Telenor's roundtable on corporate social responsibility resulted in range of conclusions

Stronger cooperation between the state, its institutions and corporate sector, and more direct addressing of individuals lead to cleaner living environment

March 24, 2010 - One of the conclusions from the roundtable on corporate social responsibility organised by Telenor is that climate change represents a business opportunity for the economy and a chance for the business sector to fully revise and adapt its business model.

The first in a range of related events in Serbia has resulted in conclusions on several topics - global warming as an issue for local companies, the role of companies in climate change, and how to cooperate and take steps contributing to the resolution of this major issue.

Mr Tobias Webb, a leading European expert in business ethics, has been a special guest of the roundtable, attended by Mr Radovan Jelašić, Governor of the National Bank of Serbia, Mr Kjell-Morten Johnsen, CEO of Telenor in Serbia, Mr Nebojša Pokimica, Assistant Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, and representatives of the Government, the NGO sector, the media, and companies. 

Corporate social responsibility gains a new dimension from the perspective of sustainable business, bearing in mind the issues such as climate change, greenhouse effect reduction, and energy efficiency. Companies wishing to raise awareness regarding this issue are advised to implement a direct approach to their employees and consumers, as a new business method aimed at changing the current situation and bringing this issue closer to citizens, thus motivating them to act.

Experience from the West confirms that if consumers are offered with a good high-quality product with a low pollution effect, they will welcome and feel good about it.

Conclusions for CSR improvements

The state and the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning 
The state should establish a climate for CSR and assume the leading position, while companies, with a good program and required resources, should initiate campaigns and act proactively towards state institutions. Cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and the corporate sector leads to a cleaner living environment.

Good practice 
Implementation of recycling programs, a higher rate of video conferences and a lower one of plane flights, working in a green office, employee engagement in environmental protection activities are some of best practice examples in the Climate Change Program, presented by Telenor. In this manner, other companies are encouraged in regard to how to act and introduce environmentally-friendly products and services.

Individual accountability 
Through more direct communication with consumers and service users, companies will change the current perspective and bring the issue closer to citizens. Constant appeal to citizens may leader to higher individual accountability.

Award for active companies 
Tax framework should define awards and incentives for those which act responsibly, and penalties and additional burden for those neglecting or polluting the environment.

Guide for SMEs 
Since large internationals have more knowledge and easier access to information, it is proposed to produce a guide for small- and medium-size enterprises, as an efficient toll in fighting climate change.

Environmentally-friendly partners 
Stronger influence of companies on the supply chain by insisting on their standards leads to stimulation and cooperation with those which act in a more responsible and environmentally-aware manner.

Partnerships with the University of Belgrade 
All parties interested in promoting values have been invited to cooperate with the University of Belgrade.