WIND Hellas Telecommunications S.A.
EuroCharity interviews Mr. George Tsaprounis, Corporate Communication Executive Director, WIND Hellas Telecommunications S.A.
1. What does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mean for your company?
At WIND Hellas, for the past 14 years, we have incorporated our "In Action" Corporate Social Responsibility strategy -- addressed both to our people and society at large -- into our daily activities, since we realise that nowadays the telecommunications sector has a significant impact on our daily life, in many ways affecting people and society, from a financial, professional and environmental point of view. In this way we are connecting business as well as consumption with responsibility. CSR is an internal obligation and need for WIND but also forms a basic component of our corporate culture. It is not a peripheral, ad-hoc action but an inextricable part of our total business strategic.
2. How are Corporate Social Responsibility competences reflected organisationally within your company's structure?
Our concern is for CSR to reflect both the way we perceive our institutional and cultural environments in which we live as well as the way we set our business and social objectives. The principle axes on which we focus are:
For each one of the above-mentioned axes we are developing specific policies and activities within the context of our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Our "In Action" CSR strategy is an integrated course of actions that emphasises on environmental protection, educational enhancement, the fight against social exclusion, the advancement of culture and athletics for people with disabilities. Some of these actions are our collaboration with the MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, in a multi-dimensional programme for the rescue of Monachus monachus, support of HELMEPA, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, reinforcement of the mission of the GAIA Centre for Environmental Research and Education, as a corporate supporter-member, as well as the support of the "Friends of the Forest" organisation. In addition, we have adopted a recycling policy at all our facilities and retail outlets, while we also implement the voluntary European GreenLight programme for adopting energy-efficient lighting solutions.
WIND also supports the Lyrio Children's Foundation, Hellenic Society for Disabled Children (ELEPAP) and Therapeutic Riding Association of Greece. In the educational sector WIND annually organises the "WIND Excellence" awards as well as the annual "Telecom Excellence Awards" contest and "Career Day", and implements a technological equipment donation programme for schools located in remote areas of our country. In addition, the company supports the special "Adaptation of Academic Textbooks into an Accessible Format for Students with Disabilities" programme. WIND is also a sponsor of great Paralympic athletes such as Anthi Karagianni (track), Makis Kalaras and Vagelis Bakolas (shot-put), and Charalambos Taiganindis (swimming).
3. What is the most important impact from your Company's operation on the environment, workers and society in general?
Within the context of our "In Action" Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and guidelines of the three axes mentioned above, we implement policies in the areas of our human resources, workplace in general, environmental protection and social welfare. Indicative of these policies are the recruitment policy, internal development and training programmes, internal communication policies, remuneration, integrated hygiene programme, safety and equal opportunities, policy of quality and security of technological applications, client-focus policy in reference to advertising and communication activities that respect competition and code of conduct principles. In the sector of environment, there is the FASMA programme of measurement and control of the electromagnetic radiation and waste management programme. Finally, our social actions and policies are targeting childhood protection, health, safety and prevention in collaboration with voluntary and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
4. What do you think about the advent of CSR within Greek enterprises and SMEs in particular?
WIND is a responsible corporate citizen ever since its first day of operation. Focusing on social contribution, the company has developed its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, "In Action", for the past 14 years, in order to actively support its commitment for a better quality of life. Throughout these years, Greek reality has familiarised itself with the concept of CSR by adopting actions towards this direction. This dynamism has also been passed on to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have as their model in this field the larger and more developed companies.
5. For what reasons should a company integrate CSR concepts and practises into its business operations?
Each company, and thus its entrepreneurial activity, forms part of a broader social group and as such has an impact on people, society, the environment, economy and prosperity on many levels and in various ways. The adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility programmes is now taking place as part of a successful business plan.
6. What do you think are the most important problems CSR is facing in Greece?
The most important obstacle I would say -- rather than problem -- that delays the growth of CSR in Greece is the fact that it has not fully mainstreamed into Greek entrepreneurship, given that 90% of companies active here in Greece are small or medium sized. Without any doubt, CSR among big business has become a way of life, so now smaller companies should follow suit.
7. Do you share the view that CSR could be developed and operated better through a regulatory framework at a national, European and/or international level?
By definition responsibility -- as the main conceptual entity of CSR -- cannot allow any boundaries set by any national, European or international system. CSR is a characteristic of maturation and healthy development of every human being or creation and thus a regulatory framework could only be a restraint. I believe CSR represents a voluntary initiative of every socially-responsible company and that is how it should remain. CSR should not have any boundaries. Its results are only positive.
8. What is your opinion on our CSR Directory Greece (www.eurocharity.eu)?
It's a very remarkable initiative that functions as a source for all proceedings and news related to Corporate Social Responsibility. We definitely applaud this effort.
9. Why did your company decide to participate in the CSR Directory Greece (www.eurocharity.eu)?
Our presence in the CSR Directory Greece forms part of our effort of being stakeholders in a socially-responsible entrepreneurial market.
10. What is the greatest achievement of your Company in the field of CSR?
Each year, in co-operation with civil sector institutions, WIND implements more than 100 social contribution actions. We cannot separate any of these, since for us, every Action, each activity, every programme is important. Every smile we see is worth more than a thousand words.