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COGITA Exchange Meeting

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COGITA Exchange Meeting – Lower Austria, February 2014

From 12-13 February 2014 an international delegation visited Lower Austria as part of the INTERREG IVC project COGITA. 15 CSR experts from Slovakia (Kosice), Poland (Gliwice) and the Netherlands (Eindhoven) gathered to exchange their experiences on the topic of “CSR Awards”. The discussions focused around the Austrian CSR Award TRIGOS which was established ten years ago.

On the first day, the participants received general information on the history of the TRIGOS award, the categories and the partners involved (representatives of business and civil society). Katrin Gaupmann (respACT), who coordinates the TRIGOS, presented details on the structure and implementation of the award scheme on national and regional level. The participants showed interest especially in the multi-stakeholder platform. At the event, several partners of the regional TRIGOS (Lower Austria) illustrated their motivation and benefits of participation: Manuela Krendl, Chamber of Commerce Lower Austria, Eduard Posch, Lower Austrian Federation of Industries and Manuela Schlögl, Red Cross Lower Austria.

In the partner regions Gliwice and Kosice a similar award scheme is currently in the planning phase. In Eindhoven already exists a CSR prize which is awarded to companies. It is based on an online monitoring tool through which the companies can self-assess them. Depending on how many points are reached, companies obtain Bronze, Silver or Gold status. This setting does not envisage an assessment through a jury of experts (as in TRIGOS). A lively discussion on the different approaches took place and the pros and cons were elaborated.

Following an intense topical discussion, the second day was dedicated to the practical implementation. Guided tours were organised around the sites of two TRIGOS winning companies in Lower Austria. In the morning, the delegation visited the drinks company Vöslauer. The technical director Herbert Schlossnikl provided information about the company’s CSR philosophy and the wide range of activities in the social and ecological sphere. In the afternoon, the owner and manager of Grasl FairPrint, a medium-sized printing company, welcomed the group at their premises. The family-run business has been implementing the notion of CSR since the company was founded. Grasl FairPrint puts special emphasis on ecologically friendly printing processes.

The international project partners were able to gain interesting insights from the Exchange Meeting which will help them to further develop activities in their own region. The Department of Business, Tourism and Technology within the Lower Austrian government is also able to utilise the results of the fruitful discussions for the implementation of the TRIGOS award scheme.

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