The 3rd Regional Thematic Seminar in Cyprus took place on the 30th of May 2018 at the Environmental Information Centre. Eight (8) representatives participated at the seminar coming from the following organizations:
• Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (DG EPCD).
• CYTA: The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority - the telecommunications provider of Cyprus.
• Vassiliko Cement Works Public Company Ltd.
• Environment Commissioner.
• Cyprus CSR Network.
• Paradissiotis Group of Companies
• Union of Municipalities
The main purpose of the 3rd seminar was to involve all the players that are involved in the policy making process for CSR in Cyprus, to bring them together and start to discuss on the action plan and see which actions can be implement at the second phase of the project.
The main problem we have in Cyprus is that there is a lack of awareness and education about CSR and sustainability in general and therefore ignorance from SME’s on what is CSR and how it can help the business (benefits). Also, there is the lack of awareness from citizens on CSR principles and issues. The managing authority of CSR (DGEPCD) informed us that Cyprus has adopted by law the directive 2014/95/EU. The affected businesses are approximately 10 and they have to submit their non-financial report by the end of June. However, they left out from the law the public authorities since its too early for such a step. Public authorities are immature on CSR issues and more time is needed for them to adopt CSR principles and be able to prepare a non-financial report. Also, the DGEPCD mentioned that even the fact that the business will have to prepare a non-financial report by the end of June there is no mechanism of checking the quality of the report. As well if a business will not submit the report there is no penalty on it. The reason is that the government wanted first the business to start to get familiar about the CSR reporting and after to implement more strict measures.
The CSR Cyprus network mention that they are now designing a tool that will help business to implement CSR, monitor their process as well as to make their non-financial report. It will be ready by the end of the year.
The Union of Municipalities said that there is a need to inform the local authorities about CSR since they are not implementing CSR strategy or any CSR activities or if they are implementing CSR activities they are not aware of it.
All the stakeholders agreed that there is the need to increase the level of knowledge and awareness about CSR, promoting the creation of a shared and participative culture. Also, to support enterprises in adopting CSR principles, to enhance of market rewards for CSR, to promote initiatives of Social Enterprises. In the case of Social enterprises, the stakeholders and the DGEPCD and the CSR Cyprus Network, said that we should separate CSR from social enterprises since this are two different concepts. They are somehow linked, but we cannot consider social enterprises as CSR. Finally, it is necessary to promote CSR though recognized CSR tools such as the ISO 26000 etc.
The stakeholder will work more in the upcoming semester, so they can choose the best actions to be implemented. So far, it seems that trainings, seminar, tools and information quite is the most appropriate measure since CSR concept is not so popular in Cyprus business and public authorities.