EY Azerbaijan participates as consulting partner in first Sustainable Development & Corporate Social Responsibility Conference
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 15
More than 30 top-level speakers and 300 delegates and influential leaders representing various organizations across different industries and countries came together at the Fairmont Baku Hotel on 15 October 2015 for the first Azerbaijan Sustainable Development & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Conference. Alisa Vasilieva, Cleantech and Sustainability Services Leader in Russia and Georgia, participated as a chairman of the panel discussion on the Green Economy and Sustainable Cities.
The purpose of the event was to raise awareness among different social groups, by highlighting local and international experience and best practice in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. To this end, the conference invited leading governmental and non-governmental organizations from Azerbaijan, as well as international organizations. The event focused on a comprehensive evaluation of the current situation in the country, including development opportunities, and promoted dialogue and cooperation among the state and private sectors.
Another speaker from EY, Victor Kovalenko, Cleantech and Sustainability Services Leader in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus talked about the impact of the social responsibility of large businesses on the country's economic development. Orkhan Rajabov, EY Cleantech and Sustainability Services Leader in Azerbaijan, said: "The importance of sustainable development and CSR for the Azerbaijani business community and society cannot be underestimated. In recent years, we have observed positive trends and constantly increasing awareness of sustainability matters among business and society leaders. In this regard, the first Azerbaijan Sustainability & CSR Conference serves as a platform which brings together professionals and experts to discuss and resolve issues of common interest, and to share their experience."
Alisa Vasilieva added: "With today's growing scarcity of natural resources, the gradual reduction in demand for fossil fuel and the volatility of international commodity markets, the rationale for a transition to the green economy becomes evident. Being low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive, the green economy results in improved human well-being while significantly reducing environmental risks.
"While urbanization affords economic opportunity, it also presents significant resource risks. Rapid urbanization is contributing to global resource depletion, while some of the effects of climate change will hit the cities hardest. Sustainable and resilient urbanization will be instrumental to the world's future prospects. 'Green' and 'smart' will become important features of a sustainable and competitive city. Local and national policy-makers, along with other important stakeholders, will need to work closely together to plan, build and govern such cities."
Victor Kovalenko shared his thoughts: "What is the role of large business in relation to a country's economic development? International corporations have long been thinking about what impact their business has on the socio-economic development of their countries of presence. Large business is not just a vehicle for making money for its shareholders.
"A company's contribution to the country's economy is not limited to the sale of its goods and services, the employment of its staff and the contribution of taxes. Any company has a significant impact on various aspects of a national economy and its sectors via its own domestic purchases and the consumer spending of its employees, regardless of the size and profile of the company. It maintains workplaces and creates a number of additional jobs at contractors, allowing them to generate income and wages for their employees, as well as additional tax revenues for the state budget.
"We believe that measuring total value (impact) is an important initiative that is necessary to fully understand, present and communicate the real contribution made by a company to the economy of its country of presence."
Vugar Alekperov, Head of Risk Management Department of SOCAR commented: "We participated in the first Sustainable Development and CSR Conference held in Azerbaijan on 15 October, 2015. Plenary session of the conference highlighted on 'Sustainability Concept, Global Trends and Standards' topic and a chairman of the session, Suleyman Gasimov, Vice-President of SOCAR on Economic Affairs, spoke on sustainability and social responsibility, its importance for the country, for society and companies. SOCAR's commitment to Sustainable Development of the country was highlighted as well. The Conference reflected the priority issues such as environmental protection and strengthening of social responsibility. The conference gave us a chance to exchange the best global practice and assess the current state of CSR and sustainable development in Azerbaijan".
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EY in Azerbaijan
EY made a major commitment to the development of Azerbaijan and the region by opening the office in Baku 21 years ago. Today, in addition to being the leading audit and consulting firm in Azerbaijan, we are the leading firm in the region. As a result of our experience and competence, we have been able to assist both domestic and international companies as well as state-owned entities to develop and manage the challenges of the international economy.
There are currently 170 people working in our Baku office that serve our clients in Azerbaijan. Our Cleantech and Sustainability Services team offers a variety of opportunities to businesses, such as sustainability strategy advisory and implementation, sustainability measurement and reporting, and independent assurance of sustainability reports. Our clients receive tailored services supported by global methodologies to address issues relating to organizations' specific sustainability needs. EY's strength in the Caspian Region and the firm's commitment of resources are important to the entities operating in the region. It means that as we grow, EY will continue to demonstrate a tradition of hiring and training local professionals to be leaders in our practice.