[Interview] Samsung Joins Board of CSR Europe to Step Up Its Commitment to Giving Back

on April 1, 2016
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On March , Samsung Electronics became a board member of CSR Europe, Europe’s leading business network for Corporate Social Responsibility. Samsung has long been active in helping with the societal issues facing people across Europe—in education, employment, health and the environment—and with the election to the board of CSR Europe, Samsung is looking forward to becoming an even bigger contributor to European society.

 

To find out more about Samsung’s plans for the future with CSR Europe, we talked with Wouter Van Tol, Director of Sustainability and Citizenship, Europe for Samsung Electronics and Samsung’s representative to CSR Europe.

 

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Wouter Van Tol, Director of Sustainability and Citizenship, Europe for Samsung Electronics, is talking with children during an education program.

 

Q. Samsung Electronics was just elected to the board of CSR Europe for the first time. Why was Samsung selected?

 

Over the past few years Samsung Electronics has had a meaningful impact in Europe, with hundreds of Smart Classrooms and Tech Institutes reaching more than 100,000 young people. This is a great fit with CSR Europe’s focus on youth employment and skills, and it is prime example of the sort of partnerships that the “Pact4Youth” initiative promotes.

 

So, I think we were selected because Samsung has shown a commitment to European society and many of Samsung’s corporate citizenship activities align with European society.

 

Q. What kind of activities does CSR Europe focus on and what has CSR Europe achieved?

 

CSR Europe has excellent links with responsible corporations as well as European governmental institutions. This gives CSR Europe “convening power”: they can bring together the right organizations to try to solve some of Europe’s most pressing problems together. We call this “Creating Shared Value”. The current “Pact4Youth” campaign is a great example of trying to bring together many societal groups to improve youth employment. CSR Europe also focuses on other important areas, like human rights and sustainable cities (which of course is relevant for Samsung’s IoT business).

 

Q. As a CSR Europe board member, what kind of CSR activities is Samsung Electronics planning to focus on?

 

Among Samsung’s range of CSR activities, we plan on focusing on Smart Classrooms and Tech Institutes, and have already started talking with other CSR Europe members about co-investing. Imagine stepping into a classroom which is five years ahead of today. Where teachers and school children use coding, VR, 3D printing and other tools to learn and create. We can’t do this alone, but being on the board of CSR Europe gives us the position to attract the best partners and make it happen.

 

Secondly, being on the Board will give us more and better opportunities to communicate about Samsung’s many activities in the areas of citizenship, the environment and sustainability. Through this, we will be able to better hear the opinions of others, and ensure our CSR activities are as effective as possible.

 

Q. Can you introduce the CSR activities that Samsung Electronics is carrying out in Europe?

 

Youth unemployment is an ongoing issue in Europe: according to the European Commission, about 5 million young people are unemployed, which is equal to the number of people who live in Norway. But, at the same time, there are almost 1 million ICT vacancies in Europe, and employers are desperate to hire young people with relevant digital skills.

 

This is where Samsung is making a difference: through more than 600 Smart Classrooms and more than 48 Tech Institutes we have so far improved the digital skills of more than 100,000 young people and 9,000 teachers. Our commitment is to have reached 400,000 young people by 2020.  To find out more about Samsung’s CSR activities in Europe, please see the attached brochure.

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