Within the framework of the National Forum of Socially Responsible Employers, held on 15 November in Sofia, the NASOR team presented a developed “Analysis of the status of implementation of the Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the period 2019-2023”, which is part of NASOR’s commitments under the project “Building a Socially Responsible Business Environment” with the support of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
The aim of the project is to identify, improve and further develop existing corporate social responsibility policies in Bulgaria by applying best practices from Norway.
More than 20 business organizations and 10 representatives of government institutions were interviewed in the development of the analysis.These two studies provide useful, different perspectives, interesting, practically oriented and consistent results. From the two questionnaires it can be concluded that for the period 2019 -2023. CSR strategy is effective and gives good results for the performance of companies to be responsible.
The study shows that around three-quarters of companies implement socially responsible personnel policies, with a significant number also implementing CSR for the community, followed by socially responsible practices for education and the environment. Regarding the implementation of the CSR Strategy, it can be confirmed that companies are implementing it at a high level, including one or more CSR areas in their policies. The lowest number of CSR initiatives is in the areas of sport and the arts.
Regarding the socially responsible activities that companies most often implement, the results show that: almost all implement health and safety at work and the most important activity for NASOR – the social inclusion of people with disabilities, their employment and integration into the work environment. When they say they implement “social inclusion policies “, they define them as providing equal rights for all employees, ensuring appropriate working conditions, their active promotion and integration at all levels of the company , and implementing cognitive diversity, which by definition means including people with different ways of thinking and capabilities.
The study also looks at the different challenges companies face. A challenge for the company to successfully implement their policy is that the shortage of candidates /people with different capabilities/ who would like to develop professionally and are looking for a job. Another problem is that the management team of the company cannot be socially responsible due to lack of time and energy to train people with special needs or not knowing how to approach with staff members who have, for example, intellectual disabilities.
When asked why the company implements CSR policies, an interesting trend is observed as there are three common reasons for implementing CSR practices. These are teamwork and employee inclusiveness, good relationships with their partners, including investors, customers and the opportunity to innovate in the business, which in turn leads to the development of new products and services.
The main objective of the Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy is to lead to more sustainable socially responsible policies in the corporate sector. As a result, 60% of respondents agree that there is a sustainable trend, 30% of people think that more time is needed for this trend to be effective in the long term. In this regard, in order for the Strategy to be implemented by companies, and accurately regulated and monitored by the state, there must be clear and long-term communication and good relations between the two parties.