What is the example of good CSR in SMEs? (Turkey)

An example of good CSR in SMEs is a Turkish company, Yesim Tekstil.

Yesim Tekstil is a family business which produces knitwear and lower outwear in Turkey, and is signatory to the UN Global Compact. Their products are mainly exported to the UK and the textile departments of Reebok, Esprit, Otto, and Hema.

The company has developed an innovative social-assistance programme, which offers employees education grants for themselves and their children, marriage grants for employees, funeral grants for those who have lost their first degree relatives, reimbursement of meal tickets for those who fast during Ramadan, child allowance for parents of each child, holiday allowances for those who take annual leave, and a free kindergarten service. Thanks to all the benefits and a good work environment, research from GfK has reported a high level of employee satisfaction of between 52% and 85%. The kindergarten is of great help to mothers and fathers, as it is open six days a week, from 7 am to 11pm.

Yesim Tekstil promotes youth employment through an internship programme, which runs in summer and winter for candidates who are studying at trade and vocational schools, and high school. Young people can apply to do an internship as part of their education, which provides them with a significant first-job experience and entry into the labour market.

The company has also set up training opportunities for employees who are keen to enhance and polish up their skills. Employees may attend external and internal training to develop their skills-base and technical knowledge, as well as to keep up with technological innovation. At the beginning of each year, employees request participation in some training programmes made available to them, and these are included in their employee development plan. The training programmes are then provided by in-house by professional trainers.

In July 2006, the company began a joint project with AKUT (Search and Rescue Association), designed to improve Yesim’s emergency situation management system, to raise awareness amongst employees and those close to them about what to do during emergency situations, raise general awareness, achieve technical proficiency, and ensure the uninterrupted maintenance of essential corporate operations in an emergency.

Yesim Tekstil has also developed an awareness of social responsibility and good practices of suppliers and submanufacturers parallel to its own policy. With this goal in mind, it has produced handbooks and sample social responsibility policies to ensure that suppliers and sub-manufacturers comply with agreed practices.

The company has a Social Compliance Department, which is under the Director of Production Department, to ensure that all requirements regarding social compliance are implemented and monitored through audits carried out at the main plant and among suppliers. The department organises scheduled internal audits at suppliers every year, in line with supplier audit plans. In case of need, unscheduled audits are conducted with suppliers on social compliance, environmental, occupational, and health and safety matters.