Sustainability is, more than ever, at the center of corporate activities, and ESG is a powerful tool that supports the business sector in its efforts to contribute to sustainable development, with the civil sector playing a catalyzing role by supporting exchange and dialogue, while the public sector makes sustainability happen through compiled and comprehensive policies and programs.
Following the principle that cooperation is the key to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda, the Responsible Business Forum and Smart Kolektiv, in cooperation with the “SDGs for All” Platform, organized the event “Sustainability Talks: The Pathway to Sustainable Business” designed to bring together stakeholders from the private, public and the civil sector, and provide small and medium-sized enterprises with an opportunity for networking and learning, simultaneously being a source of quality recommendations and advice to those just starting to incorporate sustainability as one of the strategic goals of their businesses.
At the first of a series of planned events, which was held on August 3 in Novi Sad and hosted by Elixir Group, participants discussed how ESG, CSR and SDGs work together for sustainability, non-financial reporting as the key to transparency and business sustainability, working together for a better society, and the link between key ESG performance indicators and sustainable development indicators.
The framework for last week’s Sustainability Talks was set by the second edition of the ESG/SDG Barometer, whereas ESG refers to the standards used to screen private sector investments and approaches with regard to environmental, social and governance aspects on the way to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Responsible Business Forum Neven Marinović presented current topics in the field of sustainability, possible threats related to manipulative green marketing, as well as different views on priorities regarding the urgency of biodiversity protection.
The panel discussion during which the participants presented the projects and initiatives of their companies, as well as the challenges they face on the way to sustainability, was led by Margareta Musić, manager of the Elixir Foundation and director of the Corporate Communications Sector at Elixir Group, and the panelists were Branislav Jovanović from A1 Serbia, Marijana Jović from Schneider Electric, Lana Hadži-Niković from CEVES, Marija Radojčić, organizer of the Novi Sad Night Bazaar and Maja Sokić from the Vojvodina Development Agency.
Zorica Popović, general director of Elixir Group, presented her company’s results, as well as goals and plans for the future. The telecommunications company A1 presented an example of good practice related to the installation of solar panels and the construction of rain gardens throughout Serbia in order to counter climate changes, followed by a deep dive into the Schneider Electric’s smart building, and education and well-being programs for their own employees and community, as well as reflecting upon successes and challenges of the Night Bazaar’s small enterprises promoting agricultural producers and products.
The Center for Advanced Economic Studies (CEVES), as partner within the “SDGs for All” Platform, provided valuable data for decision-makers on gaps and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, with regard to the implementation of the SDGs. Finally, this was perfectly anchored in the Development Plan of Vojvodina 2023-2030, developed in a participatory manner with all stakeholders by the Vojvodina Development Agency and adopted by the Parliament of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina earlier this year.