Interview with Vadim Smirnov, deputy CEO of NIS, for Business Magazine

Vadim Smirnov, deputy CEO, director of the Function for government relations and corporate communications, tells Business Magazine in an interview about corporate social responsibility.

24. septembar 2019.

Biznis: NIS is Serbia’s topmost socially responsible business. Does company consider social responsibility its strategic goal and what are the pivotal motifs behind funding these projects?

Vadim Smirnov: First and foremost, let me point out that NIS is a law-abiding company, its operations driven by ethical and gender-equality principles, some of its in-house standards being even more stringent than the country’s applicable legislation. We seek to instill these principles in our staff hoping to spread our business culture to the entire business community. Such doing business makes our success in operations a source for socially responsible funding.

NIS spread its operations beyond Serbia’s boundaries into the countries of the entire region, being highly appreciative of the warm welcome and support we receive while putting our business projects into practice. So, our participation in socially responsible activities is our way of expressing gratitude to citizens for the energy they share with us. We believe that NIS’ successful development hinges on the progress of the communities where it operates. Serbia is the center stage for NIS operations, so, naturally most of our funding of CSR projects is allocated for this country. Almost 3.8 million dinars have been invested in Serbia’s socially responsible projects since 2009, when Gazprom Neft took over NIS’ majority stake. We intend to pursue this path, as, beyond the strategy, the company’s entire staff led by its top executives genuinely seek to contribute to the development of Serbia, which we feel as our country, so we would like to uphold its progress as much as it is in our power.

Biznis: What priorities NIS sets in socially responsible funding?

Vadim Smirnov: The “Future at Work” is the motto of every socially responsible campaign we carry out. It clearly conveys the pivotal objective of our funding the community: we seek to empower our fellow citizens to get involved in the cause for the common good, to make progress in any endeavor. Key drivers of positive changes in any society are youngsters. We pursue our socially responsible projects in a quest to support the young by improving conditions for their education, helping them to study abroad, and once they graduate to return in their country for pursuing their career in a simulative environment. Other than that, we make efforts to streamline health and education infrastructure, to provide nice parks and green areas, better sports venues and culture offer to our citizens. We are the citizens of this country and we seek to live better. Furthermore, we hope our example will become an impetus for other business entities to make investments into the welfare of the community.

Biznis: Any project you would like to single out?

Vadim Smirnov: We take pride in all our socially responsible activities, and the fact that our staff is involved in a raft of volunteer and charity campaigns. Never the less, two programmes are pivotal. One of them focusing on cooperation with Serbia’s local communities entitled “Together for the Community” the other supporting local and international science institutions called “Energy of Knowledge”. Their outcome is impressive. “Together for the Community” is carried out across Serbia and within it we invested more than a billion dinars in the developments of the community over the course of the recent 11 years. This year alone, we have been investing 116.5 million dinars in improvement of conditions in healthcare institutions throughout Serbia. On the other hand, by way of “Energy of Knowledge” up to date we have provided scholarships to more than 90 students, 30 out of them already working now on our staff. We cooperate with leading local education institutions as well as those in the Russian Federation.

Biznis: In your view, what is the greatest success in the realm of socially responsible activities?

Vadim Smirnov: For me personally, the greatest success are children’s smiles that I have a chance to see all over Serbia in the wake of completed projects. Our fellow-citizens’ satisfaction and successful young people I come across everywhere provide an additional impetus for pursuing our activities and contribute to the community progress even more vigorously. We will tread in that path. My special pleasure is that Serbia’s citizens are brilliant partners in this endeavour.