More than 300 viewers from around the world joined the Bulgarian session, part of the UN Global Compact Virtual Leaders Summit “Recover Better, Recover Stronger, Recover Together”
The Bulgarian panel discussion was conducted in three consecutive sessions, focusing on the changes in business processes and the public, the redefinition of priorities and common practices, all possible thanks to shared common values. The participants in the discussion were Dimitar Tsotsorkov, Chairman of the Board at Assarel-Medet, Elitsa Barakova, executive director of the BCause foundation, Krasimir Nenov, executive director of ContourGlobal Maritsa Iztok 3, Silvia Peneva, managing partner at Deloitte Bulgaria and Ognian Trajanov, owner and CEO of TechnoLogica and chairman of the GC Local Network Bulgaria, moderator of the session,
The leading priority for businesses of all economic sectors is preserving peoples’ health. Common policies, like using protective equipment, strict control over access to the working place, work from home when possible, have been combined with specific policies, differing depending on the company, especially for businesses with uninterruptible work operations, like energy producers and the mining industry. ContourGlobal Maritsa Iztok 3 follows the suggestions of the global headquarters but also introduced its own measures like reorganizing transport to the facility and repurposing one of the buildings on the territory as living accommodation for 200 people, in order to ensure uninterruptible working conditions and more security for the employees’ families. According to Krasimir Nenov, executive director of the company, the strong will and sense of community in the company were evident.
According to Dimitar Tsotsorkov the many years of investing in the region, the active work with the local community and the anticrisis strategies of the company have helped for allowing the pandemic to have a small effect in the region. The local hospital, created with investments from Assarel-Medet, has 300 beds and the medical care of over 700 health workers, which allowed for the additional security for people. Sustainable partnerships with stakeholders have proved their worth during a time of crisis.
A higher level of engagement of employees and customers can be observed, including in terms of following corporate culture, says Silvia Peneva, managing partner at Deloitte Bulgaria. Ethical firms will be most competitive in the future, not only as employers but as business partners as well.
The conclusions following the pandemic, the topic of the second sessions, illustrate a change in business processes and partnerships. The crisis accelerated some processes concerned with digitalization and the shortening of the supply chain. Bulgarian firms are equal to the companies abroad and it is possible to see a change in partnerships, most notably aimed at local businesses, according to D. Tsotsorkov.
The former statement is valid for the nongovernmental sector as well. We witnessed the rebirth of charity and the elevation of its visibility, including in digital media, according to E. Barakova. The crisis illustrated what we have and what we are good at. Thanks to the infrastructure of social organizations, the most vulnerable received a great amount of support. During the pandemic only through the platform of the BCause foundation, there were more than 10 charity campaigns active and 1 815 000 leva were raised in 40 days. The crisis increased the number of activities, which were carried out by non-governmental organizations, the number of people involved and the number of donors.
The topic of the third session was the possibilities of the future, the conclusion of which is that we can solve global challenges only by being united. There’s no question that we are a heavy burden to Earth. Satellite pictures of Venice, the air in Sofia, activity was at a standstill only for a few months and yet the results speak for themselves. This gives hope that business and different societies can mobilize and achieve the SDG’s.
Together we can contribute more to advancing the SDG’s. For ContourGlobal Maritsa Iztok 3 energy production is directly linked to one of the Global Goals and it is integrated into the corporate strategy as well. In the last 17 years over 1.4 billion leva have been invested in the Bulgarian company, in order to secure reliable energy production and measures to protect the environment.
The projects which the Bulgarian Network carries out, especially “Proud of my parent’s work” and the Bazaar of professions, have direct advantages for Assarel: they exemplify how much the mining industry has changed during the years and is in unison with their public transparency, employees and the media. Thanks to these projects new technologies can be shown, as well as automatization and the investments in protecting the environment, which are way above what is required by regulations, according to D. Tsotsorkov.
“In the future, Business will play an ever-larger role in the sustainability of society. The crisis taught us the lessons, which all of us should learn, namely that society requires a higher level of engagement, unity and responsibility.”, said O. Trajanov as a conclusion to the discussion.
The panel discussion of the Bulgarian Network was held on the 16th of June, 2020, Tuesday, 13:00-15:00 Bulgarian time and was part of the Virtual Leaders Summit of the UN Global Compact, celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the organization.
Video recordings of the Bulgarian session is available on YouTube.
Video recordings of plenaries, sessions and reports from the UN Global Compact Virtual Leaders Summit will be available at www.unglobalcompact.org.