Diplomacy&Commerce magazine, syndication of London’s The Economist magazine, celebrated its 6th birthday on Thursday, March 31 at the Mona Plaza Hotel in Belgrade.
DIPLOMACY&COMMERCE AWARDS were presented to individuals, companies and organizations that excelled in humanitarian work, CSR, sustainable business and green projects, digitalization and business innovation, development of arts and culture, as well as improving bilateral cooperation, economic environment, business conditions. and society as a whole. Diplomacy&Commerce awards were given out in a total of twelve categories, of which awards were given by the jury to companies, organizations and individuals in eight categories. Four special awards were given by the magazine’s editorial staff. The members of the jury were the following – Marko Čadež, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (CCIS) and jury chairman, AHK Serbia – Gert Rabbow, BSCC – Jadranka Dervišević Kitarić, CCIFS – Sanja Ivanić, CCIS – Mirjana Kojić, Confindustria – Irena Brajović, HBA – Fanina Kovačević, CBC – Marija Radulović, JBAS – Oliver Lepori, SBC – Danijela Fišakov, SSCC – Ana Grujović, as well as representatives of D&C magazine – Robert Čoban, president of CPG, and Ruža Veljović, director of D&C magazine.
The magazine’s director, Ruža Veljović, said that over 80 companies and organizations had been nominated and that picking the winners was no easy task. “Together with the representatives of bilateral chambers and business associations in Serbia, of which we have been members since our launch, we wanted to reward all those who have contributed to our society and our country with their work and activities this year too with the view of making them a better place to work and live in. I would like to thank all our partners who recognized the importance of rewarding the best, i.e. those who contribute the most,” Ms Veljović added..
President of Color Press Group, Robert Čoban thanked all the guests and said the following in his address: „It was March 2019 when we last celebrated the D&C award ceremony at the National Museum. How has our world changed since then? The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have reshaped our lives more than any other event in the last two decades. As Judy Garland would say:”Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.” I hope we – our governments, our companies, and us, as individuals – will find our way to Oz.”
He also reminded that this February it was 30 years since Color Press Group was founded. “Three decades of wars, hyperinflation, NATO bombing, assassinations of high political officials, global economic crisis, pandemics… And we still are here, as you are too. As I said at our 1st birthday party – for us it was Business as usual. And still is business as usual. So, let’s continue to find our way to Oz tomorrow!” Mr Čoban concluded.
The celebration was attended by numerous guests, Serbian government representatives, the diplomatic corps, and political, cultural and public figures of Serbia.
Telekom Srbija, Coca-Cola, British Motors, Heineken Serbia, Philip Morris International, Plantaže 13. Juli and Shamar brandy, which had its premiere at the event, were the celebration’s official partners.
MK Group is the best socially responsible company, which was among the first companies to get involved in the fight against the coronavirus and donate funds for the purchase of medical equipment and support to health care institutions. The Group also implemented a large regional project called “For Regional Heroes”, thanks to which 450 doctors and medical workers were given free vacations in MK Group hotels in Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia, as a sign of gratitude for their heroic efforts.
The best socially responsible campaign is NESTLE ADRIATIC’s. As part of the “Save Food, Save Humanity” campaign, Nestlé donated more than 10 tonnes of food, more than 230,000 food products and more than 20 million dinars in humanitarian aid. Responsible food surplus management has been a strategic part of Nestle Adriatic’s business for years.
The MATICA SRPSKA GALLERY is the award recipient for its contribution to the development of artistic creativity and preservation of cultural heritage. One of the wealthiest art museums in Serbia, the Matica Srpska Gallery, was founded in 1847 under the auspices of Matica Srpska, the oldest cultural and educational institution among Serbs. Since its inception, the Gallery has grown into a unique national museum which art collection, particularly that of Serbian art from the 16th to 21st century, showcases the origin, development and achievements of Serbian artists and indicates the position and place of Serbian culture and art in the European context.
GENERALI OSIGURANJE SRBIJA is the award recipient for its humanitarian efforts. Under the auspices of Generali’s The Human Safety Net Programme and in cooperation with the Novak Djoković Foundation, the company opened 15 parent centres. This is a unique project in Serbia launched with the aim of further empowering the participants of the ‘Support, NOT Perfection’ programme thus ensuring even better care of their children. The programme has been successfully implemented since 2017, and since then, it has been helping a large number of families throughout Serbia.
UniCredit Bank was chosen as the recipient of the award for green projects and sustainable development. In 2021, UniCredit Bank Serbia collected more than 13 million dinars during the ‘We have been trying to start good things together for 20 years’ campaign. The money collected during the campaign will be spent on projects aimed at improving protected areas and preserving biodiversity in Serbia. The project supports activities on the preservation of flora and fauna and natural habitats of animal species, but also boosting tourist capacities and the popularization of protected areas.
The business innovation and digital transformation award went to ABB, the world’s leading engineering company that is driving the transformation of social and industrial development, to achieve a more productive and sustainable future. By linking software solutions to the portfolio of power engineering, robotics, automation and electric motor drives, ABB is pushing the boundaries of technology and elevating its impact to higher levels. Based on a 130-year-long- tradition and pursuit of excellence, 105,000 talented people in over 100 countries are to be credited for ABB’s business success.
This year’s award for improving business conditions and the economic environment was given to the FOREIGN INVESTORS’ COUNCIL – FIC. The Foreign Investors Council is a business association founded in 2002 with the idea that foreign companies operating in the region of Southeast Europe (SEE) should provide active support in the implementation of reforms.
THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY OF SERBIA’S is this year’s award recipient in the category of advancing bilateral cooperation. During the pandemic, the Chamber provided support to businesses, activated a specialized information service which provided companies with information on all key issues related to doing business in the country and abroad. One of the most important projects is the launch of the Digital Transformation Centre, which coordinates and implements digital transformation in all private sector industries, with a special focus on SMEs.
Heineken Srbija, Coca-Cola, Erste Banka and Brankica Janković, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, are recipients of special awards in four categories, as chosen by the magazine’s editorial board.
HEINEKEN SERBIA is the recipient of the special award for contribution to the development of green projects and sustainability. By optimizing production processes, the company has reduced water consumption in these processes by 75% over the last decade and has been striving to maintain this trend year on year. On its way towards having business operations that don’t harm the environment, to be achieved by the company building a wastewater treatment plant in its brewery in Zaječar, HEINEKEN Serbia has made an additional contribution to reducing water consumption with this important and technologically very advanced project, while making substantial investments in the community in which it operates. Water is a valuable resource in the beer industry because every drop counts, which is also the slogan of the company’s water resources conservation and protection programme.
The special award for the contribution to the development of local self-government and communities went to COCA-COLA SYSTEM in Serbia for the company’s project ‘Vlasina – Pure Love’. In order to bring the Vlasina district closer to tourists who prefer having an active vacation, but also want to contribute to the development of local catering businesses and tourism services, in cooperation with the Surdulica Tourist Board, Coca-Cola HBC Serbia, the Cabinet of Ministers for Development of Disadvantaged Municipalities and the Municipality of Surdulica, have launched the project “Vlasina – Pure Love”.
ERSTE BANK is this year’s recipient of the special award for contribution to the development of society’s financial literacy for its project #ErsteZnali. The #ErsteZnali platform aims to bring financial knowledge closer to anyone aware that they need help and support in better understanding and managing finances in order to make better decisions, as well as those who want to test their knowledge. Thanks to the platform, the users can learn about personal finance management, savings, investments, insurance, credit products, how to save time and money by using electronic banking and many other related topics.
A special award for the contribution to the development of society as a whole went to BRANKICA JANKOVIĆ, the Republic of Serbia’s Commissioner for the Protection of Equality. According to the 2021 report compiled by the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, most of the complaints that the Commissioner received that year from citizens related to discrimination based on health, gender and age, and they mainly related to discrimination related to employment and workplace and public authorities. The year 2021 was also marred by the ongoing health crisis, with the strongest focus being on the immunization of the population, which was well organized with equal availability of vaccines for all citizens.
Diplomacy&Commerce magazine is a syndication of London’s The Economist in Serbia. It covers topics related to diplomacy, economy, business, art, culture and sports. The magazine’s interlocutors come from the Serbian government, the Balkan region and the rest of the world, the diplomatic corps, foreign and domestic chambers of commerce, international and domestic institutions and domestic and foreign companies,. The magazine has had 73 issues so far, covering economic cooperation between Serbia and Europe, as well as cooperation with other countries in the world. The magazine has also presented almost all economic sectors in Serbia and their role in the economic environment of the country. The magazine’s official website is www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs .