The scope and nature of Sistema's social investment are determined by the size and specific features of its 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. The Corporation contributes significantly to the preservation and promotion of Russia's historical and cultural heritage, greater accessibility of the best Russian art works, development of a digital museum environment and introduction of modern education technologies.
Social development. The Corporation implements large-scale projects in the areas of healthcare, social support for the underprivileged and development of local communities and volunteering.
The main tool of Sistema's social policy is Sistema Charitable Foundation established in 2003. It 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, which is financed from the profits of Sistema and its subsidiaries, develops a strategy for social investment, builds a portfolio of priority projects and implements corporate charitable and volunteer programmes with the participation of Sistema Group companies and partners.
The Corporation aims to consistently strengthen the integration of its CSR projects and to enhance their efficiency by consolidating the efforts of all Sistema Group companies and by promoting projects aimed at creating shared values across the 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 – technology, education, awareness raising
Lift to the Future is Sistema's long-term flagship social project, which was launched in 2011 as a national non-government education programme for talented youth aimed at identifying and training young engineers, designers and project teams that have an experience of carrying out real industrial tasks in high-tech and knowledge-based sectors of the Russian economy. The programme 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. Under the programme, school and university students across the country have gained a unique opportunity to get additional education, while institutions, teachers and professors have received the necessary resources and competences related to innovative project activities through:
- participation in theme contests of innovative projects for the young and inter-regional and national engineering and design schools;
- grant contests designed to identify and support best practices for supplementary school education projects in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and employment for students and graduates of Russian tech universities;
- career guidance and internships in Sistema Group companies, leaders in their respective industries;
- international science conferences and forums;
- educational activities for coordinators and mentors running the R&D projects of high school and university students,
- and other initiatives promoting engineering professions required for the development of high-tech and knowledge-based sectors in Russia.
Key results of the Lift to the Future programme
- >11,000 school and university students from 46 Russian regions participated in the programme,
- >20,000 school students were trained at 17 temporary engineering and design schools in 11 Russian regions,
- ~500 university students received scholarships,
- ~400 educators who worked with the winners of the programme's contests later attended professional development courses at the Lomonosov Moscow State University,
- ~250 educators received grants to organise projects for school students,
- >300 representatives of business, science and education communities worked as coordinators of the programme's projects,
- > 80 best programme graduates received additional points for their Unified State Exam scores for admission to the top 7 universities in Russia,
- >70 institutions providing supplementary school education in science and technology received grants of up to RUB 600,000 for the implementation of their training programmes,
- >70 contests were held for students and teachers,
- >50 winners of student papers contests and young researchers completed internships with European high-tech companies and leading global research centres,
- >15 student projects developed to resolve real operational tasks of Sistema Group companies received grants of up to RUB 500,000,
- >10 Russian universities were awarded grants of up to RUB 900,000 for their programmes aimed at improving their graduates' competitive advantages in the current labour market.
Starting from May 2018, the updated Lift to the Future has been aimed at developing human capital in the technological environment, meeting social challenges and improving the quality of life with the help of modern technologies. The programme includes:
- technological initiatives (contests, research projects) aimed at bringing people together to find and implement innovative solutions for social problems;
- outreach projects aimed at improving technological literacy, promoting modern technologies among broad audiences and developing creative potential in the technological environment, including publishing and literature projects and lectures of leading experts;
- education programmes giving students an opportunity to get unique competences and training a new generation of experts for the digital economy. The first education project developed in partnership with Mikron is intended for senior university students and focuses on project activities in microelectronics.
In 2012, Lift to the Future was named the best programme (project) aimed at engaging young people in the social and economic development of Russian regions at the Leaders of Corporate Charity contest, and in 2017, made it to the top 3 programmes promoting the development of education in Russia.
The Lomonosov MSU Higher School of Management and Innovation
Sistema is developing a strategic partnership 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 Viktor 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, MTS, MGTS, RTI, MTS Bank, Detsky Mir, and others.
The curriculum of the Higher School of Management and Innovations combines general university courses with corporate specialisation. All of the School's training programmes are built on the basis of theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to create and implement strategic business development programmes.
During the years of its existence the faculty produced over 400 holders of Master's degrees and has become a methodological and resource base used for training highly qualified managers not only for the Corporation but also for other Russian companies, helping to enhance the human and innovative potential of Sistema and perform an important social mission of implementing and promoting advanced business education methodologies in Russia.
Sistema is actively involved in the development of the leading Russian universities. Its Board Chairman Vladimir Evtushenkov is a member of the Boards of Trustees of the Moscow State University, the Higher School of Economics and the Higher School of Management of the St Petersburg State University.
Culture and arts: new technologies for cultural education
Sistema pursues several sizeable initiatives aiming to preserve and promote national cultural and historical legacy, digitalise museums and make them more accessible.
The Russian Museum in St Petersburg has for many years remained the most significant recipient of Sistema's social investment in culture. It houses a unique collection of Russian visual art, a renowned art conservation centre, an influential research centre, one of the major cultural education hubs and a science and methodology centre coordinating the work of 260 art museums in Russia. In 2003-2013, the total amount of funding for the Russian Museum support programme, including exhibition, restoration, publishing, cultural, educational and multimedia projects, was about RUB 200m. The cooperation agreement valid until 2023 provides for the allocation of up to RUB 300m for financing of the museum’s various projects.
An important joint project of Sistema and one of Russia's leading art museums was the creation of a unique network of “virtual branches” of the Russian Museum, with approximately 220 information and education centres in cultural and education institutions (172 in the Russian regions, 42 abroad and 5 at Arctic stations and on marine vessels), which are attended by about 500,000 people annually. The purpose of this innovative project that transcends regional and national boundaries and makes the country's largest collection of Russian arts more accessible through the use of modern information and communication technologies is to acquaint a broader audience with Russia's cultural values and history and to create a single cultural, information and education space for participants of the project: museums and educational, cultural and scientific institutions.
The Russian Museum is becoming more accessible to the public, including residents of Russia's remote regions and foreign countries, through the active adoption of modern digital technologies and mobile applications. With MTS's technical support, it has become Russia's first museum to use augmented reality technologies for interaction with visitors. With Sistema Charitable Foundation's financial assistance, the museum's web portal was modernised and, in December 2016, a unique multimedia complex was opened in a 19th century building. After several years of restoration, the West Wing of St Michael's Castle (the Engineers' Castle) has been fully reconstructed to house a modern high-tech interactive exhibition.
The Corporation has sponsored a number of important exhibitions, including the one to celebrate Ivan Aivazovsky's 200th anniversary, which was visited by more than 300,000 people in three months and allowed the Russian Museum to earn approximately RUB 80m. Sistema is also a permanent partner of the annual international festival The Imperial Gardens of Russia, which is aiming to revive the traditions of the Russian garden design and raise funds for the preservation of the Summer Garden, Engineering Gardens, Mikhailovsky Garden and the Russian Museum's historical premises. The 10th festival, held in 2017 with the support of Sistema Charitable Foundation, was attended by more than 50,000 people in ten days. The festival also included the Children's Gardens social project aimed at integration of special needs children.
Sistema was among the winners in the category "Best programme (project) aimed at supporting modern art and culture" at the 2015 Leaders of Corporate Charity contest, while its Board Chairman Vladimir Evtushenkov, who chairs the Board of Trustees of the Fund for Development of the State Russian Museum “Friends of the Russian Museum”, was named Philanthropist of the Year 2017.
At the end of 2017, Sistema Charitable Foundation initiated a new federal outreach project “Cultural Weekend”. Its purpose is to create an accessible cultural environment: Russia's best museums offer free admissions on weekends, giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about the culture and history of their native land. The Russian Museum was the first participant of the project. In February 2018, residents and guests of the capital had a chance to visit the State Historical Museum free of charge. Cultural Weekends were also held in the Local History Museum of the Rostov Region and the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts. Over 40,000 people in total have already visited museums as part of the campaign.
Social projects and volunteering
Support of disadvantaged social groups and non-profit organisations is among the cornerstones of Sistema's social policy, which seeks to improve the standards of living in various regions where the Corporation operates. Support to underprivileged children, large families, war veterans and the disabled is a top priority for the corporate charitable foundation and Sistema Group companies, where employees traditionally participate in socially important initiatives: support of orphanages, war veterans, environmental campaigns, etc.
In 2014, a volunteer centre was set up on the basis of Sistema Charitable Foundation in order to combine efforts of Sistema's portfolio companies, improve the efficiency of volunteering and roll out the best social practices; it has become a key tool for implementing the Corporation's social programmes and is a member of the Russian National Association of Volunteer Centres.
The Centre's ultimate goal is uniting Sistema Group's employees in tackling social issues faced by 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 most needed areas of volunteering are help to orphanages, children from large and low-income families, war veterans and the elderly, as well as cultural volunteering.
About 280 events have been organised under the auspices of SCF's Volunteer Centre; they attracted over 20 Sistema Group companies and 80 social partners as participants and reached out to almost 60,000 beneficiaries. Some of the events were held as part of the international charity day #GivingTuesday, which the Corporation has supported since its introduction in Russia in November 2016.
In 2015, SCF's Volunteer Centre made it to the top 3 volunteer promotion projects according to Leaders of Corporate Charity 2015. In 2017, Sistema won the Good Cause Champion national contest of corporate volunteering projects in the Complex Project category with its regional charity festival, Solony. The first festival was held in June 2016 in accordance with the social partnership agreement signed with the government of the Republic of Altay. In 2017, large festivals, timed to coincide with the Year of Ecology, were held in two regions of the country: the Republics of Altay and Karelia. Overall, over 20,000 people, mostly children from remote villages and one-company towns, participated in social, educational and cultural events organised by SCF and Sistema's assets.
At the end of 2017, Sistema Charitable Foundation with support from MTS, Segezha Group, Cosmos Group, RTI, Steppe AgroHolding, Detsky Mir, Medsi and volunteers from these companies organised 9 charitable New Year parties for over 6,000 orphans, disabled children, and children from large and low-income families as part of the traditional Wishing Tree campaign. New Year performances were given in Moscow, Vologda, Yaroslavl, Volgograd, Kazan, Arkhangelsk, Kemerovo, Ulyanovsk and Rostov-on-Don. In the five years since the establishment of the project aimed at social adaptation of underprivileged children through emotional engagement, Sistema Charitable Foundation has organised New Year celebrations for over 20,000 children across the country.
Sistema's efforts in the area of social innovations, investments in the communities and successful implementation of partner programmes in the key territories of its' operations brought it an award in the national contest organised by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, "Russian Business Leaders: Dynamics and Responsibility 2016", in the category "Development of cross-industrial partnerships in tackling social issues in the regions of business presence".
In 2018, the first grant competition for corporate volunteers was launched to promote and support the most relevant social initiatives of Sistema Group companies' employees.
Taking care of veterans and preserving memories
Taking care of the older generation, WWII veterans and home front workers, and retired employees of the Corporation is an important part of the social responsibility policy pursued by Sistema and its portfolio companies. The basic component of the Taking Care of Veterans programme is provision of high-tech medical assistance, which is done together with Medsi Group in accordance with an agreement signed on 08 May 2015 between Sistema, the Moscow city government and the Moscow City Council of war, labour, armed forces and law-enforcement veterans on social support to veterans and promotion of patriotism among young people. The project envisages provision of free rehabilitation treatment to veterans at the Medsi Otradnoye rehabilitation centre in the Moscow region, and also targeted medical and social aid on a case-by-case basis. In the three years since the project's launch, about 1,600 veterans have received free rehabilitation treatment at Medsi Otradnoye.
In 2017, almost 600 veterans in Moscow and another 5 regions of Russia (the Republic of Karelia and the Krasnoyarsk, Vologda, Arkhangelsk and Kirov regions) were given pharmacy gift certificates to purchase the necessary medications. As part of the annual volunteer campaign Victory Gardens, over 15 cleanup days were organised in three years to clean up and landscape the premises of care homes and war memorials. In 2017, the Group's employees participated in setting up the Artillery permanent open-air exposition at the Lenino-Snegirevsky military historical museum in the Moscow region. SCF supported the initiative, investing about RUB 3m in restoration and exhibition of unique weapons and vehicles of the WWII era.
Environment and bio diversity
Sistema Group companies are actively involved in environmental efforts in regions where they operate, working to gradually reduce their consumption of resources and impact on the environment and climate, to improve the ecology and promote environmental consciousness. The Corporation rigorously abides by all laws and regulations on environment protection. 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, and 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 outreach projects, festivals, exhibitions and other events. Sistema's annual allocations to RGS total RUB 10m. In 2017, this money was used to launch about 20 research and grant projects involving tens of Russian universities.
On the sidelines of the Solony 2017 festival, the Gorno-Altaysk State University, with support from Sistema Charitable Foundation and the Altay Ministry for Natural Resources, Environment and Property Relations, hosted a regional environmental forum titled "100 Years of Russia's Wildlife Sanctuaries", which was attended by scientists, environmentalists and representatives of local and national natural reserves. The forum summed up the results of the campaign initiated by SCF to protect the world's smallest anterless deer - Siberian musk deer, and also gave out grants for the development of natural reserves' infrastructure and eco tourism. During the campaign, all schools of Gorno-Altaysk collected plastic waste for recycling. The proceeds were then used to acquire trail cameras to record the number of deer in their habitat, to study their behaviour, and to keep an eye on poachers. Sistema Charitable Foundation allocated four grants in the amount of RUB 600,000 to the Altay's protected natural areas to build visit centres and checkpoints near the Dzhumalinskiye thermal springs and in the Uch-Enmek park, and to organise tourist routes to Lake Akkem via the Belukha Park and to Kamennye Griby mountain area via the Ak Cholushpa park. The parks also received a gift from Segezha Group - 10 benches made of Vologda wood and manufactured at the Sokol Woodworking Plant. The forum also included an educational seminar for employees of natural reserves, Partnership for Preservation and Development, which focused on interaction with the local population and tourists, while teachers of local schools attended a special lesson for teachers working in protected natural areas.
It has already become a good tradition for Sistema Group employees to volunteer to clean up public areas by organising spring Saturday clean-ups in Moscow and other regions. Since 2015, the corporation organises such clean-ups on the premises of the Medsi clinical hospital in Pyatnitskoye Avenue and the Otradnoye rehabilitation centre in the Krasnogorsk district, the Moscow region, which provide treatment to participants of the Taking Care of Veterans programme.