Decathlon Romania has two main branches of projects correlating with the company’s new purpose “To be useful to people and to their planet”. Bogdan DOROBANȚ is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Leader and he leads people-oriented projects. Before writing the national CSR project, a survey was sent to all Decathlonians in Romania to collect ideas and dreams on this subject. Finally, the 5-year project was written with 4 big strategies closely aligned with the Vision.
4 strategies of the CSR project
1. Education through sports (Health, Local Living)
In order to tackle the obesity problem in Romania, the team focuses on enabling children to practise sports at an early age. Each Decathlon store aims at helping the surrounding communities and schools to practise sports locally. Especially in the schools where sports fields are being the least invested in, Decathlon Romania helps renovate and refurbish them to provide a safe and pleasant environment for children to do sports at schools.
2. Make sports accessible to everyone (Health, Transport)
63% of the Romanian population do not practise sports, therefore the team organises many free sports events to make people discover sports and draw them to do sports together. Moreover, it is planned to help children in remote villages to commune and go to school by bike.
3. Social inclusion (Inclusive)
The team partners with the biggest climbing gym in Romania, Climb Again, to help children and teenagers with visual impairment to integrate into the society. They sponsor climbing equipment and indoor climbing lessons to these children. In the past 3 years, 6,500 children and teenagers with visual impairment joined the programme and experienced sports for the first time. In addition, a number of teenagers were trained to become professional blind climbers for world championships. Decathlon Romania thus provides a fully equipped gym with Domyos products for their fitness training. In the coming years, Decathlon Romania will become the main sponsor of the climbing gym. They will work together to create a new inclusion programme for children and teenagers with other disabilities. Financial support will not only be used for indoor climbing activities, but also for outdoor climbing trips, kinetic and psychological therapies.
4. Health and recuperation through sports (Health)
The team is planning to create a network with medical clinics to donate equipment and provide financial support to help people through recuperation and rehabilitation.
Actions taken in 2020
1. Online sports lessons and charity for education
The team wanted to help people practise sports at home during the pandemic, especially the poor children who do not have resources for home-schooling. As a result, they organised a 5-day event to provide live-stream workout classes. Every day, there was a 1-hour training session with professional trainers. The video views have become a target to turn into donations and help more children to go to schools. The result was satisfying. Almost 1,000 people did the sports following the live videos and the video views reached over 140,000. At the end of the project, the team donated 50 tablets, 192 internet connections for 10 months, 640 backpacks plus hygiene kits to equip children for education. It gave a very positive message to the participants that the more they practise sports, the healthier they will become and more children will be helped in their education.
2. Bucharest Marathon and fundraising
Decathlon Romania partnered with an association and participated in the Bucharest Marathon to raise money for children who survived from cancer and their family. There were 281 Decathlonians participating in the marathon, in which 90 of them also acted as fundraisers to promote the campaign. Finally, the team ran for 255 km and raised 5000 euros in total. In addition, the company donated 10,000 euros more to support the children and their family.
3. Equipment donation to preschools
Sports equipment like trampolines, balls and balance training equipment were donated to 6 preschools to help 1-3 year-old children to learn walking and discover sports. Last year, 720 children benefited from the project and the team will run the same project again this year to help another 10 preschools. The objective in 2025 will be helping 4,500 children to learn walking, practise sports and develop a healthy lifestyle.
Future of Decathlon Romania
Having focused Vision targets and a strategic CSR plan, Bogdan and his team want to motivate 90% of the Romanian people to practise sport so as to improve their physical and mental health. On the other hand, as there is a large bike production in the country, the team also wants to cooperate with the production office and factories to draw more people to use alternative means of transport in the cities. By improving the quality of life, enabling higher education of children and reducing traffic and pollution in the cities, Decathlon Romania will be truly useful to the people and the planet.
“The CSR objectives should be in the profit and loss (P&L) statement of every big company in the world. The KPI is not about profit but we need to help people to practice sport. We can make less profit and invest around us a little bit more, so that the people can live better. And if they see what you are doing to help them live better, they will come back to you and buy from you. This is my dream.”
– Bogdan DOROBANT