25 Metallurgov Ave., Monchegorsk, Murmansk Region
20 February 2014, 12:30 — 14:00
Attendance, 27: representatives of Norilsk Nickel and Kola MMC, executive and legislative authorities, educationists, community activists and environmentalists
Facilitator, Andrei Topolev-Soldunov, freelance moderator, Director-General ASI Consulting Ltd
The conference was sound-recorded with the audience’s permission. The participants received the Norilsk Nickel Social Report for 2012 before the opening.
Facilitator Andrei Topolev-Soldunov announced the opening and told the audience what dialogues with interested parties were like and how they proceeded, and informed them about the Company’s preceding dialogue in Krasnoyarsk.
The facilitator announced the dialogue regulations and obtained the participants’ consent to its recording. He said that minutes would be assembled after the meeting and sent to all participants to enter their comments and addenda when necessary.
He next introduced Igor Sukhotin, the director of the Charity Programme Board, Norilsk Nickel Social Policy Department, and gave him the floor.
Mr. Sukhotin thanked the gathering for attendance and said that Norilsk Nickel was preparing a social report for 2013. He highlighted the importance of feedback to the Company and called on the audience to discuss what essential information should be included in the new report.
Next, the facilitator gave the floor to Inessa Chernova, head Manager of Charity Programme Board, Norilsk Nickel Social Policy Department.
Ms. Chernova spoke about Norilsk Nickel’s non-financial report preparation. She said that the Company had been publishing social reports since 2005 to inform the public about the goals, principles, practical achievements and prospects of its activity in the spheres pertaining to sustainable development.
She also shared the goals and structure of the report for 2013 and what the Company expected from this dialogue.
The facilitator proposed that the gathering should discuss the following issues:
Dmitry Staroverov, the Mayor of Monchegorsk, asked Company representatives whether it was worthwhile to publish social reports despite the great expenses their preparation required.
Mr. Sukhotin replied that it was difficult to calculate direct profit from the reports but, as its industry’s leader, the Company deemed it necessary to demonstrate transparency in this field. He noted that social reports give the interested parties an idea of many aspects of Company activities. The Company views its reports as an instrument of dialogue. It may eventually change the format but will continue to release these reports for the foreseeable future.
Mr. Topolev-Soldunov added the public demanded ever more information about corporate responsibility — which is why the Ministry of Economic Development is elaborating a concept for mandatory annual non-financial reports by public companies and, possibly, major commercial companies.
Yuri Shadrin, member of the Murmansk Regional Duma, asked about the geography of Norilsk Nickel charity and the possibility of extending it to other parts of the region.
Mr. Sukhotin explained that the Company viewed support for its host territory as a top priority. Nevertheless, it would allow Murmansk Region-based organisations to take part in its contests if their projects were implemented in Monchegorsk and the Pechenga District.
Alexander Arkhipov, head of the Monchegorsk Education Department, asked the Company to inform interested parties about the publication of its reports well beforehand in order to have preliminary acquaintance with them.
To this, Ms. Chernova replied that corporate social responsibility reports were to be found on the corporate website, while Mr. Topolev-Soldunov suggested the Company to consider how to offer more information to stakeholders about the publication of new reports.
Fedor Seldimirov, Director of the Monchegorsk Polytechnic College, spoke about career guidance partnership with the Company and suggested closer ties. He also proposed that the Company to sponsor the development of a college branch in Zapolyarny. He noted the basic principles of college-Company cooperation: excursions to Company plants, students’ practical training, drawing new curricula, and invitation of Company experts to deliver lectures. He also mentioned forms of partnership deserving development: graduate employment, and Company expert participation in the certification of college leavers. The director opined that only a few young people sought college enrolment and called on the Company to share in efforts for career guidance at secondary school to make the college more popular. He also said that it would be reasonable to establish career guidance venues in Monchegorsk and Zapolyarny. Mr. Seldimirov added that his college was willing to participate in the project competition and suggested that Company-college partnership should be mentioned in the new report.
Sergei Shestakov, Director of the Lapland Biosphere Reserve, outlined the specifics of the reserve’s partnership with Norilsk Nickel. The Company has sponsored several of the reserve’s essential publications. The huge reserve, which takes up a large part of the district, received funds from the Kola MMC in 2013 to facilitate project design estimation for the restoration of the Chunozero lakeside estate, thanks to which the reserve received a federal grant for the project. Shestakov advised to the Company to mention this partnership in the 2013 social report.
Professor Maxim Shishayev of the Petrozavodsk State University, an expert on business-related IT, focused his address on two burning local problems: ever more school leavers departing for studies and employment to other parts of Russia and ever fewer taking up technical occupations. He stated that he found university teaching disconnected from industry practice, and called upon institutions to adapt to production needs. It is essential to improve school education in physics and other disciplines to make it possible for school leavers to enroll in university engineering instruction. The opportunity to establish a good career at home may convince young people not to leave their region, Professor Shishayev said, adding that he hoped relevant projects would enjoy Company support.
Mr. Sukhotin answered that the Company could not take state duties upon itself, but was willing to create new models of cooperation and support projects proposed by interested parties.
Mr. Arkhipov suggested that the Company promote such regional conditions as to make young people stay after school to work and study in Monchegorsk.
Mr. Sukhotin confirmed again the Company’s readiness to promote young people’s development and self-fulfillment through their career, provided educational institutions also actively engaged in the effort.
Nadezhda Maximova, a member of the Murmansk Regional Duma, called for the Company to prepare a programme for the region’s NGOs, similar to the existing programme for the support of public organisations in Norilsk. In response, Mr. Sukhotin said that a new programme, The World of New Opportunities, concerned all territories where the Company was present. He also mentioned the corporate Charity Committee considering applications from organisations not on the programme.
Mr. Staroverov said that he was concerned the Company head office did not understand the region’s actual problems and might eventually refuse support to particular projects.
On the whole, he approved of the Company’s approach to the funding on local socio-economic development on a competitive basis. He said, however, that the Norilsk Nickel head office had become the main decision-maker, and that made him uneasy. Staroverov said that the available system of municipal budget funding had made urban settlements turn to businesses for help. He called on the Company to use its prestige to promote a federal reform of financing for the regions. He said he hoped that the Company would attract top-notch experts to consult municipalities and promote the regional development programme.
Mr. Sukhotin replied that the Company was willing to bring experts to the region, but not before the interested parties applied for such visits in a tender.
Ms. Maximova proposed that the Company resume the construction project for a coal-fed boiler station which had which had begun as a public-private partnership, but which had eventually been suspended. Igor Sukhotin promised to pass her opinion on to the Company experts responsible for this sphere.
Vyacheslav Gerasimenko of the Monchegorsk Public Council complained of a lack of information about Company activities, which had become scarce as the printed version of the Kolsky Nickel newspaper was closed. He advised the Company to inform the interested parties more actively and extensively about its activities through the media and, if possible, help to resume printing the newspaper as internet is accessible only to a small population group.
In concluding of the meeting, the facilitator thanked all participants for their fruitful work, and summarised the event. He asked those who had no time to speak up to email their recommendations and proposals within a week.
Company employees also thanked stakeholders for their proposals and reassured them that all available initiatives would be analysed with due attention, after which the meeting was announced closed.
Zapolyarny Branch cultural centre, Norilsk
25 February 2014,
State and municipal authorities, NGOs, educational institutions, community activists and the media were represented in the audience.
Facilitator: Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Director, Social Information Agency autonomous non-profit organisation, Moscow
The conference was sound-recorded with the audience’s permission. The participants received the Norilsk Nickel Social Report for 2012 before the opening.
Svetlana Ivchenko greeted the gathering and noted that dialogue with interested parties were an essential part of the preparation of corporate social responsibility reports. She spoke about new Company approaches to preparing the report and the basic principles of the dialogue.
Elena Topoleva-Soldunova told the audience what dialogues with interested parties were like, how they proceeded and what role they played, and highlighted the importance of the relevant criterion in selecting information for the report. She also informed the participants about the dialogue rules.
She then gave the floor to Inessa Chernova, manager of the Charity Programme Board, Norilsk Nickel Social Policy Department.
Ms. Chernova spoke about Norilsk Nickel’s non-financial report preparation system. She said that the Company had been publishing social reports since 2005 to inform the public about the goals, principles, practical achievements and prospects of its activity in the spheres pertaining to sustainable development.
She also told about the goals and structure of the report for 2013 and what the Company expected of this dialogue.
Andrei Topolev-Soldunov, Director-General of ASI Consulting Ltd, talked about the principal questions which the Company representatives wanted to be answered during the dialogue. He proposed to discuss the following:
Natalia Plotnikova, the Norilsk representative of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Commissioner for Children’s Rights, proposed to summarise the World of New Opportunities charity programme and each project related to it after they were all implemented, so as to assess its effects. She also recommended the publication of a final analytical document summing up the competition.
She deemed it necessary to consider the opportunity of dividing the report into several independent parts or publish a document which the local public would find more comprehensive.
Olga Kulakovskaya, Director of the Victoria Rehabilitation Centre for Children and Adolescents of Limited Ability, found that though the report was highly informative, Company-supported projects should not merely be published in such documents, but also should come under public discussion, which would necessitate more extensive coverage in the media.
Lydia Leu, head of the Norilsk City Council Department for Work with Public Organisations, said she did not think that the present report format allowed for adequate description of the best practical actions, whatever practical interest such information might present. She suggested the Company devote a special edition or publication to the best practical projects.
Vladimir Vedernikov, Board Chairman of the Norilsk Council of War and Labour Veterans, complained that Council members and other people of advanced age understood information in the report with difficulty, and remarked that the report should describe in greater detail what the Company was doing for seniors.
Dmitry Fedoseyev, Norilsk Your Parliament Speaker, proposed the inclusion of information about the amount of disability benefits in the report section on labour protection and occupational safety — possibly, with practical examples.
Natalia Fedyanina, Northern City media company project manager, said that the company had implemented a number of projects supported by Norilsk Nickel in 2013 — particularly low-cost and unfunded projects of major interest, which fully deserved mention in the report.
She felt the report is too long to make easy reading, and so suggested publishing excerpts from it containing information about the region and the local community.
Mikhail Golub, the head of the Norilsk municipal Board for Tourism, Sport and Youth Policy, approved Company partnership with City Hall in the organisation of athletic events. He recommended even closer contacts and suggested less formal coverage of sports sponsorship in the relevant report section, illustrated by better photographs.
Marina Kuznetsova, Charity Centre grant programme coordinator, said that though her organisation had been established quite recently, it was success in a 2013 competition. She asked for this to be mentioned in the report.
Ekaterina Lisovskaya, Taimyr Nature Reserves deputy manager for ecological education and tourism, called Company representatives’ attention to the report for 2012 highlighting equipment purchased for the reserve with Norilsk Nickel funds. The report, however, failed to mention that the purchases were made as part of a major Company-backed project to equip an educational centre. She asked for this to be taken into consideration when planning the 2013 report.
Anna Bondarenko, territorial coordinator for Norilsk of the Social Partnership for Development Krasnoyarsk regional state grant programme, said that the grant competition was among pivotal to the territory’s social and economic development. She appreciated consideration for the local situation and needs, and for the expected project efficacy in decision-making on project funding. She said the amount of total grants for
Svetlana Sadyrina, Hockey for Children Board Chair, hoped that her organisation would be in closer contact with the Company during contest project preparation — particularly for advice on the correct project format for the various nominations.
Svetlana Andrukh, director of the Norilsk boarding school for mentally retarded children, said that its residents had a special social status. The school enjoys more than just financial support from the Company. Norilsk Nickel helps to arrange summer vacations, and its employees and their families visit the school and help to organise celebrations and athletic events, improve the school area, and talk and play with the children. Ms. Andrukh said that this aspect of Company work should necessarily be reflected in the report.
Ms. Plotnikova stressed that the present contest programme was preceded by Do Good!, a no less successful review of charity projects. Launched by Norilsk Nickel, it involved children in charity and social activism.
Ms. Plotnikova pointed out that The Company does not merely fund social projects. It takes part in all city events and public hearings. As the local economic mainstay, it is active in addressing all social issues. The Company and the city are one, and their unity should be reflected in the report, she said.
Ms. Ivchenko proposed to the gathering to assess whether the charity programme concerned all possible areas of community activism for the Company to take due notice of it in its plans for next year.
Elena Bogachenko, Chair of the Society for the Promotion of Greek Culture in Norilsk, said that many leaders of public organisations, particularly ethnic cultural autonomies, were very active but did not use the Internet and had no project culture. More than that, she added many acting diasporas representing diasporas had no legal status and so could not take part in the contest. She asked the Company to assess the options for such organisations to join the contest so as to have a chance for funds for their projects and initiatives.
On a similar note, Ms. Ivchenko asked the audience whether the city had a venue for community activists where they could receive necessary assistance and support for their ideas, and what communication channels should be used to bring information about the contest to all active citizens.
Ms. Plotnikova referred to the City Hall Department for Work with Public Organisations, which is able to provide a platform for diasporas’ meetings and help organisations without a legal status to obtain funding.
Ms. Leu said that there were 177 public organisations registered in the city, including 16 ethnic cultural associations. She confirmed that the department she heads was able to act as an intermediary and find partners for organisations that have formulated their projects but have no chance to compete in a grant contest because they have no legal status. She also said that this financing pattern demanded consideration for the prospects of the applicant organisation misspending the grant or the executant implementing the project in a substandard way, thereby destroying the reputation of one of the partners. However, she added, Norilsk was small enough that all of its organisations were well known, so this danger was negligible. For the same reason, she noted, an active organisation could always find a partner to implement any project if it really wanted.
Ms. Leu felt that the Company did not pay sufficient attention to promoting its support for social projects. Norilsk Nickel should inform the public more extensively about its contribution to the development of the local social sphere, she said. To this end, it should summarise the year with forums and establish open platforms, e.g., in the project fair format. It should promote the best practical endeavours and have closer cooperation with the Northern City media company.
Ms. Bondarenko regretted that a majority of young people planned to leave Norilsk. The Company and the city would gain if they made a conscious choice to stay, she said. People in the
Ms. Sadyrina said the Company should make a list of its partner organisations on its website and publish information and photographs of promoted projects there.
Ms. Fedyanina described Norilsk as a compact city. So, she said, rumours were as effective there as the radio and the press. In this sense, events like the present dialogue were able to bring information down to the right people. She observed that young people and active Internet users accessed VKontakte more often than Facebook.
Ms. Fedyanina believed the urban environment could become one of the Company’s responsibility zones. For instance, industrial areas take up a greater part of the city. It would take huge money to tidy them up and upgrade them — something Norilsk Nickel alone could afford. The state of industrial areas strongly affects the population, and this, she said, was one of the most pressing issues facing the city.
Ms. Plotnikova approved the contest nomination allowing urban upgrading. Small and medium-size businesses could be attracted to city improvement as management companies for equipping children’s playgrounds or a transport company that could establish a social taxi network in a contest.
Vladimir Bulatov, Chairman of the Norilsk Industrialists and Entrepreneurs employers’ association, found that the report made a good impression. However, if there were an opportunity, it would be worthwhile to produce it in several versions oriented on reader groups of different backgrounds.
Many Norilsk businesses — small businesses being no exception, engage in charity and finance social projects, doing so without publicity. Mr. Bulatov thought it was very positive that the Company intended to support small businesses, because no other organisation could compete with Norilsk Nickel in terms of experience. Mr. Bulatov felt that the next report should include a chapter on its contacts with other companies and about implemented joint projects. This was a very interesting theme, he said because Norilsk Nickel is a backbone enterprise and the wellbeing of small businesses, as of any others, depends on its smooth performance.
Ms. Sadyrina suggested that the Company not only enlist winner projects as contest results are announced, but also explain why the choice was made, and publish the reasons for jury decisions.
Elena Topoleva gave a brief summary of the meeting, thanked its participants and gave the floor to Svetlana Ivchenko for a closing address, after which the meeting was announced closed.