On 8 June 2016, Riga Technical University (RTU) was awarded the status of a family-friendly enterprise at a solemn ceremony at the Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia. It was recognized that the university was implementing family-friendly policies, for example, providing services and creating family-friendly environment.
RTU children activity room Integral Bear (Lācītis Integrālis), Children and Youth University, RTU Contemporary Dance Studio, which provides opportunity to learn first dance steps not only to the children of RTU staff, but also other children, engineering workshops organized by the university within various events in Latvia are just some examples, which demonstrate university efforts to become a family-friendly educational establishment. Director of RTU Quality Management and Records Management Department Juris Iljins noted, “We are glad that we have been appreciated. Developing an image of a family-friendly university we hope to promote prestige of engineering education and raise a new generation of engineers who will promote welfare of our country in future.” He also stressed that it is not less important that RTU cares not only about educating younger generations, but also develops life-long learning concept, offering various distance education courses and the opportunity to acquire the second higher education to adults.
Suitability of the premises and equipment for the needs of children is one of the main criteria to receive the status. Other criteria include occupational health and safety, customer-centered services, support provided to events organized for children and families, involvement in charity activities, as well as company policies oriented on ensuring efficient balance between employee work and family life, for example, opportunities for teleworking, flexible working hours or part-time employment, etc.
The Ministry of Welfare grants companies the status of a family-friendly enterprise to promote family related values in the society and to improve life and work environment beneficial for families. The Ministry emphasizes that having received this status the enterprise demonstrates good practice and family-centered understanding of the range of goods and services not only with relation to microenvironment of the enterprise, but also the society as a whole.
Being fully aware of the need to appeal to the enterprises and promote implementation of family-friendly policies, the Ministry of Welfare has come to an agreement with the Sustainability Index. Integrating relevant criteria into the sustainability index questionnaire will allow identifying and selecting the enterprises, which meet these criteria and demonstrate good practice.
RTU Gets into Gold Category within Sustainability Index
Within an annual measurement of the Sustainability Index 2016 Riga Technical University (RTU) received Gold Category, which attested high level of RTU sustainability and corporate responsibility. The university applied for index evaluation for the fourth time, and it was the first time it received gold.
RTU Rector Academician Leonīds Ribickis stressed, “Riga Technical University is the largest university in Latvia, and that also means responsibility to our students, personnel, society and the environment. Sustainability Index assessment is a sign that RTU observes the principles of good governance and holds responsibility for its role in the society.”
The Rector also pointed out that sustainable development is one of RTU priorities, as RTU is a member of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and RTU researchers help in reaching seven aims set by the UN with regard to sustainable development. RTU was ranked the 170th greenest university in the world, recognizing university efforts in implementing green policies. RTU also received the status of a family-friendly enterprise that is one of the preconditions for sustainable development.
In 2016, the award ceremony was held on 9 June. 52 Latvian enterprises, which demonstrated responsible and visionary approach to business and were brave enough to make their status public, received certificates attesting their rank in the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Category.
More than 80 Latvian enterprises applied for participation in the index, more than any time before. Such enterprises as Latvian Railways, Latvijas Mobilais telefons (LMT), Nordea bank, Rīgas siltums, SEB bank, International Airport Riga and Swedbank were also ranked in the gold category.
Sustainability Index is a strategic management tool based on an internationally recognized methodology. It is used to assess enterprise performance considering topical regional economic, social and environmental issues, at the same time ranking it within international context of corporate responsibility and sustainability standards. The Index provides objective criteria to the public, state and non-government institutions, which can be used to praise and support the enterprises that promote development of the Latvian national economy in the long term.