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Economic integration and humanitarian activity: giving business a competitive advantage

May 29, 19:36 UTC+3
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Humanitarian activity of the business in local communities is laying a foundation for its social recognition, both domestically and internationally, while also strengthening humanitarian ties between countries. In Russia, it is only large corporations that are engaged in humanitarian projects so far.

The main tool of businesses’ humanitarian action in the regions of their operation is corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.

  • CSR programmes include social investments in charity funds and direct aid to local communities through various projects.
  • Companies most often invest in child support, education, social security, healthcare and development of local businesses by extending to them grants, etc.

International companies are known to be implementing such projects in Russia as well:

  • McDonald's finances the Ronald McDonald House in Kazan and Family Rooms which provide a comfortable space for parents and children at hospitals in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Voronezh, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saratov and Cheboksary.
  • IKEA cooperates with Kidsave, an organisation which facilitates social adaptation of children who grew up in orphanages, and sponsors projects of the SOS Children's Villages charity aimed at preventing children from being abandoned.
  • Nestlé Russia is implementing the Good Nutrition Programme, an educational project which promotes healthy nutrition while preserving Russian culinary traditions.
  • Unilever has initiated the launch of the Sustainability Business Lab at the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO.

Russian companies operating in international markets also seek to use humanitarian resources to ensure their successful presence in the region. Gazprom, ROSATOM, LUKOIL, Transneft, EVRAZ, Rusal, NLMK, NOVATEK and TMK have international CSR policies in place.

  • LUKOIL supports local communities across all of the regions of its operations. The company’s subsidiary that is in charge of oil and gas exploration and production projects in the Middle East provides support in resolving local land use issues. The company’s Azerbaijan branch sponsors charity projects in healthcare, culture, science and education. The company also supports the local Russian community and church.
  • ROSATOM is raising awareness of the local population with regard to the work of nuclear power plants that are being built in the region, e.g. the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India.

The Russian business initiatives in this area are typically characterised by their integration with the Government’s policy of international humanitarian cooperation. Corporations often cooperate with the Russian Centres of Science and Culture (RCSC), subsidiaries of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (commonly known as Rossotrudnichestvo).

  • The business is a key partner in implementation of Russia's International Development Assistance (IDA) policy in the regions of its “intensive presence”: CIS countries, China, India, Vietnam, Serbia and Turkey.
  • ROSATOM and Rossotrudnichestvo have launched a programme to study community needs in the countries of the corporation’s presence. Together they have organised humanitarian expeditions to Indonesia, Finland and Hungary and are thinking about introducing this programme to the CIS countries.
  • In 2016, the Russian Centres of Science and Culture (RCSC) organised seminars on Russia’s activities in international development assistance in Tajikistan, Serbia, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss Russian companies’ investment projects aimed to ensure social and economic development of the countries.
  • Gazpromneft and Rossotrudnichestvo representatives opened a Russian school in Serbia and organised an advanced training course for teachers.
  • In April 2017, ROSATOM, assisted by RCSC, opened a pilot international school at the premises of a Slavic gymnasium in the Czech Republic.

Russian humanitarian activities in Europe will probably be hindered by the European Parliament’s resolution adopted in late 2016 which aims at combating propaganda of third countries, including Russia, with Rossotrudnichestvo falling within its scope.

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