The Importance of CSR Discussed at Multi Stakeholder Forum

On November 30, Tbilisi’s Courtyard Marriott hosted the Multi Stakeholder Forum, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Labor Issues,’ organized by the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG).

The forum’s objective was to demonstrate the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in ensuring the effective implementation of international labor standards, in meeting the requirements of the EU Association Agreement and other international treaties. Moreover, an overarching goal was the raising of the issue of CSR in general, sharing of experiences of European countries, and the consequent stimulation of discussions among stakeholders.

More than 150 representatives from various businesses, civil society organizations, government, international organizations, as well as independent experts were present at the event. The latter presented on important issues like the protection of labor standards, the improvement of working conditions, and the importance of meeting international standards.

“The Development of CSR has a positive effect on the development of the country. It is viewed as a mechanism for growth of economic competitiveness, solving of social and ecological problems, attracting of investment, and achievement of sustainable development goals,” said Leila Khoperia, Head of CSRDG’s CSR program. “CSR is a relatively new, but rapidly developing concept in Georgia. Protection of labor rights is one of the main topics of CSR, which involves the physical, psychological and social well-being of employees. The EU Association Agreement, which significantly focuses on labor rights, is one of the strongest incentives to improve labor standards in the country”.

A masterclass, ‘How to be a responsible employer,’ focusing on CSR and labor standards, intended for representatives of medium and large companies operating in Georgia, followed hot on the heels of the forum. Participants were given practical advice on how to embed responsible workplace practices into company HR/CSR strategy and operations. Indeed, both Martin Neureiter, President of CSR Company International (Austria), and Lukas Bakos, Managing Director of Maxman Consultants (Slovakia), had valuable nuggets of information to share with participants.

“Sustainability is an approach to creating value that sustains or enhances the systems and resources upon which that value depends. Increasing social responsibility contributes to a “virtuous cycle” where each action strengthens the organization and the community, encouraging sustainable development,” Neureiter said.

Mr. Bakos went on to urge participants to, “Make responsibility attractive. No matter if you’re HR, in CSR or an NGO, engage those heroes to show off. You need to find the people who can be perceived as role models; who are able to focus on the best thing, who are the givers, who can run or manage their business in responsible way [then let them be] heroes for others.”

Leila Khoperia was the moderator, while speakers included: Eka Urushadze, Executive Director of CSRDG; Iza Jgerenaia, Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs of Georgia; Ia Tikanadze, Head of FES Georgia, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung; Arad Benkö, Austrian Ambassador to Georgia; Rudolf Michalka, Ambassador of Slovak Republic to Georgia; Zakaria Shvelidze, Tbilisi State University, Labor Law Expert: Labor Standards and Labor Issues Related to Employee Rights in EU-Georgia Association Agreement: New Challenges and New Opportunities; Eter Maturely, Deputy Chair of the Trade Union of Georgia: Role of Trade Unions in Protecting Labor Rights in Georgia; Archil Bakuradze, JSC MFO Crystal, Executive Chairman; and Mari Nadaraia, APM Terminals Poti, Head of Administration and CSR.

The events of the day were supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs of Georgia.

Mate Foldi

04 December 2017 18:08