The Via Bona Slovakia Awards for Corporate Social Responsibility have been handed out
The companies which incorporate responsibility and fairness into their business activities are on the rise in Slovakia.
The Pontis Foundation has handed out its annual Via Bona Slovakia Awards for CSR for the seventeenth time. This year is the first time it has also presented a Social Innovations Award.
A gala evening showcased companies which voluntarily and beyond what is required by law help their surroundings, employees, or the business environment in which they operate. “The general atmosphere in Slovakia is that of frustration with the current situation. We can fight it with positive examples that would reassure us that there are many nice and meaningful things happening. The companies which have received the Via Bona Slovakia Awards bring such examples,” says Lenka Surotchak, the executive director of the Pontis Foundation.
The highest number of large companies nominated
Altogether, 71 small, medium-sized, and large companies from all over Slovakia had been nominated for the Via Bona Slovakia Award. The Pontis Foundation had received 10 nominations in the category Responsible Large Company, a record for the category in the history of the awards. The awards were presented in 6 categories. In addition, the Foundation handed out the Public’s Choice Award, chosen by the readers of the SME daily, and the Social Innovations Award. The latter had been awarded for the first time and had been intended for projects with the potential to change how we deal with a long-term social issue.
Who has received the Via Bona Slovakia Award
The award for a Responsible Large Company went to Kia Motors Slovakia s.r.o., a company which has been long-term trying to be a responsible employer and producer. For ten years the company has been implementing a unique concept of ‘harmony rooms’, consultancy rooms situated directly in production halls. It offers its employees a possibility to get actively involved in the improvement of the work environment and workplace relations. In addition, the company focuses on the production of environment-friendly cars. The company also provides long-term support to the region where it is based, for example by funding projects or supporting its employees’ volunteerism. The company is also aware of the necessity to support young people’s education; therefore, it has been actively collaborating with secondary vocational schools and universities.
Ošetrovateľské centrum, s.r.o. was named a Responsible Small/Medium-Sized Company. Their corporate social responsibility is motivated by their conviction that senior citizens deserve the best care. Three facilities – the nursing centre Ošetrovateľské centrum, s.r.o., the civic association Ošetrovateľské centrum, and the social service facility Slnečný dom, n.o. – move the boundaries set out by legislation and look after seriously and long-term ill people. Ošetrovateľské centrum, s.r.o. is also trying to initiate a national project to support and develop quality in long-term care and bring more light to social service facilities through satisfied nurses. For years it has been developing a Strategy to Permanent Employee Satisfaction and Pleasant Work Environment.
Ošetrovateľské centrum had also been successful with the readers of the SME daily and received the Public’s Choice Award.
The award for a Fair Market Player went to METRO Cash&Carry SR s.r.o. for its responsible and fair approach to suppliers and customers as well as its long-term support of small local suppliers. The food wholesaler targets retailers and restaurant and catering service providers. The company’s vision “We Help Entrepreneurs Grow” had given rise to a tradition of celebrating all small entrepreneurs, not only its customers. They had been invited to nominate one of their pro-customer actions, which METRO Cash&Carry SR then helped to promote.
2brothers s.r.o. was named a Green Company for its project Green Bicycle. It is a bike-sharing scheme which reduces the environmental footprint, encourages healthy habits in people, and reduces levels of traffic in towns and cities. The pilot project had been launched in the town of Prievidza, which received an Effective Sustainable Solutions Award from the Slovak Ministry of Environment. One of the aims of the project is to actively communicate with towns and cities and help them find eco-friendly options of short-distance transport.
The award for a Good Partner for the Community went to the company NOSENE, s.r.o. NOSENE responds to several social issues. One of them is the current trend of “fast fashion”. Besides selling second-hand clothing, the company remakes less suitable pieces of clothing to a brand new look. By buying the company’s products, customers not only get nice and unique pieces of clothing, but also behave like environment-conscious people and do not put strain on the environment. In addition, they help mistreated women, because 15% of the price of each sold product goes to the My Mamy civic association based in Prešov.
A certificate of merit was also awarded in this category. It went to the companies Squire Patton Boggs s.r.o. and bnt attorneys-at-law s.r.o. for achieving a systemic change in debt discharge and personal bankruptcy.
The award in the category Great Employer went to IKEA Bratislava s.r.o. In April 2016 the company organized a special event aimed at the development of its employees’ personalities and talents. 26 interactive lectures and workshops using online tools and face to face interviews helped the employees to learn about themselves and the growth opportunities that IKEA offers in Slovakia and abroad. The sessions involved or were led by IKEA’s managers and leaders to make the themes authentic and practical. The event was followed up by the Talent Week, which was meant for job applicants. The company’s employees can further continue in the Development Centre, where they get objective feedback. For the whole year they then work on improving their weaknesses under the guidance of their superior.
A certificate of merit for adding a human dimension to a corporate culture went to Soitron, s.r.o. and its project of SoitronX conference.
The Social Innovations Award went to Jem iné SK, s.r.o. and its project “Food Revolution”. Its aim is to promote the importance of healthy and regular eating. The most important group that Jem iné works with on a daily basis are children. The company operates “the first private school canteen” and a cooking school where they teach and prepare food for children. Every day the company supplies healthy meals to 20 private kindergartens and trains dozens of children in the cooking school. It strives to improve food culture at all Slovak schools, both private and public.
The awards are decided by an independent jury
The most inspiring CSR examples had been selected by independent juries composed of representatives of the business sector, public administration, media, non-governmental sector, and educational institutions. They had considered the companies’ nominations and personal presentations in two rounds. The Pontis Foundation announced the results during a gala evening in Stará tržnica in Bratislava, which was also attended by Slovak President Andrej Kiska. The gala had an atmosphere of connection and cooperation.