Representatives of 48 businesses operating in Bulgaria gathered in Sofia on January 29 for the official launch of the Global Compact in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov delivered the opening address to the meeting of more than 250 participants. “Throughout the last decade the transition came at a high price,” Mr. Parvanov said,” and the highest price has been paid by the people and nature of the country. Now the members of the Bulgarian business community ought to show a new face, namely the one of socially responsible entrepreneurs.”
On behalf of the business community, Ivo Prokopiev stressed the growing need for change in the way business is being conducted in Bulgaria. He pointed out that adopting higher business ethics would preserve local entrepreneurs' freedom of action. “Bulgarian business needs to be honest, transparent, and objective”, said Maxim Behar, Chairman of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF).
The forum, organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and eight Bulgarian business associations, provided an opportunity for panel discussions and best practices presentations by business leaders, government ministers, and UNDP officials.
Both large and small enterprises used the gathering for sharing experiences. Several best practise case studies provided ample evidence that corporate social responsibility makes sense and leads to good results.
In addition to numerous Bulgarian companies, the country's business associations and employers’ organizations have expressed the intent to further raise awareness of the Global Compact principles among their members, to promote the use of codes of conducts and to hold an annual Global Compact forum to share best practices and explore action plans.
“I hope that today will be the first step in planning concrete projects and forging lasting partnerships that will help foster the Global Compact principles in Bulgaria”, stated UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Marta Ruedas. She added that UNDP is currently considering a number of potential partnership projects and suggested that the business community establish a Bulgarian Global Compact network to identify and implement them.