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Smart Kolektiv organised the 2013 CSR Forum

Posted: Wednesday 22 January 14, 3.55pm GMT

Corporate social responsibility and cooperation between the companies, the state and the civil sector have a significant impact on the quality of life of citizens, competitiveness of Serbia and its workforce, and also on the reduction of poverty and increase of employment – these are the the conclusions of the fourth CSR conference organised by the Business Leaders Forum Serbia and Smart Kolektiv on December 3 in Serbian capital Belgrade.

This year’s CSR Forum brought together the best of CSR thoughts and practices and opened an innovative and inspirational dialogue on CSR. Ms. Celia Moore, Chair of the Board of Directors, CSR Europe, and Director of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM Europe, Middle East, and Africa, stated that for communities to adapt to the new global order, a new level of trust is needed between all constituencies, and that CSR, reflecting business innovation and a desire to create both social and economic value, and embedded in core business strategy and management practice, is a powerful way to create this trust and build a competitive and inclusive future. The importance of CSR was further asserted by Mr. Srdjan Bogosavljević, Director of Ipsos Strategic Marketing, who pointed out that CSR itself can be one of the models for the recovery of society. In the context of this topic’s importance for Serbia’s European accession process, Mr. Freek Janmaat, Head of the European Integration Section at the Delegation of the European Union, said that CSR represents one of the key values in economy being promoted by Europe, that has to be recognized and accepted by the companies operating in Serbia but also by the citizens.

The participants of the conference – representatives of leading companies, state institutions and the civil sector, also discussed possible measures to stimulate the engagement of companies in solving social problems, as well as experiences from other countries and the possibilities to apply them in Serbia.

The conference also featured the first presentation of the results of public opinion poll on the responsibility of companies operating in Serbia, carried out by Smart Kolektiv and Ipsos Strategic Marketing in November this year, showing that a large portion of citizens believes that the quality of their lives would improve if the majority of companies in Serbia operated in a responsible manner. Compared to 2005, when Smart Kolektiv conducted the first research of this kind in Serbia, there is a noticeable increase (for 24%) in citizens’ trust that the companies are indeed working in the interest of society, while also an increasing number of citizens expect the companies to engage in solving social problems.

As a part of the conference, the Partnerships Fair was organised yet again, at which social enterprises and CSOs presented their proposals for cooperation to business sector. In doing so every year, CSR Forum is making an effort to stimulate the development of favorable environment for cross-sector cooperation that provides a framework for development of any society.

The conference is supported by USAID through the Institute for Sustainable Communities as part of the Civil Society Forward programme. The main partner of the conference is Coca–Cola Hellenic; the partners are Societe Generale, Vip mobile, Titan Cementara Kosjerić and Holcim Serbia, while media partners are Danas and Nova ekonomija.

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