Jovana Mladenović, Communications Manager at Carlsberg Serbia

Investing in Youth Leads to a Healthy Society

Jovana Mladenović, Communications Manager at Carlsberg Serbia

Corporate social responsibility at Carlsberg is defined at the global level and transferred to the local governments in the areas where Carlsberg has its own breweries. Investing in the education of young people, which Carlberg particularly insists on in its cooperation with local communities, leads to a better understanding of the importance of socially responsible behaviour, both in the workplace and in the community in which they live.

How important is it for a company to show corporate social responsibility (CRS)?

CSR of every company towards the environment in which it operates should be a given. We are part of the community in which we operate and by contributing to its development we contribute indirectly to our own long-term prosperity. Contributing to one’s community is regulated in the EU, in a certain number of countries like France or The Netherlands.

This is not the case in Serbia, but I am glad to see that awareness of the importance of investing back into the society through the provision of support to its different segments is growing and that ever more companies have included CSR in their everyday business operations.

When it comes to Carlsberg, CSR is regulated through the company’s global principles and ever since we came to Serbia in 2003 we have been independently conducting CSR activities, or have supported projects that are important both for the society and the environment.

In which way does Carlsberg Serbia realise its partnership with the local community?

Our company has strategic partnership relations with the authorities of Bačka Palanka and Čelarevo, where our brewery is located. This relationship has been developing for years and is today enhanced through mutual communication and, even more importantly, through transparent relations. If you really want to be a partner to the local community, you have to listen intently to its needs, recognise the opportunities for its development and try to give your contribution to all of that.

Our internal strategy obliges every single one of us to work in accordance with the company’s CSR policies

In the last few years, Carlsberg has assisted in a substantial number of infrastructure projects in Čelarevo, including the construction of the sewage and new wells, and has donated money towards purchasing a production facility which today employs several dozen people. We do understand that unemployment and the brain drain are problems that our environment has been facing, thus we are trying to help our immediate environment to continue living and thriving through support for education, sports and culture. This partnership is mutual and we have always enjoyed great support from our community.

Supporting education is one of the segments in the focus of your CSR activities. How does Carlsberg contribute to youth development in Serbia?

Investing in young people contributes to solidifying foundations for a future healthy society and probably the most valuable thing you can give someone is to help them enhance their knowledge and skills. In 2012, Carlsberg Serbia launched the Future Leaders Programme for the students of Belgrade and Novi Sad universities, via which we provided the best students with an opportunity to work and experience various segments of Carlsberg Serbia – sales, marketing, administration, production and general business operations – as well as managing important projects under the guidance of our employees in various sectors. So far, over ten talented young people have become members of our team.

Furthermore, we have been trying to implement a partnership project every year in collaboration with the faculties of the University of Belgrade. Last year we sponsored a competition for the students of the Faculty of Economics called Ekof Arena – Case Study. Our Carlsberg and Dunđerski Foundation has provided scholarships for students from the University of Novi Sad’s faculties of law, economics and technology for the second consecutive year.

In which way are Carlsberg Serbia’s employees involved in the company’s CSR activities?

Our employees have exceptional awareness of social responsibility. On one hand, we have been organising volunteer campaigns every year, which are used for team building and doing things useful to our community. On the other hand, our internal strategy obliges every single one of us to work in accordance with the company’s CSR policies.

Contributing to our community is certainly one segment of social responsibility and if you call yourself a socially responsible company, then you should act that way in every segment of your operations. Environmental protection, responsible communication with your consumers, labour and human rights and, of course, adhering to business ethics in all internal and external activities, are equally important.