The Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF) granted its Responsible Business Awards 2013 at a formal ceremony in Sofia’s Hotel Balkan on February 25.
An all-time high number of companies entered the 11th edition of the country’s most prestigious Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contest. A total of 56 companies submitted their nominations for the awards, which was a 10% increase compared to 2012.
The winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of high level business, media, the government and non-government sectors. Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova chaired the jury for the fifth consecutive year.
“Eleven years is a long period and we have seen many economic, political and social developments. The boost in the number of entrants in the awards is evidence that these changes were for good”, BBLF chair Iravan Hira said at the opening of the event.
“Since 2003 when we launched the contest we have seen a rise of 300% of the efforts of businesses in the area of social responsibility. Our contest is not as much as competition but rather a platform, an opportunity for good practices to be shared. I hope more and more companies will follow suit and there are even more of us next year”, he added.
“I would like to thank responsible Bulgarian businesses from my heart for the support they give to major community causes”, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova told guests and entrants.
The statuette in the Investor in Human Capital and Labour Conditions group is taken by the CEZ utility company for its “CEZ Invests in the Health and Knowledge of Employees” project, part of a corporate policy to offer professional and personal development opportunities to staff.
The big prize in the Cause-Related Marketing group went to Iventas for their partnership of the “Humaneness Has a Face”, a fund-raising campaign benefiting this country’s first unit for kidney diagnostics for children.
Telerik Academy earned Telerik the grand prize in the Investor in Knowledge category. The project provides free high-quality IT and software development education to people of all ages.
The Investor in the Environment winner is Ecopack Bulgaria’s 3D Ecobus, a globally unique mobile education centre. It helped train 80,000 kids in 500 schools and 5,000 employees in 80 municipalities in separate collection and responsibility to the environment and the community. The award entitles winners to run for the European Commission’s Business Awards for the Environment in 2016 in Brussels.
Social Minister Hasan Ademov also handed out the awards in the Investor in Community category. The big prize is awarded to GLOBUL for their support of the creation of a Day Care Centre for people with intellectual deficiencies. The centre creates a proper environment for social adaptation of these people ensuring their independence, a step towards a long-term solution of a vital social issue.
AIMS Human Capital Bulgaria grabbed the Best Social Policy of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise for their project titled “Ask Not What Bulgaria Can Do For You, Ask What You Can Do For Bulgaria”.
The special ENGAGE award went to CIBANK for their Blue Summer project that changed not only the approach to kids at institutions but also the staff outlook to volunteering. The winner is chosen by the International Business Leaders Forum, UK, and the prize is granted in recognition of the high degree of employee involvement and participation in the implementation of the nominated project. The winner got price from Tim Buisseret, Head of the Commercial Section at the UK Embassy.
The aim of the Annual Responsible Business Awards is to encourage the responsible behavior of companies by indicating that successful and sustainable companies invest in community projects too as well as to highlight the best practices.
The awards are national and companies of all sizes or sectors can nominate their projects. Project evaluation criteria include benefits for the community, partnership with other organisations, employee involvement, campaign duration and consistency, innovation and public recognition and evaluation.
Over 300 senior business representatives, public figures, diplomats and media attended the ceremony and were the first to know which projects were deemed the best ones and congratulated the winners. This year’s ceremony was excellently hosted by TV anchor Radinela Buserska and graced by a superb performance by Quarto Quartet.