Word «Responsibility» Is Of Feminine Gender
Making our world a better place is a common task. Both state structures and commercial and non-commercial organizations should participate in its solution. The conception of corporative social responsibility and social partnership is actively developing nowadays. Tatyana Bachinskaya, main editor of the magazine «Business and Society», executive director of the Centre for the Development of Philanthropy «Involvement», told us more about it.
Social Responsibility of Commercial Organizations
«Corporative Social Responsibility (CSR) initially consisted of observance of safe working conditions, quality of goods or services, payment of all taxes and an honest salary. As the economy is developing, the requirements for business are growing. Now companies are expected to fulfill additional obligations to society: development and support of personnel, care for the environment, minimization of negative influence on it, assistance to the local community and to society as a whole¸- explains our interlocutor. – If the company conducts honest activity, performing all that is prescribed to it by law, then it is conscientious. But if the company takes the initiative, trying to do more than it should, only then I can call it socially responsible. It mainly applies to big companies. Following the CSR’s conception, despite its opponents’ opinion that it is a waste of resources for non-core activities, brings profit».
The research showed that labor productivity increases in socially responsible companies, such companies become the most successful in the business sphere. And it can be easily explained. The developed infrastructure of the region, more safe and healthy way of life and more effective managing atmosphere bring profit to business. First of all, such attitude attracts good employees. “Many specialists with great pleasure apply to work in companies which conduct not only the main, commercial business, but also a socially oriented one” – comments Tatyana. Secondly, investors, different funds, international organizations often trust responsible companies. Thirdly, consumers often prefer goods and services from those sellers who care about society, reduce the burden on the environment, try to make people’s lives better. And finally, the authorities, especially in regions, more willingly cooperate with them. And it is not even a half of the advantages from responsible business-making.
The CSR’s philosophy was widely spread in the west in the middle of the previous century. Though it is only starting to develop in our country, nowadays there are many bright examples of companies which make investments in the future. For example, there is an interesting conception by Nestle company which is called «Creating Common Values»: business cannot be successful in a long perspective if it is only oriented at profit. The company should help the society in order to become successful and prosperous. Nestle realizes a great number of socially oriented projects which are also connected to healthy food.
The companies, especially in single-industry towns, are actively participating in developing of the territory, creating a favorable economic, social, cultural environment and comfortable life conditions. As an example – the program of preventing social orphanhood «Road To Home» by the company «Severstal».
The level of juvenile delinquency was high in Cherepovets, where its main enterprises are located. One of the main reasons to this is family unhappiness. The company learned best practices, adapted them to regional conditions, created a charity fund of preventing social orphanhood “Road To Home” and by combining efforts with the state structures and non-commercial organizations achieved a great result. For 10 years the program had helped more than 9000 children to stay in their blood families or get new ones. In the Vologodskiy region there are no orphanages for several years already, only centers for preparation for family organization. The charity fund of «Severstal» in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development replicates its experience in other Russian regions.
Following the example of «Severstal», «Norilsk Nickel» together with the city administration and the Charity fund of Vladimir Potanin has recently created the Agency of Development in the town. The company trains the leaders of NCO, active teenagers and young people how to manage the projects on the forums of social technologies «We are the City!». A good example of CSR is closure of the nickel factory and transferring of production beyond the city limits to reduce emission of harmful substances. It had a positive impact on the region’s ecology.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of the charity programs of the United Metallurgical Company led to the creation of the "OMK-Partnership" competition. The main principle of it is cooperation of authority, business and society in solving regions’ social problems. This year the company distributed grants among NCO, municipal organizations and social entrepreneurs of already the third competition. The projects of the company’s employees can also get a grant.
«It is obvious that this part of companies’ business needs to be developed because it is profitable both for business and for society, - marks Tatyana Bachinskaya. – The fact that the companies care about environment and help society is very important. But unfortunately, nowadays there are not many people who know about it because socially oriented business is often equated to advertising and information about it is published in mass media only for money or is not published at all. And this should be taken care of as well».
Social Responsibility of Mass Media
Our interlocutor is sure that it is necessary for mass media to be socially responsible too: “It is important not only to follow the ratings but also strive to change the world for better. That is why mass media should tell about good deeds as much as it can, thereby motivating the audience to help others as well”.
According to Tatyana Bachinskaya, adoption of amendments to the law on advertising may be one of the ways of changing mass media’s position: for example, adding the paragraph that would say that mentioning the organization’s name in charity needs can’t be considered an advertisement.
Besides, as an editor of the magazine «Business and Society» Tatyana Bachinskaya holds the opinion that CSR and socially significant projects can and should be talked about in an entertaining way – through concrete stories, which are relatable and understandable for people.
According to our speaker’s words, in order to change the attitude of mass media to these topics we should start from higher education institutions and add a discipline «Social Journalism» as a priority one on the faculties of Journalism. Within it the learning hours should be dedicated to the CSR and social partnership themes.
Social Responsibility of Higher Education Institutions
Tatyana Bachinskaya said that in the School of Journalism in CSR and Social Partnership which started working last year training at master-classes can be passed by not only students but also working journalists and the representatives of NCO and business: “This project is oriented at two things. On the one hand, it should change the attitude of mass media to the themes of charity and socially useful companies’ business, tell them about the experience in this sphere for future journalists and editors to come to the profession understanding that the main goal is not to earn money in any way possible but to change this world or worldview of other people, and on the other hand – to train to teach this topic in an entertaining way”.
Our speaker marked that the Centre of the Centre for the Development of Philanthropy regularly holds meeting which are dedicated to different aspects of socially responsible business. Thus, on the 22th of May there will be a conference “Russia-EU: dialogue about social partnership and CSU”. The discussion will cover the themes which are connected to the regional features of social responsibility of transnational corporations, tendencies and the experience of inter-sectoral partnership of the companies’ representatives, NCO, the authorities.
Social Responsibility of Everyone
“Social partnership is an innovational direction which is being formed before our very eyes, - tells Tatyana Bachinskaya. – Nowadays we can often see that commercial, non-commercial organizations and the authorities start to cooperate for realization of social projects. If mass media joins them, then any social project will become even more successful”.
Our world will change for the better as soon as every human realizes his own social responsibility and decides in which direction he himself should go. For Tatyana Bachinskaya it is important to bring this message to the others – this is her mission. Being an active, purposeful woman, she tries to make the world brighter in any way she can. By the way, our speaker noticed that the word «responsibility» is of feminine gender. And it is symboliс, because for today the conception of corporative social responsibility is promoted by ladies.
Viktoria Ezhova, news agency of Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Irina Nikishina