We know the finalists of the Via Bona Slovakia 2020
Out of 71 submitted projects, the independent committee selected 21 for the finals. This year, the Pontis Foundation will present an award for responsible entrepreneurship in seven categories.
Fifty small, medium and large companies applied for the award for responsible entrepreneurship and corporate philanthropy. We received 71 nominations, which is the most since 2016. Most companies applied in the categories of Good Partner of the Community and Green Company. Furthermore, the number of submitted projects was high also in the category of Outstanding Employer, which aims to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Independent evaluation committees decided that 21 nominations advance to the finals of Via Bona Slovakia 2020. In this 23rd year, the Pontis Foundation will present awards in seven categories. Besides, it will present a special Well-Governed Company Award and a Public Choice Award.
Responsible Large Company
Plzeňský Prazdroj Slovakia
The corporate strategy of Plzeňský Prazdroj Slovakia has long focused primarily on sustainable entrepreneurship. To step up efforts in this field, they have adopted a new sustainable development strategy until 2030. One of the company’s key objectives is carbon neutrality and the transition to electricity from renewable sources, as well as waste minimisation and equal opportunities. During 2020, Plzeňský Prazdroj focused mainly on its customers, to whom they provided a series of rescue packages and measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their businesses. In cooperation with the Secondary Vocational School of Trade and Services in Prešov, they opened a three-year study course, the only one of its kind in Slovakia, for the third time now. In this way, they actively contribute to the sustainability and progress of the Slovak brewing industry. The company buys barley only from domestic producers. Hence, it not only supports Slovak growers and thus the development of local communities, but at the same time, thanks to the short distances for transport, it also does not burden the environment excessively. The company pays special attention to “alcohol responsibility”. The company is one of the strictest brewers in the industry, which applies rules beyond what is required by law. Throughout the year, it also raises awareness of the prevention of alcohol consumption by minors and irresponsible drinking by adults.
The bank’s strategic fields have long been innovation, technology, education and the arts. It designs its banking products primarily as digital, with minimal impact on the environment. In 2020, the bank became a co-founder of the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies. Within the employment strategy, it focuses on the expansion of various forms of work, the flexibility of the workspace and the development of employees in terms of professional, human and mental aspects. Tatra Bank was also actively involved in mitigating the effects of the pandemic. It donated 500,000 euros to fight the coronavirus, supported 400 medical and social facilities and donated 150,000 euros to more than 50 cultural institutions in Bratislava. In difficult times, the bank kept in mind its clients and, through the unique service entitled My Doctor, provided them with exclusive healthcare benefits and online diagnosis of disease symptoms. Instead of Christmas gifts for clients, the bank decided to buy the work of the artist Roman Ondák, worth 100,000 euros, for the Slovak National Gallery, which is a gift to both the present and future generations. In the field of the environment, it focuses on the support of electromobility and green transport of employees, the use of green energy from renewable sources and the support of the zero waste lifestyle of the young generation.
Tesco Stores SR
In its strategy of responsible entrepreneurship, Tesco Stores SR focuses primarily on solving social and environmental challenges. In 2019, as the first retailer in Central Europe, it succeeded to donate unsold food from all its stores in Slovakia. To bring about positive change in society, the company creates platforms for cross-sectoral cooperation so that it can help in critical places in time. The company actively encourages colleagues to volunteer to get to know the needs of local communities. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of a safe working environment. Tesco Stores SR has invested over 14 million euros in the comprehensive protection of employees and customers. It also provided employees who belonged to vulnerable groups with paid leave in the weeks of the worst situation. Further, the company actively supports local suppliers. As the first retail chain, it introduced a shortened invoice maturity for small suppliers and has long been one of the chains with the highest volume of Slovak foods. One of the key pillars of the company’s CSR strategy is environmental protection. Thanks to efforts to reduce food waste, it has reduced its carbon footprint in Slovakia by 32% compared to 2015. It also puts great emphasis on supporting communities. Hence, every year, it announces calls in the grant programme entitled ‘You Decide, We Help‘, thanks to which even smaller organisations have a chance to implement their ideas.
Responsible Medium/Small Company
The social enterprise AfB focuses on the renovation of discarded hardware from Slovak companies (laptops, computers, tablets), prolongs its life, and thus contributes to the protection of the environment. The company mainly employs people with disabilities and promotes an individual approach. The work environment and a specific job position are fully adapted to the needs of the employee. The company provides a chance for long-term employment and adequate remuneration, especially for people with disabilities who were previously unemployed or performed unskilled work. Even when choosing suppliers, the company focuses on people with disabilities (legal services are provided by a lawyer who is in a wheelchair, the translator is blind, etc.). In its activities, it also emphasis on environmental friendliness. Almost no waste is generated during renovation. The company tries to use all components and return them to the cycle, thus minimising the generation of waste. Every year, the company also helps non-profit organisations and schools, either by renting/donating laptops and tablets or by providing services.
ARES started as a distributor of children’s magazines, employing disabled persons. Later, it decided on a new direction and, for several years, it has been providing products and services to overcome architectural barriers for the disabled and seniors with reduced mobility. Since 1997, it has also operated a sheltered workshop. The company considers fairness and decency to be the basic principles of its business. It aims to provide people with reduced mobility with a full life and allow complete integration into society. In relation to clients, the company focuses not only on tailor-made solutions but also on educational and consulting activities for better orientation in legislation. It organises various presentations and exhibitions for its customers, and regularly sends them useful information. The company’s premises are barrier-free and fully adapted for people with disabilities, who make up 25% of all employees. Employee satisfaction is crucial for ARES. The company supports the principle of continuous education and development and allows its employees to participate in the development of new products. Hence, fluctuations in the company are minimal, and 70% of employees have been working there for over ten years. As part of responsible entrepreneurship, they keep in mind the protection of the environment. The company uses 95% recyclable materials in its products and facilities.
Over the last few years, Zľavomat has undergone a complete reconstruction of its corporate strategy, focusing on responsible entrepreneurship. The company’s philosophy is to teach people to discover new and interesting places in Slovakia. By promoting local regions, it contributes to the responsible development of domestic tourism. During the pandemic, the company responded very flexibly and quickly to the changing situation and customer needs. It extended the validity of travel offers to one year, converted reservations into open vouchers and brought a guarantee of free cancellation even two days before the beginning of the stay. It also supported its business partners in a difficult situation by appealing to people to spend holidays safely, throughout its entire marketing communication (campaigns, videos, etc.). The company also transformed its values and ethics into the way they conducted their business in critical situations. During the pandemic, it refused to sell facemasks at an increased price, ended cooperation with the beauty salon, which had deprecatory comments on the bodies of its customers, and rejected suppliers with negative reviews from customers. Besides all its activities to support tourism, Zľavomat also keeps the community in mind. It does so through an e-shop which allows customers to buy vouchers to support non-profit organisations (100% of the amount goes to the target group), round your purchase and contribute to a philanthropic project or buy a voucher from a social business or sheltered workshop.
IKEA Bratislava with the Second Life for Christmas Trees project
Every year, IKEA gives its customers the opportunity to bring used Christmas trees back to the store, where it collects them and sends them to the incinerator for ecological recovery. In 2020, however, the company focused on how they can reuse the trees. They teamed up with IKEA Industry in Malacky, which turned Christmas trees into a fiberboard. They then used it to make furniture, specifically bookshelves. By reusing valuable material, the company not only minimises waste but also does not put more pressure on natural resources and hence reduces its carbon footprint. Customers thus have the opportunity not only to dispose of their Christmas trees ecologically but also to give them a second life in the form of a new product.
Sensoneo with the WatchDog project
Sensoneo focuses on the development of innovative solutions for waste management. When adapting their solutions in various countries, they recognised the critical challenges facing local governments in the field of waste management. Furthermore, current solutions in the market present barriers for cities and towns. They combine different types of reading devices and fail to prevent human factors from influencing data. Therefore, the company has created WatchDog, a technological tool that helps local authorities to make the waste management process more transparent. The technology automatically and accurately records all operations which take place during waste collection. Also, it does not require manual operation or readers, which significantly optimises the costs of self-government.
Henkel with the project entitled Support for Employees Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
Globally, Henkel is defined as a family business. The majority of its employees are women, who play an important role in the sustainability and continuity of many corporate activities. In reaction to the continuous increase in the number of employees on maternity leave, the company has created a comprehensive programme to support the return from maternity and parental leave. It lies mainly in the active cooperation of the HR department, company management and the employees returning to work, as well as in providing favourable working conditions which allow combining work and personal life, the opportunity to return to the original managerial positions and financial compensation after returning from parental leave. Being able to place a child in a Henkel nursery is also a decisive factor. With these steps, the company seeks to contribute to streamlining the recruitment process and filling open positions with employees who know the corporate environment, have relevant experience and adapt to the work-life incomparably faster. The result of the comprehensive support programme is the growing success of returning after maternity or parental leave (in 2020, it was 96%) and the interest of female employees to return to work before the parental leave expires.
Tesco Stores SR with the project Tesco Welcomes Everyone
At Tesco Stores SR, they value the uniqueness of each colleague and treat everyone with respect. They perceive the promotion of inclusion and diversity as an integral part of their corporate culture. They have been addressing the topic more strategically since 2018. In 2020, they launched a comprehensive programme to strengthen the culture of diversity and inclusion. It culminated in the three-week-long Diversity Festival, attended by more than 2,000 employees. The online event was accompanied by various lectures, webinars and training sessions on the topic of D&I, specifically aimed at target groups, such as senior and junior colleagues, women-mothers, people with disabilities and LGBT. Besides, they also introduced targeted benefits within the programme, tailored to the needs of employees. They increased the number of employees with disabilities and retrained all colleagues in creating an inclusive environment in the workplace. In the field of gender equality and equal opportunities, Tesco prepared an in-depth report on the pay gap, which it will publish as the only retail chain in the Slovak Republic. Thanks to these measures, Tesco employees provided the best feedback in the company’s history. 87% of them agree that the company is becoming a more inclusive place to work.
Wasco with the Helpful Laundry project
Wasco is a cooperative, which was created in 2015 by the Association of Young Roma (civic association). It operates a social enterprise which provides laundry and ironing services in the village of Valaská near Brezno. It currently employs 31 people, bringing together people with disabilities and hard-to-employ people, mainly single mothers, Roma and people who had not worked for years. It provides its services to hospitals and social services homes. Besides adequately remunerated work, the company also provides employees with enhanced initial training, training focused on the development of work skills, social counselling and joint community activities. Employees also have the opportunity to develop and hold senior positions in the operation of the company. Wasco is also part of the Multifunctional Opportunities Centre, which focuses on educating and helping the community. At the same time, the centre also forms the first self-sustaining model of employment assistance for vulnerable groups.
Good Partner of the Community
Accenture with the TECH4GOOD project: Partnership with Way Out civic association and the OMAMA application
It is almost impossible to break out of the cycle of generational poverty without the right incentives. This is proved by many examples of the population living in marginalised Roma communities in Slovakia. The civic association Way Out addresses this issue by training Omamas (women from communities) in settlements so that they can help parents with the proper development of their children at an early age. All to improve their readiness when starting school or kindergarten. Accenture supports the organisation at the strategic partnership level. In addition to the support through the Employee Grant Programme and a financial donation, it has also helped pro bono by developing the OMAMA application. The unique technological solution streamlines the collection of data on omamas’ activities, allows them to plan their lessons in families, records attendance or hours worked and measure the progress of clients. The application unburdens omamas from time-consuming administration and develops their digital skills. Furthermore, its control is simple and clear.
DXC Technology with the DXC project helps schools with online teaching
As a result of the pandemic, school education was conducted in a form of distance learning. However, many schools were not prepared for the new situation. They lacked the necessary technology, tools and knowledge on how to educate children at a distance. The company DXC Technology responded to this situation. It decided to use the expertise of its employees, who have become IT ambassadors in schools. They helped with school domain registration, Office 365 implementation and connection to MS Teams. They also provided teachers with several hours of training on the practical use of these tools for distance learning. The project has helped more than 40 schools, 300 teachers with an impact on thousands of pupils and students. The company also donated more than 200 computers to enable children with limited access to online education to participate in education.
Orange Slovakia with the project Mental Health – Help Does Exist
Mental health in Slovakia has long been an underestimated topic, which became only more visible and bulging during the pandemic. Orange Slovakia focuses on it strategically and has responded to alarming data on the long-term effects of the pandemic on mental health since the beginning of the crisis. Helplines, such as the civic association IPčko, turned to them with a request to create a new helpline for distance counselling. The company thus created a new call centre and modified the IPčko’s application for video consulting, which had previously taken place via chat and email. The capacity of the Child Safety Line and the League for Mental Health was also strengthened. The initiative www.pomozeme-krizovelinky.sk, which was created in addition to the project, organised a public roundtable with representatives of relevant ministries on the need for a system solution. The project aims to contribute to the prevention and destigmatisation of mental health, to raise awareness in this field and to make visible various forms of assistance which are available to each of us.
Socially Innovative Company
Nádvorie with the Courtyard project
The Courtyard project, a space for contemporary culture, was created as an initiative by Miroslav and Michal Trnkovec. It is a space with quality architecture in the centre of Trnava, where they organise dozens of (not only) cultural events. The courtyard provides space for a community centre, local radio, cultural centre, coworking, craft bakery and gastronomic services. The main part of the activities is scholarship programmes. They offer students of universities in Trnava the opportunity for development through personal mentoring, training, workshops and an active community. Young enthusiastic creators, freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to help Trnava and its surroundings are provided with a mentor, a place in the coworking space, workshops and access to various events. The courtyard is a positive example of a project run by a private person, which has become an absolute part of what is happening in the town and contributes to the development of the local community.
NATUR PACK with the YouTube project NATUR PACK portal
NATUR PACK has long established itself as an innovator in the field of environmental education and strives to be a leader in the education of producers and the public. However, the company was only able to work with a limited number of participants at its seminars and at the same time did not have a sufficient number of lecturers who could work with hundreds of local governments. The most effective tool for education has become a YouTube portal, through which the company has been publishing its video reportages since 2017 on topics such as waste sorting, recycling, zero waste concept and waste prevention, as well as online seminars for clients – manufacturers. It is the first independent YouTube portal in Slovakia, which comprehensively deals with the issue of waste and helps educate the general public, including municipalities, schools and teachers, as well as producers who finance waste sorting and recycling in Slovakia.
Fair Market Player
Plzeňský Prazdroj Slovakia with the DAY 1 project – Support for the gastro sector during the pandemic
The business of Plzeňský Prazdroj Slovakia is based on a long-term partnership with the gastro sector, which significantly exceeds the supplier-customer relationship. During the pandemic, the company focused on financial support, information services and the presentation of the sector’s needs to the government. It was one of the largest activities in the gastronomy sector in Slovakia, through which they helped more than 5,000 businesses and invested more than 4 million euros. They exchanged all gone off beer which had remained in kegs and tanks as a left-over in companies after the imposition of measures at their own expense, postponed the payment of the invoices until after the end of the restrictions and stopped the recovery of receivables. They provided the businesses with disinfectants and protective equipment at a time when these were insufficient. In addition, they actively explained current measures and provided information services and support in applying for government compensation programmes. Between the first and second waves, they launched the largest campaign in history, aimed at motivating consumers to return – in 4,000 companies, they gave people the second draft beer for free, again at their own expense. With its scope, breadth and speed of reaction, this is a unique programme in Slovakia, which helped gastronomic establishments to navigate in regulations, adapt to new safety standards, prepare for the opening during the summer and overcome the time of the pandemic.
Slovenská sporiteľňa with the project SHOPPING AT HOME
Slovenská sporiteľňa has long positioned itself as a bank for companies and entrepreneurs. This is also why it sensitively perceived the problems faced by the business sector as a result of the pandemic. The bank, therefore, decided to support the sector through the SHOPPING AT HOME initiative, which called on consumers to support companies doing business in Slovakia with their purchases. The initiative was accompanied by a media campaign. It also used a set of support tools which the bank donated to benefit entrepreneurs so that they could use them in their communication. The campaign also included non-branded TV commercials, with a total media value of 1.5 million euros over three months. A separate part of the initiative was the Christmas Market with Slovenská Sporiteľňa, through which the bank supported more than 200 small local retailers. The number of visitors climbed to 40,000 in a few weeks. A total of more than 1,500 companies and entrepreneurs joined the initiative, spontaneously spreading the idea of “shopping at home”.
Trnava Radio with the project We Stand with You
In its corporate DNA, Trnava Radio has enshrined above-standard support for regional companies and local entrepreneurs. It has long focused on various forms of media support and partnerships. Even before the pandemic, it helped NGOs and local companies which did not have enough funds for the campaign or had problems starting a business. During the spring and winter lockdown, its support intensified even more. The radio provided the media space to the initiative Who Will Help Slovakia and the Ministry of Health, which called for compliance with the measures. It also included several dozen gastronomic campaigns for local businesses, with a 90-100% discount. To get closer to people, it broadcast from several local cultural spaces, highlighting the importance of culture and expressing its support at the time of the pandemic.
Slovenská sporiteľňa strives to apply the principles of accountability, honesty and openness in the day-to-day management of the company by adhering to the code of ethics and corporate values. It also constantly strives to improve products and services for clients, as well as its internal settings. It includes streamlining processes, caring for employees and open in-house communication. The bank applies the Whistleblowing policy and at the same time, it has a tool for employees to report events anonymously. The tool is accessible to employees via the intranet and is fully anonymised.
Union Insurance Company
Union Insurance Company wants to set an example in business transparency. Hence, it strives to consistently apply the Corporate Governance Code. Every year, the company issues a public statement on the transparent management of the insurance company based on the principles of openness, honesty and accountability to shareholders, clients, employees and suppliers/distributors. By adhering to a code of ethics at the level of the insurance market and the internal company environment, the company seeks to prevent corruption and money laundering. It also has a mechanism in place for reporting serious anti-social activity, guaranteeing the anonymity of the whistleblower and his/her protection, as well as an impartial investigation of the complaint.