On June 17, 2020 Yury Ev. Blagov, Director of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Center for Corporate Social Responsibility of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) spoke at the St. Petersburg Conference as part of the Kommersant Publishing House online marathon on changes in charity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conference participants discussed how approaches to responsible business conduct during a pandemic have changed and what conditions are needed for effective interaction between corporations and NGOs. The charity sphere was among the most vulnerable under the pandemic: many charitable organizations in Russia were on the brink of survival. The suspension of companies and a decrease in the level of household incomes led to a decrease in the financial sup-port of NPOs from business and individuals, while the restriction of movement under the conditions of self-isolation hindered the work of social services.
Yury E. Blagov spoke about the transformation of the strategic priorities of corporations in the field of social responsibility and raised the issue of the value of social responsibility in times of crisis, both for society and for the image of the company. “A pandemic is a special case of aggravation of a complex of social, environmental and economic problems correlated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs); accordingly, it is a “litmus test” that checks how market and non-market players are ready for such exacerbations, ” said the speaker.
The conference was moderated by Ramaz Chiaureli, radio presenter of Kommersant FM. The conference was also attended by Elena Kiyanova, Manager for Corporate Affairs of the North Region of Philip Morris International Affiliated Companies in Russia, Ksenia Rappoport, People's Artist of the Russian Federation, Trustee of the BELA Charity Fund “Butterfly Children”, Maria Chernobrovkina, Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Representative Office of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, Alexey Kolomentsev, Senior External Communications Manager, Baltika Brewery, and others.