Message from Alexander Ivlev, Country Managing Partner, Russia Dear Readers,
This year we have decided to issue Ernst & Young's first corporate responsibility report in Russia. We understand that we need new tools to maintain an effective dialogue with current and potential employees, state agencies and the public. Along with service excellence, we are strategically focused on helping everyone we work with achieve their potential. Our mission is to make the world a better place. We view this report as an important milestone in promoting fruitful cooperation with our partners on various commercial and non-commercial projects.
In this publication, we share with you some notable results that we achieved in the past financial year, our corporate responsibility strategy and our approaches to implementing this strategy.
Ernst & Young has operated in Russia since 1989. Though we have not been immune to the economic, political and social challenges facing our clients, we have achieved a great deal in that time and have successfully weathered the financial crisis. We regard our contribution to the stabilization and development of the Russian economy, which is directly related to our firm's line of business, as especially important. For example, we adopted a flexible pricing and product policy to help our clients through the crisis.
We believe that our involvement in a number of projects to enhance the customs system is an important contribution to Russia's social and economic development. Close attention has always been given to the improvement of tax and energy laws. Our audit teams provide independent assurance on information used by shareholders, investors and other stakeholders, both in Russia and abroad. Our experts help clients across all industries to increase the efficiency of their business processes, manage risks, expand into new markets and construct and operate new buildings, factories and infrastructure facilities.
Things don’t always go smoothly for us either, but we clearly understand our tasks. For example, we know how hard our staff work, and we try to create a comfortable and healthy working environment for them. We have therefore declared the current 2012 financial year to be Wellness Year.
We have just embarked on environmental initiatives to reduce and recycle waste paper, save electricity and cut the number of employee trips – a good start, but there is still much to be done. We are also doing everything we can to contribute to a step-by-step solution of the environmental issues in Russia as a whole. Our efforts on a task force of the International Council for Cooperation and Investment were aimed at developing laws to promote energy efficiency. We advise our clients on environmental matters and help implement production optimization programs that promote the rational use of natural resources.
We are also very keen on charitable activities. Our core priority is to promote the health of children and the younger generation. We assist orphanages, medical institutions and other socially-oriented organizations. A recent key project was the launching of a children's cancer center (http://givelifenow.co.uk/news/2) in Moscow. Our people are active in volunteer work, but we think we have the ability to do more on this front. The expansion of volunteer initiatives in all areas of our corporate responsibility strategy will therefore be part of our agenda for the future.
Another goal is to expand our business into new regions. This year we opened offices in Kazan and Krasnodar. Today our firm's staff in Russia numbers around 2,500 people. As our team grows, the scale of the tasks they face and the number of business lines grow accordingly.
In the coming three to five years we plan to strengthen our leadership on the assurance and advisory services market in Russia, while constantly striving to meet the highest standards of quality. We will continue our ongoing dialogue with a broad range of stakeholders, and I hope that our report will contribute to this process.
We welcome your suggestions on topics that you'd like to see covered in the next reports.