We know which companies have proceeded to the finals of the Via Bona Slovakia Awards
The evaluation committee of the Via Bona Slovakia Awards has shortlisted 20 nominations. Which companies are competing to receive the award?
Responsible Large Company
DM Drogerie Markt
DM Drogerie Markt places emphasis on themes like health and healthy lifestyle, education, and the environment. The company focuses on people – be it customers, colleagues, or partners. DM Drogerie Markt is trying to set an example for the others; its products and services are raising the health and environmental awareness of their customers. The company adopted corporate social responsibility as its business strategy and has been involved in CSR activities for several years – for example, campaigns aimed at the promotion of the healthy lifestyle of school-age children, projects such as Smiling Milk Teeth, Let’s Help Children, DM Together, Sunny Children, DM’s Ladies’ Run, etc. DM Drogerie Markt cares not only for its customers but also for the environment. Since 2016 their shops have been using renewable ‘green’ energy. At the moment it is used in 69 shops and there are plans for the expansion of its use. The company has designated a part of the shops for organic foods, eco goods, and controlled natural cosmetics. The company’s employees are offered opportunities of personal growth and development; the choice of educational and developmental activities is broad. The company conducts a regular survey of the employees’ satisfaction and offers a day off for volunteering. In addition, the company has a strongly developed system of anti-corruption measures and reporting of unfair practices via an independent ombudsman. Each employee who has a suspicion that someone has been involved in dishonest or harmful conduct or breached the company’s regulations can turn to an ombudsman. DM also cooperates with several sheltered workshops. Together with the Environmental and Ethical Education Centre Živica, it has built community gardens, installed urban beehives, and helped introduce a local currency called živec in Bratislava and Banská Bystrica.
Kia Motors Slovakia
Kia Motors Slovakia has been trying to be a responsible employer and producer. It has been seeking to create values and promote a harmonious growth with emphasis on environmental aspects and respect for the humanity’s needs. The company’s strategic CSR areas include employees, the environment, the market, business ethics, and community. It organizes educational and developmental activities for its employees. It also offers an above-standard social and rewarding program. In 2016 Kia was named a “Leading HR Organization” for its effective human resources management and best practices in human resources management. Employee care is an integral part of its HR policy. For ten years the company has been implementing a unique concept of ‘harmony rooms’, consultancy rooms situated directly in production halls. They offer the 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 implementation of innovative solutions has helped to improve the energy efficiency of the main plant by 17% and reduce the gas consumption, which has led to a 13% reduction in the amount of CO2 emissions produced in the making of a car. Also the fact that Kia has planted 1,258 trees in the compound of its plant in Teplička nad Váhom attests to its responsible attitude to the environment. Kia also implements a code of conduct, which defines the basic rules and regulations for the company’s employees. Besides this, it has been long involved in the support of the region and many philanthropic activities, and it supports its employees’ volunteerism especially in the Žilina region, where its employees are from. The company is also aware of the necessity to support young people’s education; therefore, it has been in active collaboration with secondary vocational schools and universities. The company is trying to help build and improve cyclist paths and is cooperating with the city of Žilina in revitalizing and extending parks.
Slovenská sporiteľňa’s CSR strategy is based on building long-term partnerships in the areas that the bank considers strategic in terms of its operation, influence, and achieved results. Slovenská sporiteľňa develops the concept of a “social bank”, whose aim is to provide services, financial education, and consultancy to the target groups which no other bank in Slovakia focuses on: beginning entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and low-income groups. Its aim is to help solve such social issues as poverty, low financial literacy, or restrictions for beginning small entrepreneurs. The company also develops activities for beginning entrepreneurs and the non-profit sector, which it provides with education and banking services, including funding. In addition, the bank has adopted significant measures in the area of environmental protection. It is referred to as a “green bank” as it has implemented an environmental policy and has a Chief Environmental Officer. The bank monitors and evaluates the consumption of office paper, and the lights, computers, telephones as well as most electric circuits in the offices switch off automatically. In addition, the bank supports interesting and meaningful projects, often involving its employees and community in the decision-making processes related to the support. Training opportunities are available to all target groups of the employees in Slovenská sporiteľňa. Its Development Program has focused on talented employees for ten years. The bank has set up a “clubroom” called HydePark, which houses a free library and is a venue of regular discussions and club activities, in the building of its head office in Bratislava and in the building of the Central Bank Office in Banská Bystrica. Financial education is one of the most significant areas supported by the bank. That is the reason why its successful project “Know Your Money”, focused on the development of children’s and students’ financial literacy, which the bank implements in cooperation with the Foundation for Slovakia’s Children, continued with its seventh year in 2016.
Responsible Small/Medium-Sized Company
The company LEDeco Solution offers complex services in the area of projection, design, and supply of lighting based on innovative LED technologies and optic fibres. The company intends to offer a lot of light which will not consume much power and burden the environment. LEDeco invests time in innovations; it desires to reduce input power while preserving good lighting parameters and reducing the size of lights. Besides this, it collaborates with companies which have introduced ISO standards and care for their CSR policies. The company is building its own community of companies and persons who are on the same wavelength and enthusiastic about environment-friendly products. It is trying to offer better solutions to customers, solutions which will provide them with better quality lighting while putting less strain on the environment. The company’s management is also striving to implement a fair sales policy, which also reflects in its innovations and effort to improve the working conditions in the company. Together with its employees, it is improving the quality of both its products and services while supplying them at fair prices. The company offers several benefits to its employees. Besides other things, it provides transparent remuneration, where each of the employees can influence the amount of their salary and bonuses through their attitude to work, skill, and helpfulness. The employees are also offered opportunities to educate themselves, they are provided with space to realize their potential and present the work they do and pass their knowledge on to the clients, which helps them improve their communication skills and boost their self-confidence.
Ošetrovateľské centrum offers various nursing and social assistance services to the ill. 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 the seriously and long-term ill people who are dependent on high quality care. Ošetrovateľské centrum has a client-oriented strategy which emphasizes the quality of service and ethical principles. It 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 nurses. Ošetrovateľské centrum initiated a welfare project of “senior boxes”, which contain an information and educational package for whole families. They are meant to help not only patients but also their families by preparing them for care for the seriously and long-term ill at home. The company looks not only after its clients, but also after its employees. For years it has been trying to build employees’ long-term satisfaction by providing them with a cosy work environment, it has also introduced a system of personal development through employees’ self-assessment and couching or a program of individual motivational interviews of the managers with the employees. The company has built a tradition of annual awards for the best employees (Personality, Owl, Best Nurse) and provably incorporates the employees’ comments into its action plans, the result of which is the employees’ exceptional satisfaction. The employees also get exceptional bonuses and have a possibility to earn extra money abroad without risking the loss of their permanent employment.
Visibility is an Internet-based marketing agency which was established in 2009. Its main mission is to educate the market, its clients, and its employees. The agency publishes a large amount of useful information and professional articles, which are freely available as blogs, videoblogs, webinars, seminars, or e-books. Besides that, the agency is trying to have digital marketing incorporated into university curricula. It is building a friendly and motivating atmosphere for its clients and employees. Each employee of Visibility can contribute to the company’s blog and write articles. The employees are also motivated by being named an Employee of the Month or a Businessman of the Month, an award which is accompanied by a financial or non-financial reward. The agency also takes care of its employees’ health. The employees can take advantage of sauna and massage services available directly in the office building. Besides this, the agency provides them with language instruction and professional trainings. The company considers education crucial; therefore, its employees are regularly sent to professional conferences and workshops. The employees can work for 3 months from abroad and they are offered further benefits such as extra holiday entitlement or a family bonus. The company is also trying to be environment-friendly. It does not buy bottled water, but filters tap water and tries to eliminate printing. The employees can use a company bicycle. Visibility also liaises and shares its know-how with non-profit organizations.
An inspiring project
LYRA CHOCOLATE, a chocolate producer and retailer from Nitra, who promotes fair attitudes to the employees, customers, and suppliers obtained recognition for an “Inspiring Project” in the category of Responsible Small/Medium-Sized Company. The company cooperates with local farmers in South America, promoting agricultural sustainability and supporting local tribes. Apart from this, it aspires to an eco company certificate, offers its employees various benefits and supports the community of the disadvantaged in Slovakia.
Good Partner for the Community
Dôvera, zdravotná poisťovňa, and its online portal Dignified and Human Until the End – www.zomieranie.sk
The people faced with dying or death, i.e. either people diagnosed with a fatal disease or the close relatives or friends of the terminally ill, had long missed assistance. In 2016 the health insurance company Dôvera supported the creation of an information portal. A non-profit organization named Viaticus uses it as space for posting medical, social, psychological, and official information, which might help people cope with a difficult situation or make decisions which will help them keep a quality and dignity of life until the end of their lives. Dôvera has provided funds to run the portal, and its employees have helped process relevant statistical data. The project continues to collect the addresses of institutions which people may turn to for assistance. The result is the gradual building of a community of collaborating professionals (health professionals, social workers, therapists, volunteers, psychologists, and others), who can contribute to breaking taboos related to this topic and make it a normal part of our lives. Another side effect of the project is the rise of further initiatives. For example, in cooperation with the Slovak Children’s Fund, Dôvera has produced for schools a manual for the management of critical situations involving a death or tragedy.
NOSENE and its project When Fashion Helps – Helping Abused Women
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. They turn big gentlemen’s shirts to blouses, or curtains to dresses. 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, the customer helps mistreated women, because 15% of the price of each sold product goes to the My Mamy civic association based in Prešov. The civic association helps the women and their children to escape to a safe house out of the reach of the victimizer. NOSENE has decided to support this civic association because abuse is still a taboo topic that the women themselves find difficult to talk about. In 2016 the company’s support also went to gifted Roma children and dogs in need.
Squire Patton Boggs and bnt attorneys-at-law and their project A Change of Personal Bankruptcy Rules – A Chance for a New Start
In cooperation with the civic association Proti prúdu, attorneys from both offices have actively participated in drafting an amendment to Bankruptcy and Restructuring Act with a view to changing the conditions and process of personal bankruptcy and making it available also to NINA (No Income No Assets) debtors. These efforts have aimed to reduce the costs of this process and develop mechanisms for the prevention of homelessness. This pro bono initiative has brought change, which may help improve the lives of hundreds of people who will now be able to get out of the vicious circle of debt. The amendment to the law, which took effect on 1 March 2017, sets forth criteria for entering the debt payment process (either through bankruptcy or payment schedule) that enable most homeless people to enter the process. Since debtors are obligatorily represented by the Legal Aid Centre, there is room for longer-term social cooperation with the debtors. Both companies offer pro bono legal services and, by supervising law students, support practical education at universities.
An inspiring project
The company Jem iné SK’s project entitled “Food Revolution”, which is striving to change people’s awareness of the importance of healthy and regular eating, has been named an Inspiring Project in the Good Partner for the Community category. The project aims to ensure that children get tasty and healthy meals, and lay the foundations of a pleasant and healthy food culture.
Fair Market Player
METRO Cash&Carry SR and its project We Don’t Count without Customers and Suppliers
The food wholesaler METRO Cash&Carry SR targets retailers and catering service providers. The company’s vision “We Help Entrepreneurs Grow” has given rise to a tradition of celebrating all small entrepreneurs (not only its customers). They were invited to nominate one of their pro-customer actions, which METRO Cash&Carry SR then helped to promote. By means of a special application people could check out interesting offers in their surroundings and respond to them. The project was accompanied by a massive investment in an advertising campaign which was supposed to support and celebrate small entrepreneurs. The company offers different types of support to its customers: special trainings, consultancy, services, marketing support (for example, it makes and distributes leaflets on behalf of small entrepreneurs). METRO Cash&Carry SR systematically searches for and supports local food producers, regularly organizes a conference where it, together with suppliers, seeks ways of taking advantage of the current market situation.
VO SK and its project Firemnýnákup.sk – Saving Costs
Companies often focus on product sales and lay less emphasis on cost-efficiency. The company VO SK therefore developed Firemnýnákup.sk, which, based on a detailed description of required quality for the best price, helps companies choose an ideal offer on the market. It facilitates purchase of different commodities ranging from energies (electricity, gas), toners, office paper, fuel, telecommunications services, insurance, cleaning services, printing services to construction works. Since 2015 the companies using this service have made a cost saving of 22%. VO SK offers to each customer a free analysis of their cost-saving requirement. VO SK most often receives a share of the saving as a reward. If the company does not help a customer make any saving, it will not get any reward.
ZOOT SK and its project Joyful Collection Points
The Czech start-up ZOOT was established in 2010 to help people overcome their fear of online shopping. It set up Joyful Collection Points where customers can try out clothes before buying them. If they order the home delivery of goods, they can return them through any of the collection points instead of sending them by post. The company would like customers to leave not only with a sense of having made a good purchase but also in a good mood. Therefore, it organizes various social events, gives out small gifts, refreshments, and provides free Wi-Fi at the Joyful Collection Points. The company also looks after its employees. It provides them with various benefits, for example, common activities, competitions, discounts, in order to make them happy so that they can spread the good mood to customers. The company’s project ZOOT Lokal provides space to local creative people to sell their products online and make themselves visible. On Black Friday the employees sell pieces from their own wardrobes at the Joyful Collection Points to support non-profit organizations and civic associations.
2brothers and its project Green Bicycle
Green Bicycle is a bicycle-sharing scheme, which responds to several issues of today’s world. It reduces the environmental footprint, encourages healthy habits in people, and reduces levels of traffic in towns. The pilot project was launched in the town of Prievidza, which has received an Effective Sustainable Solutions Award from the Slovak Ministry of Environment. The aim of the project is not only to raise awareness of an alternative, healthier, environment-friendlier means of transport for short distances, but also to actively communicate with towns and help them build the necessary infrastructure. The plan is for Slovakia to become one of the developed countries which have understood that a healthy infrastructure of towns and cities in the future depends on the expansion of cycling paths and bike-sharing schemes.
Adoptuj Úľ and its project Adopt a Beehive
The project “Adopt a Beehive” seeks to contribute to improving the current state of beekeeping in Slovakia. Its website allows anybody to adopt their own beehive and thus support local beekeepers, who often quit beekeeping for a lack of funds. The people who adopt a beehive gain access to it, can ask for a lecture on beekeeping and try out the craft. The project aims to mitigate people’s fear of bees and make them aware of their positive influence on their lives. Another aim is to support and raise the profile of the beekeepers who do not use hard chemical substances and whose bees forage on unpesticided flowers. At the same time, it seeks to discourage people from buying false honey from abroad and encourage them to buy from local beekeepers. The project desires to remind people why beekeeping is such an integral part of land and to install a number of new beehives.
BRAIN:IT and its project Sensoneo
“Let’s collect waste, not containers” is the motto of the project “Sensoneo”, which aims to ensure waste be collected when it is necessary rather than only on certain days. It offers a smart solution of non-stop monitoring of containers by means of in-built sensors. The sensors can be simply built into containers of different sizes to measure the height of waste in them. Sensoneo not only monitors the current state of containers, but also contributes to effective and fast planning of waste collection. It thus helps reduce emissions and noise levels and saves the environment and time. The project’s author is BRAIN:IT, a company which oversees complex IT projects and desires to link waste management with modern technologies in order to introduce more logic and efficiency into the whole process.
An inspiring project
CILA’s project, titled “Fashion Revolution Day”, was named an inspiring project in the Green Company category. For a week the sustainable clothes company appealed to the public to think about how and in what conditions our clothes had been made. Unfairness in the clothing industry prompted CILA to introduce some changes in the company, such as waste separation, textile waste reduction, prolonging the clothing lifespan, or upcycling.
IKEA Bratislava and its project IKEA Talent Week
In April 2016 IKEA Bratislava 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. They were interactive to actively involve the participants. The sessions also included some IKEA career stories to inspire the others. The event was followed up by the Talent Week, which was meant for job applicants. It was an opportunity for some employees of IKEA to improve their presentation and communication skills. They received positive feedback from the external public. 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. The interesting benefits that the company offers to its employees includes 5 extra days of holiday or a special project in which selected employees have a possibility to try out IKEA products directly at home and find out how much they can save.
Sointron and its project SOITRONx – Internal Communication
The company Soitron organized for its employees an internal conference inspired by the TEDx format. The conference SOITRONx aimed to provide space to its employees and their inspiring stories and create a platform for sharing experience from other than work area. This event, organized by the employees for the employees, gave the organizers a unique opportunity to assume other than standard responsibilities. The speakers, mostly non-managers, were assisted by external instructors from the TEDx Bratislava team in improving their presentation skills and surprised their colleagues with talks about their fascinating hobbies, unexpected upbringing tips, or volunteering projects. Soitron provides long-term support not only for professional skills, but also for soft skills or language instruction. It systematically collects feedback from its employees and does its best to respond to their suggestions. This way a multi-functional playing field has been set up in front of Soitron’s main building. The employees can use it both during their working hours and in their free time.
Social Innovations Award
Jem iné SK and its project Food Revolution
Jem iné SK aims to promote the importance of healthy and regular eating. The company’s founders are the ambassadors of Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation and a project called Genuinely Healthy School, whose aim is to return food education to school curricula. In 2016 Jem iné organized the fourth Food Revolution Day in Slovakia, which involved several activities aimed at the public: a farmers’ market, interactive educational stands, a cooking school, sports activities for children, or an all-day panel discussion on current issues. 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 company’s aim is to provide tasty and healthy food to children and lay the foundations of a pleasant and healthy food culture. The schools involved in the project purchase ingredients from local farmers, producers, bakers, and butchers and cook dishes from fresh ingredients.
NOSENE and its project When Fashion Helps – Helping Abused Women
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. It turns big gentlemen’s shirts to blouses, or curtains to dresses. 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. The civic association helps women and their children escape to a safe house out of the victimizer’s reach. NOSENE decided to support this civic association because abuse is still a taboo topic that the women themselves find difficult to talk about. In 2016 the company’s support also went to gifted Roma children and dogs in need.
Slovenská sporiteľňa and its project of a social bank
Slovenská sporiteľňa started working on its project of a social bank in 2014. Its aim is to provide services, financial education, and consultancy to the target groups which no other bank in Slovakia focuses on: beginning entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and low-income groups. Its aim is to help solve such social issues as poverty, low financial literacy, or restrictions for beginning small entrepreneurs. Slovenská sporiteľňa provides to beginning entrepreneurs education, within which it looks into the client’s financial and business plan, mentoring, and bank services, including funding, which is normally difficult to obtain for beginning entrepreneurs in Slovakia. It seeks to help them make their difficult beginning easier and create an economically sustainable model which provides work to the entrepreneurs and contributes to creating new job opportunities. Slovenská sporiteľňa offers the same services to non-profit organizations too. It seeks to support their growth and social impact and helps them find economically sustainable models. The bank’s work with non-profit organizations also focuses on education. Besides beginning entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations, Slovenská sporiteľňa also helps people who, while paying off a loan, got into a difficult life situation due to objective reasons, such as a death in the family, a partner’s or a child’s illness, etc.It seeks a solution for such clients and provides financial education to them in order to teach them how to manage their family budget and save to create a reserve for future unpredictable expenses.
A presentation of the awards will take place in Stará Tržnica on 4 April 2017. The gala evening will be broadcast live by Dvojka, a TV channel of Slovakia’s public broadcaster RTVS.