The guests were greeted at the beginning by the host, Robert Čoban, president of Color Press Group, saying that for most people in Serbia, this is an important topic and that’s why we deal with it every year and we hope to contribute to raising awareness and new ideas in solving environmental problems that are our everyday life.
The conference was opened by Dubravka Djedović, Minister of Mining and Energy in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, saying that Serbia has moved from words to actions in the field of energy and energy efficiency.
“This week, the Ministry of Mining and Energy presented the National Plan for Energy and Climate of the Republic of Serbia until 2030. with a vision until 2050. The key goals we have set are to increase the share of renewable energy sources in electricity production to 45%, which will make renewable energy sources, in addition to coal, an equal domestic source of electricity, a significant increase in energy efficiency, without which we cannot achieve the energy transition, as well as a reduction in gas emissions with by the greenhouse effect by 44% by 2030. With the state subsidy, we will stimulate citizens to invest in energy efficiency”, concluded Djedović.
The gathered were addressed by H.E. Emmanuele Giaufret, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Serbia, who said at the beginning of his presentation that the European Union has set a high goal for the future, that Europe will become a climate-neutral continent by 2050, and that 57% of the goals will be reached by 2030.
“The European Union wants Serbia to become its member, and we are helping it prepare for its membership. This is where the Green Agenda is very important, and we are ready to help with the infrastructural changes that must take place in the green transition”, Giaufret added.
Tatjana Matić, director of the Fund for the Development of the Republic of Serbia, also greeted the audience and pointed out that sustainable use of resources and energy, reduction of negative impact on the environment, application of innovations and digital tools and, above all, knowledge, has become the umbrella criteria by which the Fund is guided when awarding of funds to the economy.
“I must point out that up until now, within the line for investment loans and loans for the promotion of entrepreneurship, we have paid special attention to projects related to the green transition. Thus, in previous years, and mostly in 2022, the fund approved investment loans for the installation of solar panels, equipment for solar power plants, and biogas plants. A total of 202 million dinars in loans and 25.4 million dinars in grants were approved for such jobs”, Matić added.
After the official opening, panel discussions began where we heard from people from the profession and business what is being done and planned in the field of environmental protection.
The first panel at the conference was “Focus on ESG – Environment, Society and Management at the Center of Business” in which participated Dejan Janjatović, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of NLB Komercijalna Banka, Maja Vukadinović, Special Advisor for Energy Efficiency at the Ministry of Mining and Energy, Radman Šelmić, Ph.D., adviser to the President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences for Green and Circular Economy and Digital Transformation, and Mia Zečević, owner and general director, Novaston. The moderator was Teodora Pasulj, ESG manager, PwC Serbia.
ESG is a topic in its infancy in Serbia, and we are yet to discuss it and see how companies manage to comply with these standards.
“NLB Komercijalna Banka has placed the principle of sustainability at the center of its business actions and banking decisions. We took a significant number of steps in 2023, which contribute to both society and the environment, and ensure the sustainable operation of the bank itself. All the electricity we used in 2022 came from renewable sources, reducing our carbon footprint by more than 6,000 tons. We have implemented a paperless procurement process, by the end of the year we will put into operation our first solar power plant on the roof of the central building, and we are also planning a gradual replacement of the fleet with hybrid and electric cars”, said Dejan Janjatović, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of NLB Komercijalna Banka.
“Those companies whose projects are not aligned with ESG standards will have a different risk assessment, it will be more difficult for them to borrow, get a development loan or a development investment – in general, they will have worse financial conditions”, said Mia Zečević from the Novaston company.
“It would not be wrong to say that the application of ESG principles is particularly important in the real estate industry. In our market, this implies a kind of investor education”, added Zečević.
The second panel was “Planet First – Projects and Actions That Protect the Environment for Future Generations” and was attended by Milica Begenišić, ESG manager, Yettel, Olga Gavrić, Ph.D., teaching associate, Faculty of Agriculture in Belgrade, Majda Adlešić, owner and director, Ekokoncept pogon, Nevena Djukić, director of CEEFOR and Dragana Korica, executive director, Green Building Council of Serbia. Marina Lučić, sociologist and PR expert, moderated the panel.
Many actions and projects to improve the ecological situation in the country are being developed and implemented. We are becoming more aware that we must start with ourselves to change society. The transition must start with individuals, companies, and interested target groups.
“Yettel company collected and recycled 133 tons of plastic and 64 tons of paper and for 10 years we have not used plastic bags in our stores, and we offer users the option of an electronic receipt instead of a paper one. We have set an ambitious goal of having one million recycled mobile devices by 2025.”, stated Milica Begenišić, ESG manager.
The last panel was “Sustainable Development in Serbia – Challenges, Reporting and Business by the Principles of Sustainable Development”, and the speakers were Tijana Koprivica, Director of Sustainable Business, Delta Holding, Svetlana Popović, Senior Media Buyer & QMS Representative, Direct Media United Solutions, Jovan Protić, national coordinator of the International Labor Organization (ILO) for the Republic of Serbia and Milan Veselinov, founder and director, CirEkon. The moderator was Ana Bovan, president of the Central European Development Forum (CEDEF).
It is no longer important only what we do, but also how we do it and what benefit and impact it has on society. The impact on the community is seen and heard and caution is necessary. And greater involvement of all interested parties is also necessary.
“Delta Holding has many socially responsible projects, and we try to make them development-oriented projects that contribute to the community because we link this with our sustainable development. We want to transfer our knowledge to others and help small entrepreneurs, especially farms, where we teach them how to make their businesses sustainable”, said Tijana Koprivica, director of sustainable business.
“Direct Media is a company that takes great care of its employees and follows all world trends that contribute to the sustainability of the system. The certificates we receive are only a confirmation of our work and values that are a key part of our system. We have just received a silver medal from the international agency for evaluating corporate social responsibility – ‘Ecovadis’, we are the first domestic media agency to have a full ‘Family Friendly certificate’, which indicates that this company creates and nurtures a family-friendly environment, and at the end of the certification for Socially Responsible Employer, which will make us the first company in Serbia with this certificate”, stated Svetlana Popović, Senior Media Buyer & QMS Representative, Direct Media United Solutions.
“SERBIA GOES GREEN” once again gathered the most invited people to talk about environmental awareness, sustainable development, circular economy, and ESG standards and confirmed the leadership position in the organization of environmental and other events in the region.
You can view a more detailed program with conference participants at the link.
The event was supported by Coca-Cola HBC Serbia, NLB Komercijalna Banka, Direct Media United Solutions, Yettel, Delta Holding, and Novaston.