Sustainability - Slovakia
Updated 04. 2010
The concept of taking sustainability further involves economic growth which covers the needs of society by creating the conditions for prosperity in the short-term, medium-term and long-term without putting the environment at risk.
In Slovakia this includes the following:
The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for drawing up this strategy.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility aims at maintaining harmony between corporations, society and the environment.
Doing socially responsible business can help companies:
- operate transparently and ethically,
- become successful,
- remain sustainable in the long-term,
- contribute to developing the local community and protecting the environment,
- establish their own corporate philanthropy.
Applying Corporate Social Responsibility
Socially responsible business (SRB) comprises an ongoing commitment of companies to act ethically, contribute to sustainable development and at the same time contribute to improving the quality of life of employees and their families, as well as the local community and social in general.
A quality management system should ensure that a firm operates to a high standard. It can be implemented by all manufacturing firms, firms involved in sales and service provision and also research organisations and the like. The system is organised through standards which are issued and administered by the Slovak Standards Institute.
Quality management systems include:
- Quality Management System (QMS) - ISO 9001,
- Environmental Management System (EMS) - ISO 14001
- Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems - OHSAS 18001
- NATO quality assurance requirements for design, development and production - AQAP 2110 and AQAP 2120,
- Information Security Management System - ISO/IEC 27001,
- Food Safety Management System (FSMS) - ISO 22000,
- Quality management system - specific requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2008 for automotive production and relevant service part organisations - ISO/TS 16949.
The law requires businesses to comply with minimum social and environmental rules.
Certification of standards
Quality requirements are continually increasing, obliging companies to improve the quality of products and services provided. A certified quality management system is today the most sought-after and widely-used method of ensuring and demonstrating the quality management of products and service provision. Certification is performed by impartial and professional certification bodies in accordance with internationally-accepted rules.
The Slovak National Accreditation Service grants certificates of accreditation for bodies assessing conformity, officially confirming their ability to perform the declared activity impartially, independently and to the required professional standard in Slovakia and abroad.
The independent certifying bodies also include QSCert.
Quality management standards.
One of the basic managerial tools for ensuring and achieving quality is the quality management system (QMS) based on standard ISO 9001.
Implementation of this standard brings:
- financial benefits
- benefits for the management of an organisation
- improved corporate image
From the perspective of the certifying body, the process of certifying management systems includes the following basic stages:
- Preparatory stage
- Certification audit - first level
- Certification audit - first level
- Granting a certificate
Certificates are issued in 6 copies, and in the following formats and languages:
- 4 x A4 format in Slovak,
- 1 x A4 format in English,
- 1 x A4 format in German.
Environmental management standards
Environmental management means a systematic approach to environmental protection, where an organisation incorporates caring for the environment into its corporate strategy and everyday operations.
EMAS is currently the most reliable and most effective managerial tool on the market for organisations wishing to improve their environmental behaviour by mean of added value, and:
- in conformity with environmental legislation, the performance of which is guaranteed by the state,
- in mandatory public awareness by means of an environmental declaration by the organisation,
- in the greater engagement of employees.
Occupational safety management standards.
Occupational health and safety management systems - OHSAS 18001 provide the requirements for an occupational health and safety management system, enabling organisations to manage occupational health and safety risks and improve their efficiency.
There are a number of foundations or associations for socially responsible companies in Slovakia:
- Business Leaders Forum (BLF) is an informal association of businesses which are committed to being leaders in promoting the principles of corporate responsibility in Slovakia.
- The Pontis Foundation, in conjunction with the Business Leaders Forum, is an informal association of companies, focusing on major firms.
- The Integra Foundation is interested in responsible business amongst SMEs.
- The PANET Association encourages companies to get involved in the community via information campaigns and educational activities.
The Family-Friendly Employer Prize, awarded by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family, is a social policy initiative set up by State institutions and promoting corporate social responsibility.
The Pontis Foundation in conjunction with the Business Leaders Forum awards the Via Bona Prize every year, recognising philanthropy amongst socially responsible companies and business owners.
The Slovak Donors Forum is an association of leading organisations that provides grants to third parties.
The Slovak Donors Forum runs the Corporate Philanthropy Programme, which strives to ensure that corporate philanthropy becomes an integral part of corporate strategies in Slovakia.
Social programmes can also be set up for employees, enabling them to choose, for example, from social benefits which include additional work pension scheme contributions or life insurance.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: