Community Index 2021: Third Edition Results

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 02/08/2021 | 14:11

The Azores Sustainability & CSR Services agency published the results of the third edition of the Community Index ranking, the centralizer of the best community investment projects in Romania.

The results will also be included in the bilingual printed yearbook, Community Index Magazine # 3.

Community Index is the first and only index of programs and projects developed by Romanian companies to invest in communities, launched in 2019. The ranking represents the largest database of CSR projects in Romania. The Agency’s annual monitoring aims to provide an analytical tool that will be useful to companies, authorities and communities when making investment decisions. There is a wide variety of initiatives and projects on the market, and a structured overview can provide highly relevant information to help decision-makers draw up a strategy well adapted to the local and national context.

Regarding the trends observed during the analysis, it is increasingly clear that the level of transparency has increased, but also the complexity of information on project results. The number of projects running for two or even three years has also increased, and companies have thus been able to set long-term goals. Projects have become more inclusive, in the sense that more importance is given to the involvement of stakeholders, both internal and external, in investment decisions.

In 2020, the projects have been adapted to the constraints imposed by the pandemic. Thus, fewer volunteers were involved, coming from the company’s employees, and the number of projects that gathered many people in the same place for various offline activities was considerably reduced. On the other hand, the digitization of projects has increased, which in other conditions would have been possible in two, maybe three years.

The 2021 results can be viewed here:

In order to establish the projects that were included in the Community Index 2021, approximately 870 initiatives, projects or programs that took place in Romania between January 2020 and December 2020 were analyzed. The scorecard on the basis of which the evaluation was made had, in total, 6 categories and 49 indicators aligned to 3 of the most important international standards or references in the field of investments in communities:

  • B4SI – The Business for Societal Impact Framework (a Global Standard in measuring and managing corporate community investment)
  • International Finance Corporation – Strategic Community Investment Guide
  • GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards).

The index was structured according to 18 of the most important communities in which the investment is directed, namely: an active life, entrepreneurship, art / culture / traditions, raising awareness, career education, education for students, education – technology in schools, financial education, environment – waste management, environment – sustainability, disadvantaged environments, sustainable cities, animal protection, health, nutrition / wellbeing, technology for a better world, women empowerment. Taking into account the context of the pandemic, a new category was included, Emergency Relief, where the projects of the companies that offered their support during the emergency period were analyzed.

The projects with the best scores were recognized with the Gold Level, Silver Level or Bronze Level distinctions.

The mission of the ranking is to highlight high-performance CSR projects that place more emphasis on issues such as stakeholder dialogue, project sustainability and measuring medium and long-term impact. On the other hand, the index aims to highlight those projects that can be considered Best Practices in their category and that can be used as an example in establishing the strategy of a new project. It is a component part of Romania CSR Index (parent index) ranking, the most important analysis of the level of transparency and performance from the perspective of corporate sustainability.

The principle behind Community Index is what gets measured, gets managed”. Specifically, the more emphasis is placed on measuring the results of these investments in communities, the better the premises will be for more sustainable and efficient projects. The index also promotes the use of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to support communities and, more broadly, support Romania in its efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

By identifying the best projects in each category and balancing them with socio-economic indicators at local and national level, Community Index helps companies and communities to have a broader perspective on the impact of their projects and how way they can improve their processes and strategy in the future.

Community Index Magazine, the bilingual yearbook in print format where the results and details of the index will be published, aims to become the most relevant source of know-how in Romania on sustainability and corporate responsibility for professionals in the field, community members, NGOs , universities and authorities. It contains exclusive interviews with renowned international experts, articles and interviews with local professionals, CEOs and experts in the field of sustainability and CSR, as well as numerous case studies of companies that can be considered models of “best practices”.

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Mihai-Alexandru Cristea | 27/11/2023 | 17:41
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