As the world faces one adversity after another, social responsibility founded on transparency and accountability are becoming core values within organizations looking at the most critical global crisis and making life changing decisions with positive outcomes for those in need. Eric Dury meets with Nadiia Ratke, Founder and CEO of the International Organization of Social Justice(IOSJ)
Nadiia Ratke is a dynamic 34-year-old business leader as the Founder and CEO of VI Group and CEO of the International Organization of Social Justice (IOSJ). Based between Germany, Dubai, Geneva and Ukraine, Nadia has managed a number of projects successfully that includes a WHO, UNESCO concert, justice system in Ukraine, Chile, a Global theater event, supporting a project with the First Lady of Ukraine and representing artists from Ukraine at the Dubai Art Expo.
Focused on finishing a PhD in philosophy and politics, Nadiia wants to learn international law to protect the rights of people and hence her dedication to her initiatives under International Organization of Social Justice. We find out more about her current work to make the world a better place.
How do you prepare for major changes and crises around the world?
I always say that any business is, in essence, not about money but the possibility of social change. Moreover, in a perfect world, a company should be helpful both locally here and now and globally in the long run.
Today, for example, the economic and food crisis has become a significant challenge for the world. So now more than ever, our community of business owners need to come together, draw up an action plan and direct our help to those who need it most.
Yes, many countries worldwide are now likely to face an agrarian crisis. But some countries still have the reserves, capacity, and finances to deal with the situation with minimal losses. While some countries in Africa and the Middle East may suffer from catastrophic food shortages, we cannot allow these regions to suffer even more, both in economic and social matters.
How do you see the CSR world-changing in the future, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
I hope for positive changes. By positive change, I mean that more and more companies will be looking for ways to become socially responsible businesses or barrier-free businesses. My goal is to make it possible that every company’s business strategy considers all people’s interests and needs.
The fact is that businesses are always the engine of positive change. It is only necessary to understand what levers and powers are in your hands and not be afraid to act to direct them in the right direction. As a result, you may have an even more significant impact on social welfare than any other charity or foundation.
The role of business is essential in implementing new values and standards at all levels. With new services, employment opportunities, and appropriate work standards, people are more likely to experience changes in society as a whole. That is why it is crucial to unite around the necessary changes.
Why did you go into social work?
Everyone has a direction or activity that defines them as a person. And what inspires me is working in the social sector. During the formation and management process, my social responsibility will always come first, and only then the business itself — its success, income and prospects.
That is why the barrier-free concept should become part of the corporate ethics of business. After all, we cannot influence our age or change our race or gender. However, we are born and live with different states of health.
It happens that it changes dramatically and, as a result, our abilities and needs change. But our rights to work, education, participation in society, creativity, and communication must remain unchanged and be equal for all, regardless of age, health status, etc. Therefore, creating a barrier-free corporate space in every way is the experience of social work that inspires and motivates me to change!
What strategies do you use for crisis intervention?
Any anti-crisis scenario is a team effort. Therefore, as a leader, founder, and managing partner of various projects, it has always been essential to surround myself with people with whom we could openly discuss all pressing issues and find solutions together.
My method of practical teamwork is to communicate more informally in addition to working hours. Informal communication helps fill gaps in contact, better understand each other, find new ideas, and reboot.
What is the most important aspect of managing your organization?
The most crucial aspect of any business (and mine is no exception) is reputation! I believe that reputation is the most valuable asset. And it’s about the reputation of our foundation and mine personally!
The socially responsible component in business also helps from this point of view if the work direction is a good tool that helps build and maintain a positive and correct image.
The challenge is how to do it. I often cite the example of mass-market, which is clear to everyone. We all understand that companies that manufacture and sell mass-market goods are giant organisations that employ workers from Asia and the Middle East. But let’s be honest, it would be good if they built schools and helped educate children in the regions where they hire their parents.
And there are many such examples! To put it bluntly, as customers or consumers, we always subconsciously choose the products and services of companies known for their positive image.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next year for IOSJ?
It seems that now it is not possible to make forecasts for the whole year given the geo-political climate. But, of course, we must move forward and make plans, considering all potential risks and challenges.
As I have already said, the number one task for our foundation this year is to develop corporate social responsibility, especially for large businesses. I believe that we can do more than we can imagine together for a better world.
Tell us about a project that forced you to be innovative and creative to encourage CSR?
Again, this is a barrier-free project! My team and I were one of the first to join the project initiated by the First Lady of Ukraine, Ms. Olena Zelenska. We were happy to support her efforts to reduce barriers, primarily aimed at overcoming obstacles that hinder Ukrainians from realizing their potential. We have been actively developing and writing a new bill for the employment of people with disabilities.
I firmly believe that we will be able to convey to society that barrier-free is a concept that applies not only to people with disabilities but to each of us.
It is much broader and includes, for example, the barrier to digital skills, lack of experience in employment, and the presence of young children also makes parents a less mobile group and forces them to overcome various barriers. There is always a solution to the problems we come across as responsible citizens.
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