Irkutsk, November 16, 2018 – A regional branch of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering was created in Irkutsk following calls from En+ Group. The branch will bring together 19 federal and regional companies to drive the development of corporate volunteering, one of the most effective tools for social change and stakeholder engagement.
En+ Group, which has become one of the leading proponents of corporate volunteering in Russia, was the primary driver behind the establishment of a branch office of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering in Irkutsk in July 2018. The local branch will focus on broadening corporate volunteering across the region.
Nineteen federal and regional companies joined the Irkutsk branch of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering, including: En+ Group; Irkutskenergo; RUSAL’s Irkutsk Aluminum and Center of Social Programs; EuroSibEnergo’s Accounting and Service Center; Irkutsk Electrical Grid Company; Grand Baikal; the Irkutsk Regional Branch of Megafon’s Far Eastern Division; Servico; Nestle, Phillip Morris Sales and Marketing; Tele2’s operations for the Baikal and Far East macroregion; Rostelecom; Angarsk Petrochemical Plant; VTB; Irkutsk Oil Company; T.B.M.; Leroy Merlin Vostok; and the Novaya Dacha Shopping Center. Some of the above companies already have volunteering programs, while others plan to learn from the experience of others and join existing projects.
A survey among the participants of the regional branch of the National Council found the most common volunteering practices in the Irkutsk region include environmental campaigns and projects related to educating young people about environmental issues, as well as aid programs for children deprived of parental care, the elderly, financially disadvantaged individuals and disabled people. Other popular types of volunteering programs include training programs for children and teenagers, blood donation, building restoration, aid to the animal shelters, and the collection of New Year gifts for orphaned children.
Corporate volunteering is an important tool for maintaining companies’ social engagement and developing relations with the government and local communities. In December 2014, the most active Russian and international companies set up the National Council for Corporate Volunteering to unite their efforts and further develop volunteering in the country. Presently, the National Council for Corporate Volunteering consists of 30 companies that implement corporate volunteering programs in 7 regions of Russia involving ca. 30,000 employees.
In April 2018, the Management of the Council declared their intention to expand the activities of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering, setting up branches in Russia’s most active regions. In July, potential participants in the Irkutsk branch of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering met at the request of En+ Group. Both companies that have experience in this field and those with a strong interest in expanding their corporate volunteering participated. In September, 100 of the top corporate volunteers from 30 federal and regional companies took part in a program to clean the banks of Lake Baikal arranged as part of En+ Group’s “360 minutes for Lake Baikal”. It was following this joint voluntary effort that the final decision to create the regional branch of the council was taken.
Vadim Kovalev, Responsible Secretary of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering, commented:
“There was volunteering before. What we did was recalibrate it, make it more up-to-date and focus messaging on how useful corporate volunteering is for businesses. Increasingly, educated and successful people are partnering with NGOs and social institutions, increasing their effectiveness and improving living standards across Russia. Corporate volunteering is gradually becoming mainstream and more integrated into the operations of Russian businesses. Importantly, corporate volunteering allows both businesses and NGOs to save resources. They are able to gain experience from each other and provide incentives to create new projects that enhance the lives of people living in Russia.
Participation in the Federal Council provides corporate volunteers in the Irkutsk region with access to the research, solutions and experience of both Russian and global companies. In addition, involvement in this wider movement is an important incentive for officials and top management. In this country the Corporate Volunteering Councils have been successfully working in several cities, from Bratsk to Saint-Petersburg. There are 9 operating branches, while several regions are on their way to establishing branches. These branches in fact operate more like independent organizations, with well-known brands and unique approaches; however, participants are not required to provide any reports or fees in exchange”.
Tatyana Drachuk, PR Director, En+ Group, commented:
“Corporate volunteering is developing rapidly in Russia with companies accumulating greater experience, identifying points of growth, identifying challenges and building relationships in the implementation of their volunteer programs. Important discussion platforms are emerging, such the Irkutsk branch of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering, while many publications related to the topic have emerged. Corporate volunteering projects become ever more noticeable and vivid. It is an honour for our company to be at the head of these changes. Presently, En+ Group is an active participant of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering. The main assets of our company are concentrated in Eastern Siberia so we implement the main projects related to social responsibility there. We are proud to share our experience in volunteering programs gained since 2011 with the other members of the Irkutsk Council. This means that our joint effort can do more for the region and local community”.