Suzana Đorđević is the winner of the Mark Awards in the CSR MANAGER OF THE YEAR category. She is speaking to CorD Magazine about whether it is possible to be responsible towards your brand and towards consumers (society) at the same time.
Will the formula in future read: sustainable = responsible = strong brand?
The essence of such a ‘formula’ is responsibility. For a brand to be strong, its activities must be strategically directed and visible to a wider population. People must be involved in the change, they must see and feel the improvement. This is how trust is built, image and reputation are strengthened, but also empathy and solidarity are developed. This is evident in all the campaigns and projects I have worked on both before and at Hemofarm Foundation – from ‘The Most Important Call in Life’, a campaign aimed at raising public awareness about the importance of organ donation and transplantation to ‘The Unbreakable’ campaign focused on fighting depression and stigma, and the ‘You Can Do It’ project in the Programme for Education, which is intended for final year students of medical, pharmaceutical, technical and technological faculties.
Why do companies swap from CSR to ESG strategies nowadays?
We live in a deeply divided world and the last thing I would like to witness is a debate about how we should refer to social responsibility. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) are complementary and cannot exist without each other. Both inform the public about the values, activities and goals of a company. Although CSR in most instances is not subject to quantitative assessment, it adds value and is a foundation for the brand’s ESG strategy. Taking just one look at the Hemofarm Sustainable Development Report 2021 would be sufficient for you to understand that CSR and ESG are just two sides of the same coin.
Is it possible to be responsible towards your brand and consumers (society) at the same time?
It is possible, of course. We live in times in which the boundaries between purpose and business are blurred, when to be responsible and do good is also good for business. There is no successful business nowadays without social responsibility, which is primarily reflected in attitudes to employees, and then to the wider community. Young people have long been opting for socially responsible brands, while the public expects companies and their leaders to clearly and unambiguously express their views on the most important social and political issues. This is what the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, and one of the biggest philanthropists, Richard Branson, speak about.
What does the Mark Awards recognition mean to you and what effect will it have on your future career?
I didn’t believe that I would win the Mark Award. I was happy even to be short-listed for the CSR Manager of the Year. When I received the e-mail that I was the winner of the award, I was surprised and very glad. For me, rewards are a great stimulus, a confirmation that you are worth it and that you are doing a good job. They are also an opportunity to see where you stand compared to others. The fact that you are the winner among all the nominees for the ‘Mark Awards’ selected by the directors of 15 national and international companies and agencies is a great acknowledgment. I really don’t know how the recognition will shape my further career. I would like it to be a step ahead, as I know that I can give a lot more to the community I work and live in.