Difficult times are always a challenge for business survival and development, but they also bring new opportunities for development to those who are committed to the right values, as well as the improvement of the entire community. It is clear that the global economy is in for a turbulent year in 2023 due to the consequences of the covid period, the war in Ukraine, and the announcement of recession in many countries. All of this will inevitably put companies before a test – whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the principles of environmental protection are rooted in their business values or if this engagement is reserved for good times, assesses PR manager Sandra Pekić.
Every company’s reputation is still closely tied to initiatives and activities involving community support and environmental issues, and these are often the first on the list for “freezing” or insufficient funding during unstable periods in the market.
“We all know that only one bad choice is enough to lose trust, which has consequences on all levels, from cooperation with investors and partners, through client and consumer support, to attracting and retaining the best employees.” That’s why our Novaston CSR team consistently chooses a long-term strategy – which is engagement around challenging social topics, involving employees in stimulating lasting changes, as well as applying innovation to their business strategies. Novaston has been a member of the UNICEF Friends Club for years, and with regular monthly donations it also helps the organization SOS CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE OF SERBIA.”
According to her, socially responsible business no longer implies only donating money, but also activating associates and partners to engage in authentic humanitarian activities. Novaston Marketing Consultancy (NMC), as part of the platform, with partners (such as STOP SHOP retail parks) organized a humanitarian campaign of washing car windows, and all funds raised were donated to the National Association of Parents of Children with Cancer (NURDOR). A more productive approach involves familiarizing the local community with the work of humanitarian organizations for their potential inclusion in future actions – as was the case with the Pirot Red Cross volunteers during the PULS Shopping Park birthday celebration. Also, there is regular support for voluntary blood donation actions – organizing the bus placement of the Blood Transfusion Center of Serbia in AVA Shopping Park.
“CSR initiatives and focusing on sustainability in all segments is no longer a matter of choice, but a necessary part of the business. That is why companies must carefully choose their professional relationships and partnerships, guided by the principles of social and environmental responsibility in the entire process of functioning. Efforts to improve society and the natural environment have a key influence on the investment decisions of most investors (73%). That’s why Novaston includes expertise in BREEAM certification in its portfolio, which is especially important for the part of the platform that is engaged with project management (NPM),” explains Sandra Pekić.
The statistics are inexorable – two-thirds of respondents in all relevant surveys say that they would not do business with or use the services of a company that has views contrary to theirs, especially on issues of human rights, ecology, and social justice. At the same time, their expectation that the ethics of the brand should be transparent is added to that. Estimates are that during 2023, the need for continuous support to non-profit organizations through donations of money, products, and services will grow even more so that the business environment and society as a whole would come out of the recession with as few consequences as possible.