aim to fully adapt to the needs of visually- and hearing impaired-people. Job offers in the field of education are published free of charge at edujobs.sk. Within the Aid with a Heart programme, Profesia organises workshops to present examples of good practice in employing people with disabilities.
CILA ATELIER with its project Circular Economy in Fashion
Cila believes that the circular economy is the right choice for the fashion industry which has long been struggling with issues, such as overproduction, poor working conditions, child labour, and environmental pollution. At Cila Atelier, the entire process of garment production is based on the philosophy of the so-called capsule wardrobe, a dressing system based on the right combination of timeless pieces of clothing. It offers its customers an alternative to fast fashion – thanks to sophisticated cuts, the company produces timeless garments, minimises waste, and saves the environment by using bio cotton. It also emphasises high-quality materials and upcycling of waste cloths. At Cila Atelier, they also work to communicate the principles of the circular economy to the public, for example, through discussions, workshops, and articles.
JRK Slovakia with its project ELWIS – a Fair System of Waste Registration
JRK Slovakia’s mission is to improve waste management by reducing the amount of mixed waste and increasing the rate of separation. To achieve these goals, the company has developed innovative and educational solutions which bring transparency to waste management. The fair ELWIS waste registration system provides municipalities with an overview of real amounts of waste produced by Slovak households and entities by monitoring the collection of containers and waste bags. The analysis of the data then allows towns and municipalities to take the necessary measures and set up a fair system of fees for waste and its better separation.
SLOVENSKÉ ELEKTRÁRNE with its project the Univesity of Slovenské Elektrárne
The project by Slovenské elektrárne was developed in a reaction to the high level of employee dissatisfaction shown by an internal survey. The employees identified a lack of openness and competence as the main problem. The University of Slovenské elektrárne, an internal training programme for more than 600 employees, should contribute to achieving an attitude change. The project aims to interconnect individual departments of managers and thus better understand the functioning of the company and key decision-making. For the first time, the University of Slovenské elektrárne has opened a discussion with the employees about the functioning of the company and its prospects. The company managed to create space for talented employees’ professional and personal growth, to stimulate constructive expert discussions among employees and also to initiate the need to change team communication.
GENERAL CREDIT BANK (VÚB) with its project How to Awaken the VÚB Volunteer Spirit
The aim of the General Credit Bank (VÚB) was to kick-start its employees’ volunteering activities all across Slovakia. The activities focus on improving the living conditions of communities, which is one of the most important pillars of the corporate social responsibility strategy of the company. Its comprehensive grasp of volunteering consists of manual activities, development programmes, charity collections and individual volunteering. Due to the support for volunteering, employees improve not only their physical and mental condition but also many skills useful at work, such as organisational and communication skills. Currently, more than 10% of VÚB employees in Slovakia are involved in volunteering activities. With respect to the total number of VÚB‘s employees, this number represents one medium-sized company.
WHIRLPOOL SLOVAKIA with its project a Good Chance for Everyone
Whirlpool Slovakia, which is one of the largest employers in Slovakia, has long promoted diversity and inclusion in the workplace through its internal HR programmes and tools. Out of the total number of employees, 40% are women, 18% are from the marginalised Roma community, and 7% are health-disadvantaged. Thanks to the adaptation process of new employees and the training of current employees in its own retraining and educational centre, the company can reduce not only unemployment in the region but also staff turnover. Thanks to its individual approach to employees, Whirlpool Slovakia observes much higher quality in employees and their readiness to join the work process as well as the team.
Good Partner of the Community
ESET with its project ESET SCIENCE AWARD
ESET is aware of the importance of science and research for Slovakia to have a chance to become a modern and successful country. Through the ESET Foundation, the ESET SCIENCE AWARD has been presented to excellent scientists. It aims to increase the social status of science and scientists in Slovakia. The project also aims to open a public discussion on the topic of science which has long been on the margins of society’s interest. The support for science and research is one of the pillars of ESET’s responsible entrepreneurship. Through its grant programmes, it annually supports projects popularising science, engages in discussions on science policies, and participates in the White Night event.
LIDL Slovak Republic with its project LIDL = Good Neighbour
Every year, LIDL implements a number of activities to support young families, children and health, to be perceived as a good neighbour in the locations where the company operates. The project is an exceptional combination of long-term and systematic activities to support the communities “On the Road to Better Tomorrow”. As part of the Žihadielko project, Lidl has built 40 modern and safe playgrounds in towns all over Slovakia and provided primary schools with funding to purchase interactive whiteboards and sports equipment. Thanks to the project Good Fairy Tales, the company donated to Slovak hospitals a set of life-saving devices for newborns. The company helps disadvantaged children through employee volunteer activities. In all its activities, Lidl engages residents of the localities in which it operates, either directly by purchasing or by public voting, through which they can decide to support community projects.
TESCO STORES with its project Tesco Food Collection
As the first chain in Slovakia, TESCO came up with the idea of a food collection in 2013. The project aims to help people in need – besides their regular shopping, customers can buy extra groceries and drugstore goods and hand them over to volunteers from partner charities. The food collection has become the country’s largest collection of food and drugstore goods, with customers donating more than 171 tonnes of durable food and drugstore goods totalling 260,000 euros in 2019. As a novelty, TESCO introduced the opportunity to donate food through the Online Shopping service. In addition to motivating customers to help people in need, TESCO also connects the customers with civic organisations in their communities. Furthermore, the company financially donates 20% of the collected value of food and drugstore goods to partner organisations – last year it donated more than 52,000 EUR. In 2019, as the first retailer in Central Europe, TESCO ensured that all stores regularly donate unsold food to a local charity organisation. In this manner, they help over 5,000 people a day.
LETMO SK with its project VozickarMAP (tr. Person in a Wheelchair MAP)
The LETMO company, which provides aids and counselling for people with disabilities, encountered a recurring problem in its activities – there was no interactive map that would provide disabled people with information on which areas are barrier-free. Therefore, they have created a unique mobile application, VozickarMAP (tr. Person in a Wheelchair MAP), which allows you to find the nearest barrier-free places, comment on their condition, and ask the wheelchair community questions. The project does not try to describe the formal condition of an object but uses a simple and friendly language that the disabled community understands. So far, it has registered 3,200 places, such as toilets, restaurants, schools, and shops.
MARTIN BELAVÝ with its project HandCubeKeys
Thanks to their previous personal experience with people with disabilities, Martin and Luboš Belaví knew the problems of this community very well. Especially, the problem of working with a common PC keyboard that did not suit them ergonomically – in size, shape and the size of characters. Hence, Ľuboš started developing an innovative HandCubeKeys keyboard designed specifically for people with disabilities. Since 2010, the keyboard has been developed and also upgraded. It can be operated without touching, just by hands, elbows and head, using a sensor or light source. Its use is also suitable for people with autism. Since 2017, the device has been used by 356 people, including those in schools for children with special needs. The keyboard is currently included in the list of social devices financed by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic.
WHIRLPOOL SLOVAKIA with its project Whirlpool Retraining and Educational Centre
Whirlpool Slovakia has long been struggling with a shortage of qualified workers. Though, it has also seen an increasing interest in job positions by people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and people with primary school education. As the company intends to employ as many people from the region as possible, while creating an inclusive working environment, it has decided to build a retraining and educational centre directly on the factory premises. The centre aims to stabilise the high turnover rate, especially of low-skilled employees, with their immediate involvement in the work process. The long-term unemployed, and people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds have the opportunity to adapt and be part of the community of people working in the manufacturing sector, regardless of gender, education, and race. The centre intends to provide the above-mentioned services to manufacturing companies in the region, the Labour Office, schools, and other organisations.
ČSOB Banka (tr. ČSOB Bank) pays special attention to the responsibility of the company’s bodies and the ethical conduct of its employees. The principles of “corporate governance” are elaborated in several internal documents and regulations. Bank employees, who suspect that there has been an anti-social activity, a serious violation of the Rules of Procedure, ethical principles or internal regulations, have the opportunity to report their suspicions through various channels, such as by phone, letter, e-mail, at a personal meeting or anonymously.
Union poisťovňa (tr. Union Insurance Company) wants to set an example in corporate transparency, so it strives to apply the Corporate Governance Code consistently. Every year, the company issues a public statement on the transparent management of the insurance company based on the principles of openness, honesty and accountability to shareholders, clients, employees and subcontractors and distributors. By adhering to the code of ethics at the level of both the insurance market and internally, it seeks to prevent corruption and money laundering. The company also has a mechanism in place for reporting serious anti-social activity, guaranteeing the anonymity of whistleblowers and their protection, as well as an impartial investigation of their complaints.
Slovenská sporiteľňa (tr. Slovak Savings Bank) strives to apply the principles of responsibility, honesty and openness in the day-to-day management of the company by adhering to the code of ethics and corporate values. It strives to improve products and services for clients, as well as its internal settings. This includes streamlining processes, caring for employees as well we open in-house communication. The bank applies the Whistleblowing policy and at the same time has a tool for employees to report events anonymously. The tool is accessible to employees via the intranet and is fully anonymised.
The award-winners will be announced at the gala event on the 10th of November, 2020.