UNICEF and Azerbaijan mobile operator promote Corporate Social Responsibility though a joint conference
BAKU, May 21, 2008 - Azerbaijan’s major mobile operator Azercell Telecom, UNICEF, the Azerbaijani NGO Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Azerbaijani government have come together in a milestone conference to promote the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility in the country.
The conference “Development of Corporate Social Responsibility in Azerbaijan” was organized in Baku on 20-21 May as a forum to engage local businesses in joint projects to advance social responsibility amid growing capacity of the private sector and emerging opportunities for partnership.
“UNICEF in cooperation with some private business and NGO partners is embarking on a new initiative to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Azerbaijan. It is our hope to encourage private business to apply CSR practices, becoming a growing trend in the world. We believe that private business can benefit in multiple ways by operating with a perspective broader and longer than their own immediate, short-term profits and by taking into account the interests of society”, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan, Hanaa Singer, told the conference.
“There is a favourable business climate in Azerbaijan and we must use it properly. Private companies should work more with non-governmental organizations. The private sector should be loyal to the principles of the corporate social responsibility,” Azercell Vice-President Ali Agan said in his speech.
“Philanthropy is an old tradition in Azerbaijan. Our businesses heavily invested in public and social initiatives a century ago. Today companies in Azerbaijan, including transnational corporations, should refer to that experience and get involved in CRS practices,” said Ziyad Samadzada, MP, the chairman of the economic policy commission of the Parliament.
The conference came as a continuation of UNICEF’s efforts to involve the private sector in Azerbaijan in improving the wellbeing of citizens, especially most vulnerable groups such as children and women.
UNICEF has pioneered the launch of the CSR in Azerbaijan, forging partnerships with Procter&Gamble on early childhood development and Statoil on infant health. It is now bracing itself for another crucial partnership with Azercell Telecom – the biggest mobile operator in Azerbaijan, to ensure the protection of children and the right of every child to a family.
UNICEF recognizes that the private sector can be an important partner in advancing its mission to ensure the health, education, equality and protection of every child and it engages with corporations in a variety of ways and on many levels.
“We believe that children should be at the centre of the agendas of public and private sector entities rather than establishing a competing “niche” for children. Corporate Social Responsibility and Children is about engaging companies in making a better world for children, understanding that investing in children brings economic returns, by building markets and human capital,” Singer said.
Globally, UNICEF works closely with multi-national corporations, national companies and small- to medium-sized businesses to identify, design and implement alliances that leverage the strengths of the corporate sector on behalf of the world's children. UNICEF’s international partners include Football Club Barcelona, Gucci, Procter&Gamble, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, British Airways, British Telecom, Starbucks Coffee Company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, ExxonMobil Corporation, Hugo Boss GmbH, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Honda Motor Co and others.