The Secret of Efficiency

Anatoly Vereshchagin
Communications & Community
Relations Director
JTI

Positive social change is the best reward for any charity project. Although it is impossible to apply conventional business criteria to philanthropy, there are several factors that can ensure maximum efficiency.

Throughout the world, Japan Tobacco International focuses on three lines of charitable activity: helping the elderly and improving adult literacy, sponsorship of cultural projects, and natural-disaster relief. JTI’s annual investments into philanthropy amount to millions of dollars, and this amount is increasing every year. Therefore, like any other company, we are always concerned about the social impact of our investment.

Nothing extraordinary is required to competently implement cultural sponsorship projects. According to the governing principles, an object of sponsorship is determined and, with its participation, a targeted program is developed which the object is in charge of implementing. This constitutes cooperation between two legal entities where all details are clearly stipulated in a sponsorship agreement.

If we look at large-scale charitable projects, however, such as providing help to World War II veterans or other pensioners, everything becomes a lot more complicated. Even companies with the highest social responsibility records cannot keep track of all the issues in our society. Which individuals need help most of all, what kind of help they require, and whether it is only financial help that they need are only a few of the issues that can arise during the implementation of a project aimed at thousands of people in different regions of Russia. In this situation there is only one solution — active cooperation with local authorities.

Social workers know better than anyone else that the elderly often need not just financial, but also moral support. I have witnessed that after some charity events, the veterans would thank the organizers not for the gifts, but for organizing the concert, the guided tour, or simply for giving them an opportunity to socialize. Only people that are in constant contact with the elderly are able to notice such things.

Over the past two years, over 10,000 elderly citizens have received help within JTI’s social initiative program. We know for sure that targeted support has been given to those who needed it the most, thanks to the participation of social workers who can make lists and monitor people’s wishes and actual needs. All that is left for us to do is to allocate funds and ensure efficient supervision.

I think that most companies with high levels of social responsibility will support JTI in this matter. The first steps in this direction have been made but not enough has been done yet to make it a generally accepted practice. If government and business were to develop better cooperation then everyone would benefit: the first being the veterans and pensioners to whom help would be provided more efficiently.