This month, CSR Europe talks to Marina Stefanova, Executive Director of Global Compact Network Bulgaria (pictured right), to find out more about the development of CSR across Bulgaria. CSR Europe are delighted to welcome Global Compact Network Bulgaria to the National Partner Organisation Network, a key player advocating the mainstreaming of CSR in South-East Europe.
1. What are your expectations regarding CSR Europe and the network?
I believe CSR Europe can bring a valuable European perspective to our organisation. Given the scope that the CSR Europe network offers us, we are now in a position to collaborate with other European NPOs and operate at a continental level. Moreover, as a country Bulgaria has not been significantly involved in the European processes towards improving CSR dialogue and prac
tices and thus we are dedicated to the mission of changing that.
2. How are you willing to contribute to the progress of the network?
On one hand, I am sure that CSR Europe is focused on incorporating all European countries in its network to achieve the aim of integrating CSR across Europe. As multinational companies expect to meet similar conditions when operating in Europe, working in a network is one of the ways to develop an environment that meets these expectations. In relation to GCN Bulgaria, we are a very active business-led organisation, uniting companies that share the value of responsibility and corporate citizenship. Their individual practices and collective actions serve as best examples of a strong business society in an emerging democracy. This is a motivator both for newcomers and/ or other countries operating on the same level of state development.
3. In your opinion, what are the key CSR/sustainability priorities to be addressed in Bulgaria this year?
For the last two years, CSR processes in Bulgaria have led to the development of single good practices transforming into a strong conscious policy dialogue which has built the foundations for a strong environment encouraging the responsible behavior of the Bulgarian business. Companies are uniting, sharing similar problems and have already developed a strong partnership among themselves. Bulgaria as a country has all the necessary conditions in place to develop a strong policy to stimulate CSR as a mainstream trend.
4. What will be your main strategic orientations, activities and challenges for 2012 and where do you see your organisation evolve in the next 10 years?
Although we are still a fairly young organisation, we have already set ambitious objectives and a broad mission. However, our actual development will depend on the expectations and needs of our members as we move forward. Nevertheless, there are some concrete topics that remain placed at the top of our agenda:
1. Deepen the CSR knowledge and expertise of the companies – both on managerial and experts’ level;
2. Broaden the level of partnership, including collective actions and public-private partnerships;
3. Actively present the business perspective at national and international stakeholder dialogues during the policy making processes on the issues of Europe 2020 and Enterprise 2020.
5. Could you please tell us a bit more on your contribution to Rio +20 and your expectations regarding the outcomes of the Conference?
Rio+20 is the most significant international event in 2012. GCN Bulgaria is expected to take an active part in preparing the organisation, conduct and dissemination of the outcomes of this huge event both at local and international level. First of all we will be the only network representatives presenting on the Balkan geographic area. This responsibility is making us more determined and focused to present our perspective to the Summit. In addition, the members of GCN Bulgaria are involved within a multitude of collaborative projects. By participating on a regular basis in these network projects, collective actions are initiated, pushing for the transfer of best practices, developed through these projects, into state policies. Last but not least, GCN Bulgaria can contribute to developing CSR in other emerging democracies by leading in example and by sharing our achievements and motivation of companies and NGO members.
We are planning several follow up events to popularise the Rio+20 outcomes in Bulgaria – among members of the Parliament, business representatives and students. I believe that both – participation at the event in Rio, and the follow up work is equally important for achieving progress and change.
Referring to the expectations of the event itself – it is hard to expect any revolutionary steps coming from national states themselves. They have huge problems in conserving their sovereignty – the systems which they rely on (monetary, legislative, etc) do not give the expected results any more. I therefore hope the voices of companies will be heard and public private partnership will be one of the very important tools to be promoted at international level.
Whatever the outcomes are on the international level, the more relevant issue for us are the prospects shown by companies and society in becoming more prepared for the upcoming transition towards a sustainable economy.
2 May, 2012.