Russia: State, business and CSOs should work together post pandemic
How CSOs and businesses should work together post pandemic
Rethinking values, humanising society, moving closer to the State: what CSOs and companies will stand for are themes that were discussed at a meeting of the International Economic Forum held in St Petersburg on 4 June.
Natalya Poppel, Sustainable Development and Corporate Communications Adviser at the Severstal steel and mining company, spoke of their wish to keep the desire to help alive which was very much in evidence during the pandemic. The firm is continuing to expand its volunteer movement in the regions.
“During the socialist era, which many of us still remember, people always looked out for one another. It was as simple as breathing. But then some changes started to occur in the country that brought about a mood of general indifference. Now, society values are being reassessed which is something we have to support”, said Poppel.
Poppel stressed the importance of collaboration between the State, the business sector and CSOs.
“None of us can tackle social problems on our own. We need to promote the social partnership that existed during the pandemic”, said Poppel.
Poppel was supported by Yulia Mazanova, Sustainable Development Adviser at the mining company “Metalloinvest”. “The humanisation of society is the key message which is relevant to where we are today. This pandemic year has helped bring the State, CSOs and the business community together. The main issue was that we often spoke different languages but I think we understand each other better now”, said Mazanova.
In her view, the State needs extra incentives to encourage the development of CSOs, including support from business. Ekaterina Shergova, Director of the Gift of Life charity, said that her foundation saw how interest shown by business began to change as soon as tax breaks began to take effect.
“For example, one of our long-standing benefactors, the pharmaceutical company Pulse, has doubled its annual contribution to our charity – and they are not the only ones”, said Shergova.
“Tax breaks have been keenly promoted by the Federation’s Public Chamber and it would be great if major business groups such as Edinaya Rossiya, Opora Rossiya and Delovaya Rossiya became involved in this area. We should definitely broaden this level of cooperation”, said Poppel.
Dmitry Poilikanov, Deputy Head of the federal agency Rossotrudnichestvo, explained that the Ministry of Economic Development was currently developing a modus operandi for providing help to charities which can be used by both legal entities and individuals.
“Quite a lot of people in our country take advantage of tax benefits. The idea is that the tax reductions they receive for things like education and medicine can be donated easily and quickly to charity which will help to increase the net flow of money to the not-for-profit sector”, said Polikanov.