USD 20 million totalled in CSR projects, Joining UN Global Compact and RMGs path towards being a green company

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With CSR being embedded deep within corporate culture, RMG has been successfully pursuing sustainable projects for quite some time. Encouraging regional events, supporting education, and culture and aiding local entrepreneurs are some of the deeds that the company has accomplished. To find out more, The FINANCIAL reached out to Tornike Lipartia Executive Director of RMG.

Q. In what directions does RMG organize CSR campaigns?

A. Corporate Social Responsibility has been one of RMG’s strategic priorities since 2018. The company has invested more than USD 20 million, Since 2012, to support youth, culture, sports, education, various events in the Kvemo Kartli region, as well as aiding entrepreneurs.

By introducing international environmental approaches and modern standards of labour safety in our daily activities, and the sustainable support of social projects across the country we have managed to embed sustainable development deep in our corporate culture.

The company’s long-term CSR strategy primarily aims to keep conducting business ethically, which is a must-follow rule for sustainable development. Responsible approach toward the environment, consideration of the interests of the local community and initiating projects aimed at addressing their social needs has become our top priority.

I would highlight our 2017 initiative to preserve and restore Georgian cultural heritage across the country, the support towards popular sports events such as football, rugby, and judo with the latest addition of fencing. We are proud to be representing the best in the world swordsman from Europe, Sandro Bazadze.

As a company, we have initiated several educational projects in mining and geology in  partnership  with the Georgian Technical University.

We encourage the involvement of the region’s schoolchildren in various informal education projects, such as the “RMG Ideas Lab”, History Competition “Didgoreli”, The Debate Club opened in Kazreti schools in cooperation with the Georgian Institute for  Debate and Education and much more.

Q. What are the most distinctive projects for you, and what benefits has the community seen?

A. One of our most precious  projects is the new museum in Bolnisi, which in recent years has become one of the main attractions  of Kvemo Kartli. The modern museum of the XXI century combines the segments of science, culture, education and tourism and offers its visitor an unforgettable experience. In 2020-2021, despite the pandemic, the museum hosted several important and exciting events. In December 2021, the new Bolnisi Museum was named among the final nominees of the European Museum Forum – European Museum of the Year Award 2022. The Bolnisi Museum was granted the Certificate of merit for its noteworthy achievement in raising the public quality of the museum at the 2022 European Museum Competition (EMYA 2022) Awards on May 7 in Tartu, Estonia. I believe Bolnisi Museum, which combines permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a modern auditorium, media library and public spaces, is an outstanding location to host cultural and educational events. 

Q. What does RMG’s membership in the UN Global Compact mean for RMG, and what are the criteria that member companies must meet? How will UN Global Compact improve your corporate culture and how will you make CSR part of your day-to-day operations?

A. We believe that the role of the private sector stands important in achieving the goals of sustainable development. The membership in the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact) is yet another step forward as Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, and by signing it we reaffirm our commitment to the core principles of defending human rights, labour, preserving the environment and the fighting against corruption. Currently, a team of 10 employees are undergoing a 3 month certification course at the Georgian Global Compact Network –  Corporate Sustainability Academy. Considering our commitment, toward the development of corporate sustainability will become an irreversible part of company’s culture. The effort will help us further refine our corporate culture and offer more effective, results-oriented and sustainable initiatives to the public.

Q. How did the Bolnisi Winemakers Support Program come about? How does RMG help them sell and in which market? Is there an international response to their wine?

A. Bolnisi is a new, yet promising place of winemaking on the map. The cooperation with Bolnisi winemakers started in 2018 when together with Bolnisi Municipality, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the winemakers’ union “Wine Bolnisi”. At that time, the union consisted of about 15 small, family cellars, and their main goal was to restore the ancient Georgian tradition – the culture of putting wine in a Kvevri and bringing the name of Bolnisi wines outside Georgia. The results of 4 years of multifaceted and fruitful cooperation were summed up by the winemakers’ union “Wine Bolnisi” at the “First Forum of Bolnisi winemakers” held at the Bolnisi Museum this year. As a result of RMG’s sustainable support, Bolnisi wineries regularly participate in local and international exhibition competitions. They undergo various educational and professional trainings, receive marketing support, unlimited laboratory services, wine vessels and inventory required for the production of high-quality wine. In March, Wine Bolnisi held an exhibition tasting of Bolnisi wines in the Polish city of Katowice, where about 70 types of wine from 25 Bolnisi wineries were presented. Wines from the Bolnisi household are sold in China, Germany, Poland and even Australia. 

In 2020, we have purchased an old German house in Bolnisi, which is being restored by the “Union for the Protection of German Cultural Heritage in the South Caucasus.” At the end of the year 2022, guests arriving at Tsiskvili Street #8 in Bolnisi will be greeted by a Georgian-German wine house where they can taste the finest Bolnisi wines. The goal of the Georgian-German Wine House is to promote Bolnisi wines and bring them to the international market.

Q. What projects is RMG implementing in terms of education. Who can participate in it and do successful students have the opportunity to work for the company?

A. Education is among the top priority areas of corporate responsibility, therefore we come up with projects suitable for students at the different levels of education. The program starts as early as school age, scaling up to the doctoral program. The project is partnered with the Georgian Technical University, since 2017. Last year, based on the GTU Faculty of Mining and Geology, we opened the Mining and Geological Technology Center, which allows students of all levels to take advantage of new, state-of-the-art multifunctional space and explore cutting-edge mining, and geoengineering, geology and related digital programs. For the most motivated and successful students, RMG has introduced scholarships since 2018 which were received by a total of 65 students.

Summer School, is yet another important professional development project which involves more than 100 high-achieving students from GTU. The School provides a one-month internship in RMG enterprises for the highest scoring students selected through a competition. A career-oriented project offers a 1-year individual development plan for competitively selected participants. Upon the successful completion, project participants will be allowed to join RMG.

And lastly, there are educational initiatives targeted at school students. The non-formal educational projects implemented together with partner organizations, such as “RMG Ideas Lab”, “Didgoreli” School Competition in Georgian History, and “Debate Club” in Kazreti,  opened in cooperation with the Georgian Institute for  Debate and Education. 

Our business is based on the principles of sustainable development, which dictates the appropriate use of resources and development of the region where we operate in. We intend to do a great job of providing a great social responsibility, taking care of people, the environment and the country’s economic development. We have thought well of challenges for the mining industry and have responded accordingly. The goal of us and our more than 3,700 employees is to conduct environmentally friendly, safe business.

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