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Last year’s winners: The Sustainable Development Goals are an opportunity for all of us!

Last year, for the first time, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with the support of the Swedish Government, awarded Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sustainable development leaders – companies that do exceptional things by introducing and implementing measures and activities for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in BiH.

Being the first among equals in this extremely important field of development and sustainability of a society is, in a certain way, a kind of burden and an additional obligation to the bearers of such an extremely important recognition. It is for this reason that we have visited some of the last year’s leaders to see what has been happening in their companies over the last year and how the recognition has affected their business.

Heidelberg cement Kakanj was declared the overall winner of the SDG Business Pioneers Award in BiH in 2019. They say that being a winner, i.e. an overall winner and leader of sustainable development in a country like Bosnia and Herzegovina, requires them, as a socially responsible company, to take an even more responsible approach to business.

“We are continuously working on the promotion of our activities, especially those activities that relate to sustainable development. The use of substitute fuels, certain types of waste that are substitutes for coal, is the most important project we have been engaged in for the last ten years “, says Almir Bajtarevic, expert associate for ISO standards and environmental protection in Kakanj cement plant and adds:

“It would be good for other companies to educate themselves because everyone can contribute to sustainability in their own way. It is true that we in Heidelberg belong to a specific industry and that we are constantly dealing with the issue of reduction of the ecological footprint, which is an additional motive for us to be socially responsible. Ultimately, if we want to be a good neighbor who is ready to be transparent and continuously educated, then the Sustainable Development Goals are an opportunity for everyone to contribute”, concludes Bajtarević.

Last year’s winner of this flattering title in the theme “People”, and in the category of large companies, is the company dm drogerie markt d.o.o.

“For us as a company, this award shows a recognition that we are well on our way to making our operations in BiH more sustainable in terms of environment, our employees and people, and gives us additional motivation to persevere and be even better in our efforts to create a desirable work environment for our employees, as well as to act as a responsible member of the community in BiH – responsible to the people and the environment in BiH”, said Alida Covic-Mezet, Human Resources Development Manager of dm.

“On the other hand, being awarded this recognition encouraged us to create new ideas, additional projects and gave us an incentive to do even more. In addition, it motivated us, the employees of this company, to act even more responsibly. We think that our common task is to work on employee development and base our business on the principles of sustainable development. We believe that such a challenge can lead to fantastic results and encourage positive changes in the country and local communities in which we operate, as well as make us more prepared for future challenges”, said Covic-Mezet.

Both last year’s winners unanimously invited all interested companies not to wait, to be actively engaged in the implementation of measures and activities for a sustainable future to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in BiH and to join them in this exceptional “club” of the selected.

And in Isatis Software Solutions, a microcompany that started in 2013 by employing only a few people, the words of our previous interlocutors are confirmed.

“From then until today, we have strived to maintain the same attitude towards our employees, so that the atmosphere in which our employees work is optimal for their progress and satisfaction and is passed on to all new and future employees of our team,” says Edin Stroil, software engineer in Isatis. Last year, this company was declared the business leader for sustainable development in the thematic field “People” in the category of small companies.

“The award we received last year is a recognition and encouragement that we are on the right track. Isatis nurtures a stress-free environment and encourages a culture in which our employees feel safe thanks to stable business operations, and in which they establish a good balance between work and private life. The company has managed to maintain stability for its employees and even though we had fewer clients during the pandemic, the employees did not feel that turbulence, but instead they maintained their level of excellence and we thank them for that. At the same time, this is both an impartial recognition and a success, considering that last year we did not have a marketing strategy for this competition, so we were pleasantly surprised because we won as „outsiders“. The Award brought us new job applicants who got a positive image of the company and were encouraged to apply to work at a company whose quality was recognized”, emphasizes Stroil and adds:

“The award stimulated us to continue on our path, for which we received recognition – we kept our work ethic and we continued to employ. Isatis’ growth is based on the idea that the quality of work comes from the quality of the people we have. ”

When we asked him what he would say to future and potential leaders of sustainable development in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Stroil emphasized:

“Be fair to your employees, invest in them and they will be fair to you and invest in the company. Companies need to know that it is extremely important how they approach their employees, because they need to encourage them to present their ideas and visions, share their knowledge and experiences. It is necessary to support your employees because a company without its employees is just an empty room. ”

The ceremony for the SDG Business Pioneers Award  is being held this year as well as the final event of the annual competition for business leaders 2020, which aims to promote the efforts of the private sector in the field of sustainable development in BiH. The Award Ceremony is organized as part of the “SDGs Roll-Out Support  and Private Sector Engagement“ project implemented by the UNDP in BiH and funded by the Government of Sweden.