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Companies Aspire to Social Responsibility in Central and Eastern Europe

June 26, 2007
Companies Aspire to Social Responsibility in Central and Eastern Europe

A study of 288 companies across eight new European Union and candidate countries by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reveals that multi-national companies -- not consumer groups -- lead the way in social responsibility.

 

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented in Brussels today the first comprehensive regional study of the private sector's commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) in eight Eastern European countries:  Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey.  The study is based on interviews conducted with managers in the participating countries. The research covers service and manufacturing sectors, including finance, extractive, chemical and agri-business. Forty-eight percent of the respondents represent local private businesses, 35 percent came from multinational enterprises, and 17 percent were from state owned companies.

 

The study was presented under the United Nations Development Programme first regional project aiming to accelerate the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices in 8 new EU Member States and in candidate countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Slovak Republic and Turkey.

 

11 Bulgarian participants took part in the conference and Teodor Milev, General Manager of Microsoft Bulgaria was a key note speaker. He presented the company's approach to CSR and what concrete/tangible benefits it brings for business. On the other hand, Vladimir Shopov, Manager of Social and Political Research at Alpha Research Ltd. commented on "What would accelerate the CSR policies in the Region?, while Penka Tsvetkova, Executive Director of Bulgarian Charities Aid Foundation shared know-how about "Why to engage NGOs?" in promoting CSR business practices. Mr. Stamen Tassev, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum also had the opportunity to join the Bulgarian delegation upon an invitation on behalf of UNDP in Bulgaria.

The conference was opened by Vladimir Spidla, European Commissioner, responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Kori Udovicki, UNDP Regional Director for Europe and CIS, and Richard Howitt, European Parliament Rapporteur on CSR. Around 150 participants from the new member states, candidate countries and EU-15 states attended the event.


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