The scale and nature of Sistema's social investment are determined by the size and specific features of the Corporation's business. The company is one of the biggest tax payers in Russia and pursues a consistent charity policy with the following main focus areas:
Education. Investing in human capital, identifying and supporting young talented people, developing scientific and innovative potential of the youth, promoting and implementing promising ideas and R&D projects are among the key priorities of Sistema's corporate social responsibility policy.
Culture. Sistema is making a significant contribution into the preservation and promotion of everything that is precious in Russian culture: visual arts, classical music, ballet, theatre; introduction and application of high technologies in museums; restoration of historic monuments and listed buildings.
Social development. Sistema is also committed to providing support for children's and youth sports, healthcare programmes, helping underprivileged families, investing in the development of local communities.
One of the main tools of Sistema's CSR activities is the Sistema Charitable Foundation, which was established in 2003 and is one of the oldest and largest charitable organisations in Russia, a member of the Donors Forum and National Council on Corporate Volunteering. The Foundation is being financed from the profits of Sistema and its subsidiaries, and develops a strategy for social investment, accumulates the necessary funds, builds a portfolio of priority projects, implements corporate charitable and volunteer programmes with the participation of Sistema's subsidiaries.
Sistema aims to consistently strengthen the integration of its CSR projects and to enhance their efficiency by consolidating the efforts and contributions of all the subsidiaries, and by promoting projects aimed at creating shared values across Sistema Group in order to achieve business development goals and resolve social issues at the same time.
Key CSR projects of the Corporation
Lift to the Future: teams for knowledge-intensive industries
The Corporation's flagship social project is Lift to the Future, a national non-government education programme for talented youth, which has been recognised as an efficient system for identifying and training teams of young engineers and designers that have an experience of carrying out real industrial tasks. It builds a succession pool for Sistema Group and advanced sectors of the Russian industry. The long-term programme has been in place since 2011 and is supported by the Russian Education and Science Ministry, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and numerous partners, including Sistema's subsidiaries, education authorities, schools, colleges, universities, regional authorities, expert organisations and professional associations.
Being an open innovative talent development platform, Lift to the Future includes the following initiatives:
- running engineering and design schools across Russia;
- organising theme contests of innovative projects for school and university students;
- grant contests designed to identify and support best practices for supplementary school education projects in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematiсs) and employment centres for students and alumni of tech universities;
- a programme of career guidance and internships in Sistema Group’s subsidiaries, leaders in their respective industries;
- international science conferences and youth innovation forums;
- educational activities for coordinators and mentors running the R&D projects of senior school students in project labs (STEM) in cooperation with leading universities;
and other initiatives promoting engineering professions required for the development of high-tech and knowledge-intensive sectors in Russia.
Lift to the Future offers school and university students a unique opportunity to get additional education in the field of innovative projects. The programme was supported in 19 Russian regions.
Key results of the Lift to the Future project:
- 200,000 school and university students participated in the programme;
- over 300 representatives of business, science and education communities worked for the programme's projects;
- over 70 contests were held for school and university students with over 8,000 winners;
- 3,200 school students received Lift to the Future grants;
- 500 university students received the programme's scholarships;
- 50 winners of student papers contests and 4 young researchers with their projects completed internships with Europe's largest high-tech companies and research centres;
- 250 academic mentors were provided with grants to organise projects for school students in the labs of Russia's leading universities;
- 400 educators who worked with the winners of the programme's contests later attended professional development courses at Lomonosov Moscow State University.
In this way the Corporation is making a considerable contribution to the development of continuing education, innovative youth projects in science and technology, occupational guidance of schoolchildren, acquisition of practical skills by students, employment of recent graduates, bringing to the market promising projects of young scientists and researchers.
Lift to the Future was named the best programme/project aimed at engaging young people in the social and economic development of Russian regions as part of the 2012 contest Leaders of Corporate Charity
The Lomonosov MSU Higher School of Management and Innovation
Sistema has a long history of productive cooperation with the Lomonosov Moscow State University, which is aimed at adjusting classical education standards to the requirements of Russia's innovative development.
In June 2006, the rector of the Moscow State University Victor Sadovnichy and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sistema Vladimir Evtushenkov established a joint faculty – the Higher School of Management and Innovations which trains young specialists to make them prepared to work in a global market of innovative goods and services. The School's graduates now hold senior positions at the faculty's partner companies: Sistema PJSFC, Mobile Telesystems (MTS), RTI, MTS Bank, MGTS, Detsky Mir etc.
The curriculum of the Higher School of Management and Innovation combines general university courses with corporate specialisation. All training programmes of the faculty are built on the basis of theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to develop and implement strategic business development programmes.
During the years of its existence the faculty has become an important methodological and resource base used for preparing highly qualified managers not only for Sistema but also for other Russian companies, helping to enhance the human and innovative potential of Sistema and perfom an important social mission aimed at implementing and promoting advanced methodologies in business education in Russia.
Sistema PJSFC is actively involved in the development of the leading university of Russia. Sistema's Board Chairman Vladimir Evtushenkov is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow State University and the Institute of Russian Language and Culture of the Moscow State University.
Over the course of several years, Sistema Charitable Foundation has been providing financial support to social and educational projects of European University in Saint Petersburg, a privately owned higher educational institution specialising in anthropology, history, art history, political science, sociology and economics.
Culture and art: patronage and new technology
Sistema pursues several sizeable initiatives in culture and arts aiming to preserve and promote national cultural and historical legacy.
The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg for many years remains the most significant recipient of Sistema's investments in culture. The Russian Museum houses a unique collection of Russian visual art, a renowned art conservation centre, an authoritative research centre, one of the major cultural education hubs, a science and methodology centre coordinating the work of 260 art museums in Russia. Sistema's Board Chairman Vladimir Evtushenkov also chairs the Board of Trustees of the State Russian Museum Development Fund Friends of the Russian Museum. In 2003-2013, Sistema’s investments in the Russian Museum totalled about RUB 200m. A new cooperation agreement signed between SCF and the Russian Museum is valid until 2023 and provides for the allocation of RUB 300m for financing various projects of the museum.
The Russian Museum is reaching out to people living all across Russia and abroad by building a strong online presence, using modern digital technologies and creating mobile applications for its projects. These projects were made possible due to the support from Sistema Charitable Foundation granted as part of the Culture and Art programme and a partnership with MTS.
A large-scale cooperation programme launched in 2003 envisages financing of a unique project for creating virtual branches of the Russian Museum in Russia and abroad. The Russian Museum: A Virtual Branch is an interregional and international innovative project aimed at making the most extensive collection of Russian art accessible to a wide audience outside St. Petersburg by using the latest information and communication technologies. More than 180 information and education centres of the museum have been open so far (among them 141 in Russia, 41 abroad, 5 at Antarctic stations, research and training ships). The project participants include museums, schools, culture, science and training centres and organisations.
A state-or-the-art Multimedia Centre was opened in the Western wing of St Michael's Castle (the Engineers' Castle), providing access to the Russian Museum's rich art collection via latest technologies. Sistema helps the museum to constantly upgrade the centre's hard- and software to maintain its high-tech status. In 2011, Sistema Charitable Foundation launched the Augmented Reality project. The Corporation is a constant partner of the annual international festival The Royal Gardens of Russia. It also supports exhibitions, publishing and restoration projects that raise awareness of the general public about the brilliant masterpieces of Russian artists of various historical periods.
Sistema came second in the Leaders of Corporate Charity 2015 contest for its long-term programme for supporting exhibitions and virtual branches of the Russian Museum in the category The best programme (project) aimed at supporting modern art and culture.
Moreover, Sistema Charitable Foundation supports numerous theatre, music, and art projects, as well as leading performance teams and museums. Its charity recipients include over 20 institutions and foundations active in the field of culture, including the Valery Gergiev Foundation and the Moscow Easter Festival, the Foundation for Support of Church Construction in Moscow, the Valaam Convent, Church Archaeology & Nature Reserve in the Republic of Karelia, and the Field of Prokhorovka Museum of Armoured Vehicles in the Belgorod region, to name but a few.
Social projects and volunteering
Support of disadvantaged social groups is among the cornerstones of Sistema's social policy seeking to improve standards of living in various regions where the Group operates. Relief initiatives targeting underprivileged children, large families, war veterans and disabled persons are top priorities for Sistema Charitable Foundation (SCF).
Sistema Group has an established and long-standing tradition of involving employees in all kinds of volunteer campaigns, such as helping children in orphanages, supporting war veterans, conducting environmental initiatives, etc. In 2014, SCF set up a Volunteer Centre to consolidate relief efforts of various businesses, make volunteer endeavours more efficient and roll out best practices nationwide. The Volunteer Centre is now among Sistema's most powerful tools in socially oriented initiatives.
The Centre's ultimate goal is uniting Sistema Group's employees in tackling social issues that face specific local communities and Russian society as a whole. Sistema regards its corporate volunteer movement as an important "soft" incentive and a great way to improve staff engagement. The variegated annual corporate volunteer campaigns include park clean-ups; visits to orphanages and nursing homes; organisation of entertainment, learning, and vocational guidance events for orphans and of Victory-Day concerts for Great Patriotic War veterans, etc. Volunteers are most responsive to projects where help is needed by orphans, children from large and low-income families, war veterans, and the elderly. Most frequent recipients of relief from Sistema's volunteers are orphanages, care homes, war veteran hospitals and other health and learning institutions.
In 2015 the Volunteer Centre conducted 55 initiatives involving more than 500 employees of Sistema and its eleven subsidiaries. The volunteers worked a total of 2,406 hours and gave succour to 8,200 beneficiaries. An inspiration for all, the Centre has by now not only enlisted the support and cooperation of 16 social partners, but also made it to the top 3 volunteer promotion projects according to Leaders of Corporate Charity 2015.
Among striking examples of how Sistema and its subsidiaries join effort to provide social relief to specific communities and regions of Russia are two children's festivals: the annual Redhead that promotes inclusion and disability rights and Solony that swept through the Republic of Altay in the summer of 2016 .
Taking care of veterans
Most of the Foundation’s social and volunteering projects are part of an agreement signed between Sistema, Moscow City Government and Moscow City Council of war, labour, armed forces and law-enforcement veterans with a view to providing social support to Great Patriotic War veterans and promoting patriotism among young people.
One of the key priorities of Sistema's charity work has always been taking care of the older generation, including the veterans of the Great Patriotic War, the home front veterans and the veterans of the Corporation. To mark the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War Sistema organised a number of events with the support from the Corporation's subsidiaries and volunteers.
Sistema Charitable Foundation, Medsi Group and the Social Security Department of Moscow launched a large-scale joint Veterans Care Programme providing free-of-charge health care and rehabilitation to veterans and similar categories of citizens at the Medsi Rehabilitation Centre in Otradnoye, and granting medical and social aid on a case-by-case basis. Under the programme, over 500 war veterans have already received free healthcare services and a special two-week rehabilitation course at Medsi clinics.
In the run-up to the Victory Day the volunteers of the Corporation paid visits and presented gifts to more than 100 veterans in Moscow, Khimki, Mytischi, Noginsk, Krasnoarmeysk, Yegorievsk, Tomilino. A great number of festivities, gala concerts and receptions were organised for the war veterans, and free-of-charge historical & patriotic tours to the Moscow war history museums were organised for more than 1,000 children from orphanages in Moscow, the Moscow, Vladimir and Tver regions. To mark the anniversary of the Victory Day Sistema launched the Volunteer Victory Garden project, as part of which the employees took part in the clean-up and beautification of the premises of four orphanages, as well as war memorials. In 2015, Sistema allocated more than RUB 60m for the support of veterans; more than 400 employees from 22 Sistema subsidiaries volunteered to offer Victory Day greetings and assistance to war veterans, to organise excursions for children and other events.
In May 2016, Sistema made a unique Victory Day present to the war veterans, Moscow residents and guests – a multimedia light show themed on the key milestones of the Great Patriotic War and titled #Victory, along with live V-Day greeting cards featuring the winning works of a children's drawing competition titled The meaning of Victory.
Sistema and its subsidiaries are actively involved in environmental efforts in regions where they operate, working to gradually reduce their consumption of resources and environmental impact, improve the ecology and enhance environmental consciousness. The Corporation rigorously abides by environment protection principles and complies with all relevant laws and regulations. The environmental efforts are focused mainly on higher energy efficiency, forest restoration, safe waste recycling, preservation of biological diversity and increase of environmental consciousness of the younger generation.
Sistema has been providing support to the Russian Geographical Society, the oldest Russian NGO, since 2010. The Society's main activities are related to studying and solving environmental problems, protecting the environment, tackling climate change, raising public awareness about Russia's natural, ethnic and cultural diversity. Sistema's Board Chairman Vladimir Evtushenkov is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society. As part of cooperation, Sistema supports the Society's scientific expeditions, research, publishing and television projects, festivals and other events. In 2015 alone, it donated RUB 10m to RGS. The money was used for research work, including integral environmental assessment of Russian cities and regions, assessment of the environmental and geochemical situation of the Don estuary, and development of the first electronic geographic atlas of Karelia.
Since 2012, Sistema has been supporting the Eurasian Centre for Preservation of Leopards, which studies the rare species and works to restore its population in Primorye. Sistema finances some of the Centre's environmental initiatives, including biotechnical work, and helps to upgrade its facilities and improve the territory of the Leopard Land national park. The sum of annual donation is RUB 3m.
It has already become a good tradition for Sistema employees to volunteer to clean up public areas by organising spring Saturday clean-ups in Moscow and other regions. In 2015, the company organised a corporate clean-up event at Medsi Group's Otradnoye rehabilitation centre in the Moscow region, which was held under the slogan "Sistema's Energy". The event dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War was attended by more than 2,000 employees of the Corporation and their family members. On the 20-ha premises of the rehabilitation centre, the employees of Sistema and subsidiaries planted more than 1,300 trees, flowers, bushes, beautified more than 17 flower beds, created playgrounds and sports grounds, and built a Memory Alley in commemoration of the War.