The FINANCIAL — Representatives of the government, business companies, international and civil organizations along with international and local experts have started promoting CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities in Georgia.
CSR will open new ways to Georgia in European markets and support the country’s success in those markets where CSR is already well developed, experts believe.
As economists believe, CSR’s importance in developing the country’s economy and solving social and environmental problems is huge. CSR development will improve social conditions and reduce poverty in the country.
“When companies use CSR, then the state has more free resources which can be spent on other cases. This is the first advantage of CSR,” said Davit Narmania, Doctor of Economics. “CSR is important because demand for production produced according to CSR principles, is steadily increasing throughout the world. So CSR is becoming a new possibility to enter international markets and attract investors. Research shows that the companies which use CSR have better financial indicators. And finally, CSR supports the growth of a country’s economic competitiveness, trade development and attracts investments,” he added.
“The Government reformed a lot to create a better environment for doing business in the country,” said Nata Goderdzishvili, the top lawyer at Georgia’s Data Exchange Agency. “If business and civil sectors are not involved, these reforms will not be implemented successfully. CSR is the best opportunity for the segments to be involved in these processes. Besides, as CSR is one of the main standards of The European Union and as Georgia’s goal is to be integrated with the Union, we need to support CSR in our country as well,” she added.
“Georgia is a member of such organizations where CSR plays a huge role. Georgia has agreements with the countries for which CSR is a standard. It is obvious that CSR development in Georgia will support the country in strengthening international relations,” she added.
“Development of Corporate Social Responsibility will support national policy objectives, a more efficient solution of numerous internal problems and Georgia’s integration in different international organizations,” said Lela Khoperia, programme coordinator at CSRDG. “CSR is a standard of doing business. The Government should raise awareness of CSR in the country. The Government should give some privileges to those companies who use CSR,” she added.
“In EU member countries supporting CSR is one of the most important goals. Governments actually conduct propaganda for CSR,” said Mikheil Nakashidze, Leading Specialist, Committee on European Integration of the Parliament of Georgia, who works on the harmonization of Georgian Legislation with the EU one. “Business should be encouraged and stimulated with different certificates and awards. So business will have the desire to be involved in CSR activities and other segments will have the desire to do the same,” he added.
“EU experience is exemption from taxes for those companies who use CSR. Or to offer such companies preferential duties. We need to follow their experience,” he added.
Prof. DR. Hans-Georg Petersen, University of Potsdam and DIW Berlin/Germany believes that politicians should respond to CSR as it is vital for political activities in every country. “In economy and political science the technical prerequisites have been developed such as the concept of self-responsibility and social responsibility for example,” said Peterson. “These concepts have to be internalized into everyday behaviour and not be taken as pro marketing strategies. Values have to be taught in primary and secondary education as well as at universities. The leading figures in politics and business have to correspond to the ethical paradigm of an open society,” he added.
BP and Wissol Group are companies who implement large numbers of projects within the framework of CSR activities. “We believe wherever we operate Georgia-wide, our activities should generate economic benefits and opportunities and enhance the quality of life of our stakeholders,” said Soso Pkhakadze, Chairman of the Wissol Board of Directors. “We import Italian fuel from API, which is expensive for us. But we prefer to pay more and pollute the environment less than the opposite. Wissol Group supports the professional development of employees. The Group undertakes social investments, does charity and implements community projects for the wellbeing of society at large. We fully accept our responsibility for the health and safety of our customers and Wissol also offers environmentally friendly Compressed Natural Gas,” he added.
“Our main social responsibility is to support the educational system and we do it,” said Gia Gvaladze, BP Georgia External Affairs Director. “CSR is a code of conduct which our company really has. Society should benefit at the same time as us,” he added.
The Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung support CSR activities in Georgia with The FINANCIAL, the general media partner.