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SDG Business Pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 2021 – Inspiration and example to others

SDG Business Pioneers Award ceremony is a closing event of an annual competition of business pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 2021, aimed at promoting the efforts made by the private sector in the field of sustainable development in B&H.  At Kastel fortress in Banja Luka, the ceremony was held on 1 July 2021 whre a third generation of SDG Business Pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina was awarded.  

SDG Business Pioneers Award recognises and highlights the efforts of the private sector companies towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in B&H and motivates new entrepreneurs to create their business models in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. It is organised within the project SDG Roll-out Support and Private Sector Engagement, implemented by UNDP in B&H and financed by Sweden. This year an official partner of the award is the Foreign Trade Chamber of B&H, whose president, Mr Ahmet Egrlić, had the honor to present the award.

The evaluation methodology was developed based on UN Global Compact methodology and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) with some adjustments to the local context.

SDG Business Pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 2021 were selected from among 75 companies that submitted 106 applications.  This selection is a recognition of their activities and strategies towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both globally and at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also a task for them in terms of motivating the others to follow their example and integrate SDGs in their business models. Decarbonisation, innovation and creation of new high-quality jobs is their common ground which singles them out and is specific about their business activities.

The first amongst equals is the company Dekonta BH. It is present on a global level and is experienced in hazardous waste management and decontamination, as well as wastewaters treatment. The company wants to realise its vision and excel more by taking an innovative approach and environmental protection technologies in a sustainable manner.  As they put it, they invest continuously in their staff, provide them with the best working conditions and treat them with dignity and respect.

‘’We extend services that are sustainable and environmentally friendly thus promoting the integrity of our business activities. Our employees are committed to growth, development of our company and environmental protection. “. is a statement by the employees of  Dekonta BH, a micro-size business which is selected in the category ‘’People“ as an inspiration to others for creation of new jobs.  

It is exactly for its commitment to people above all, as well as the way it contributes to the creation of new jobs and development of the chain of values, Ministry of Programming, software design, development and investments company, specialised for start-ups, was awarded in the category ‘’People “, among medium-size businesses for sustainable management. In only four years, this company became the fastest growing IT company in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the only company in B&H ranked at the list of Financial Times FT1000. It is led by human innovation as a requirement for a digital transformation of society, where they create start-ups worldwide in order to support the development of sustainable business ideas.

‘’Our life philosophy and experience that we built for years as programmers is all about people being the most important and that we should be always devoted to the people.  If we want to build a sustainable company, then a financial aspect is no longer the only crucial aspect, but also devotion to our employees, creation of high-quality jobs and environment, ethical business activities and all other parts of our business model, “ stated the employees from the Ministry of Programming.

Lanaco, a winner in the category of large businesses, is yet another IT company which grows sustainably and whose business model includes an economic success and social responsibility. A favorable working environment and stimulative income are certainly factors that help make this company one of the best. They proudly emphasise that they encourage their employees to continuous trainings, and that they give a chance to young people at the same time paying special attention to gender equality.

Family businesses can be recognised as one of the SDG Business Pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as shown by the example of Šumska tajna company. They are the right choice for all those who want to eat healthy as they deal with organic products.

‘’We continuously work towards establishing our own processing capacities with a modern and ecologically sustainable growing and production technology and application of quality standards in primary organic production.  Organic production requires an extremely clean environment and we managed to transform our company as per circular economy, which we consider our natural choice as we tend to put in the market the certified highest-quality berries “, stated the employees at Šumska tajna, an award winner in the category ‘’Resources and Environment“ amongs the micro-size businesses.

A production of healthy fruits and vegetables with sustainable development in agro production and using natural wealth such as clean air, unpolluted soil and water is a premise of business model of the ESOF company, a winning SDG Business Pioneer in the category of medium-size businesses.

A devotion to employees and sustainability, particularly at times of health and economic crisis caused by global COVID-19 pandemic, was in the focus of Coca Cola HBC B&H company. Commitment to reducing their technological imprint, recycling, reduction of energy consumption and sustainable business activities are what makes them one of the best this year as well, and so they were granted the SDG Business Pioneer Award in the category ‘’Resources and Environment “, among large-size companies. 

SDG Business Pioneer for 2021, the overall winner of this year’s competition and at the same time a winner in the category of small-size businesses in both categories is Smrčak company from Zvornik.

‘’Our company collects, grows and distributes berries, mushrooms and herbs.  We offer an opportunity to single mothers, young people and persons with physical disabilities to live a dignified life from their own work in cooperation with the nature.  We keep up with the modern trends of quality management and sustainable development goals as our business model. Our production is mainly oriented towards foreign, international market and our business activities grounded on sustainable development principles are the real response to the market demands, especially now when we plan to introduce new products thus justifying the business leader title in this field “, stated the employees from Smrčak, adding that we all need to raise awareness so to leave this planet as a better place to the coming generations.  

The SDG Business Pioneer Award recognised this year for the first time the role of local community in the creation of conditions for the private business development. A mutual relationship was exceptionally important during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year the plaques were granted to local self-governance units which, according to the developed methodology, extended the most effective and timely support to the private sector. The plaques were taken over by mayors of Bosanska Krupa, Cazin, Doboj, Novo Sarajevo and Teslić. The award was symbolically handed over by Mr Ahmet Egrlić.