CSR in Bulgaria

5. CSR and New challenges for Bulgaria

Bulgaria Definitely the new challenges of the implantation of CSR concept in Bulgaria are related to:

 

1. Elaboration of a National Strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility

There are all the signs that the first draft of the National Strategy on CSR is to be issued first 2009 semester.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy has committed itself to managing the process and this can be looked at as factor of sustainability.
All the major stakeholders – trade unions, employers associations, consumers representatives, research institutions and non-governmental organization active in the filed – are members of the working group for the elaboration of the strategy.
The major objective in this exercise is to gain momentum and to transfer the vision, strategic goals and short-term aims into realistic plans and schedules which must lead to the incorporating of the CSR concept into the modus operandi of the enterprises and the general public.

2. Promotion of the CSR concept among the Bulgarian entrepreneurs

This is looked at as the most important objective. The enterprises from the real economy should be aware and should be convinced that the investments in measures related to CSR are long-term, well-paying back investments. It is an investment in sustainability and competitiveness.

3. Awareness raising within the Bulgarian society about the benefits and crucial role of the Corporate Social Responsibility in improving competitiveness and raising the social standards in the economy.

Major factor in encouraging the employers to implement CSR in their business strategies is the pressure from the informed and caring consumer.
The assistance to encouraging socially responsible consumption might be a strong stimulus to enterprise to pay the necessary attention to improving the social and environmental standards in their everyday management. This is especially important for the manufacturers of products and services for mass consumption – apparel industry, tourist sector, food and beverage, retail traders.

4. Development of plans for encompassing all the aspects and utilization of all the instruments of CSR

The owners and the managers should be assisted in their plans to turn to socially responsible investments and socially responsible management.
The research institutes, the universities and the NGOs should be prepared to develop strategies, plans for implementations and reporting instruments when the entrepreneurs will be ready and asking for them.

5. Including teaching and training in CSR as a special subject in the curricula of training courses and university specialties related to human resource development.

There is already an acute necessity in investing in experts and specialist who should develop the Human Resource Development strategies of a company including in it CSR as well as social auditors and monitors – to assist the integration of the new concept in the everyday operating of the enterprises.
The foundation for that should be laid in the higher education and the specialized training of the relevant staff.

The general conclusion is that in Bulgaria the necessary pre-requisites for implementing the CSR concept into the business strategies of the companies exist. Most of the initial and preliminary steps have been undertaken, it is now important to continue and to encourage further support and efforts to leverage initial results.

The Hermes-OSR project actively contributes to these challenges by providing training tools and solution in a multiplier approach and by setting-up the conditions for a label system at training and individual levels to support SMEs with the right capabilities, tools and resources for CSR deployment and sustainable development.

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Source: part of an article published in "Management et Avenir", special issue on HERMES-OSR findings and results, by Dimitar MATEV, Zlatka GOSPODINOVA from the Balkan Institute for Labour and Social Policy (BILSP), and Georgi PEEV and Krassimir YORDANOV from the New Bulgarian University (NBU).