Current status and the perspectives
The working on National CSR Strategy development is being carrying out by the Initiative group . It works at the civil platform basis, is open to join and to cooperate. Initiative group currently unites more than 120 participants, representing companies (international and national business), employers’ organizations, trade unions, civil society organizations, MPs and government representatives. High representation level, as well as views’ consolidation within the Initiative participants regarding the ideology of the CSR Strategy text allows us to expect that in the near future we will be able to submit to the President of Ukraine the final text of the National CSR strategy in Ukraine, which will be considered to be significant achievement for all of participants!
The work of the Initiative group relies on the principles of transparency and openness. We invite all the stakeholders to cooperation. If you are willing to join us, please send a message with the brief description of your interest on this email email@example.com. Also you may follow our news on facebook page. We will be happy to see all those interested in cooperation!
Really brief historical overview
Starting from 2000s the proactive western-oriented national and international business in Ukraine has implemented a practice of corporate social responsibility in the country. Approximately by 2006-8 the number of practices and influence they produced had gained sufficient critical weight in order to push the “necessity to make a framework design” for certain CSR concept formalization in the country, as well as to define ways for further development. There were too much, both positive and negative, drivers for doing this. From one side, business began to increasingly understand its place and role in society, and actively to adopt the best practices of cooperation with society (the CSR specifics in Ukraine is described in detail in my article: “CSR in Ukraine: a cynical utilitarianism or Aristotelian ‘Common Good’?”) From other – there were some unsystematic and unsuccessful attempts of state regulation.
Meeting the emerging society request, different kinds of initiatives with the purpose for normative basis development in the area of corporate social responsibility have arisen in Ukraine.
- 2009 – following the initiative of a number of public organizations, Parliament setting have taken a place.
- Under the Parliamentary Committee on entrepreneurship and industry police, the Council on CSR Strategy concept development was established, where various stakeholders were invited to participate
- 2009-2010 – 4 sessions of Committee have taken a places and the Concept draft was prepared
- 2011-2013 Discussion of the draft Concept with various stakeholders (journalists, state agencies, business community etc.)
- At the meantime, the advocacy work with government authorities to adopt the Concept (letters, analytical and promotional materials publications, etc.) was carrying out.
- June 2013 – Presidential decree and establishment of Working group on development of the National CSR Strategy in Ukraine under the Coordination Council on support of civil society development at the Administration of the President of Ukraine (September 2013).
The presidential decree in June 2013 was the key milestone. According to the Decree, the Working group under the Coordination Council on support of civil society development at the Administration of the President of Ukraine was established. Despite the attempts to carry out the work in a semi-open regime, we were able to expand the number of participant upto 30 persons, as well as to select and approve secretaries by open voting (Rostislav Kurinko and Anna Danyluk), and start the activity. We managed to develop a common approach to the text formation, to consider all risks and opportunities, to develop a sustainable format of the future strategy, as well as structure and an intermediate version of the Strategy text. We weren’t able to finish this work because of beginning of the active phase of the confrontation between society and government in Ukraine, which later grew into a revolution.
There a collaborative work with various stakeholders at the country level was carried out for the next two years, which, unfortunately, led to no significant shifts or results.
The resumption of the group’s activity
Over the past 2 years there was an active growth of the CSR movement on the outside at the international arena. Following the adoption of CSR Strategy at EU level, majority of the Stock Exchanges have joined together in order to promote CSR among listed companies. 26 of the 27 EU countries have accepted CSR Strategy or indicate the importance of the issue within the broader strategy for growth and employment. As for issue of mandatory disclosure of non-financial information by companies and states-EU members, check my previous publication “EU Directive on disclosure of non-financial information: all what you wanted to ask“.
Moreover, for the last 2 years Ukraine has plunged into strong economic crisis, enforced by the Crimea annexion and the military actions in the East. At the same time, Ukraine signed an agreement on political association with the EU, and beginning from 1 January 2016, Free Trade Area came into a force, where the entire section is dedicated to the issues of sustainable development, CSR and Trade. (see Chapter 13 Trade and sustainable development).
For my opinion, this document should become a new crucial driver to the CSR development in the country, in particular, the adoption of the National CSR strategy.
In response to the new situation concerning emerging issues around CSR in Ukraine, at the beginning of February 2016, I addressed the group created in 2013 at the Presidential Administration, as well as to other stakeholders, with a proposal to renew the work of the group. The proposal received a strong support, and 9 February 2016, the new group comprising of 76 members took a part in the orientation meeting, where we, by means of open voting, took some important decisions:
– to resume group’s work regarding Ukrainian National CSR Strategy development;
– to take achievements of the working group in 2013 as a basis, in particular the draft text Strategy, in order to ensure the work legacy;
– to organize the group’s work in open for joining way;
– to organize the group’s work at an independent civil platform in order to avoid the conflict of interest, which, in turns, allows us to collaborate with various stakeholders including government.
– to go beyond the frames of writing the text of the Strategy and to expand the working group activities to the area of public CSR topics advocacy in Ukraine.
– to reconfirm positions of the Secretary – Rostislav Kurinko and the Head of the group – Vitaly Kulik in order to coordinate the group’s activities
The ideology of National CSR Strategy in Ukraine
To cut a long story short, the result of intense debate in 2013 was understanding that in order to develop a suitable for all sides document, we need to transfer the concretization (including tools) into a separate document (the action plan for the Cabinet of Ministers). As for the content, the document should answer objectives of a common conceptual framework as well as indicate promising areas of CSR development in Ukraine. In this case the object of strategy should be authorities, which, in turn, have to create appropriate conditions under which business will benefit from being a social responsible.
Short presentation of framework approaches to the Strategy text preparation here.