Russian corporations ready to resolve community problems
Learning how to work with one another and building amicable relationships with business is key to the success of NGO work. This was the conclusion of participants at the recent Community Forum meeting. The plenary session on Dialogue with business: Non-commercial partnership for economic growth and social justice, discussed joint work involving NGOs and the business sector. There are positive examples in this area which can be used as a model, the Public Chamber Press Office reported.
â€œI have met many well-known industrialists, each of whom is in charge of a particular social programme. Most philanthropists try to pass on as much knowledge as possible at different levels to a variety of social groups, as well as creating the conditions that enable them to develop and realise their full potentialâ€, said Boris Aleshin, Chair of the Public Chamber Commission for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, Services and Consumer Market.
Corporations are ready to resolve community problems for which they are putting together a range of social projects, participants at the Forum noted.
â€œCorporations are starting to create programmes that share responsibility for social inequality issues with society, as well as being prepared to work on solutions to many current environmental problems. They donâ€™t just think about paying their taxes and then forget about everything else. They are changing the situation around themâ€, said Sergey Gabestro, Chair of the Public Council of the Russian Ministry for Regional Development.
However, some entrepreneurs, according to Aleshin, are reluctant to take the initiative in approaching public organisations purely out of ignorance. NGOs should therefore be able to ask businesses for help. â€œBusiness has a great deal of community responsibility because it creates jobs. Business pays its taxes but doesnâ€™t always understand what needs to be done. It is for this reason that society should be able to approach corporations, private entrepreneurs, philanthropists with any kind of demand or requestâ€, said a member of the Public Chamber.
According to Maxim Parshin, Director of the Department for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Competition at the Ministry of Economic Development, a legal strengthening of the term â€œsocial entrepreneurâ€ is required in order to get business more involved in the NGO sector.
â€œWe are now able to determine who is a social entrepreneur by using two main criteria. The first is that they provide jobs for people who have difficulties in finding a niche in todayâ€™s job market (e.g. disabled people and mothers with young children). The second is the provision of social services to help unprotected sections of societyâ€, said Parshin.
Maria Zakharova, Director of the Department of Communications and Social Development at the Novard company group, has called for the creation of a practical system of interaction between entrepreneurs and NGOs.
â€œEveryone needs to work more closely together. Iâ€™ll give you an example. People should realise that NGOs have a right to be heard and offered help. If I employ people in a company, then I immediately have a responsibility towards them and work with them to achieve results. Our common goal is for all parties get to know one another at fora such as the Community Forum which is an excellent vehicle that can be used. Itâ€™s a type of knife that can either cut a cake or be used to killâ€, said Zakharova.
Natalia Pochinok, Chair of the Public Chamber Commission on Social Policy, Labour Relations, Interaction with Trade Unions and Support for Veterans, also spoke of the Stateâ€™s role in resolving societal problems. She quoted information from an Internet survey conducted prior to the Forum by the Public Chamber which revealed that 40% of Russians believe they cannot improve their financial situation without support from the State. It should be said that the poverty threshold among those questioned was 20,000 roubles. According to data obtained by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, the threshold is 15,000 roubles.