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Meet eight of this year’s SDG Business Pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

For the second year in a row, the United Nations Development Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNDP in BiH) with the financial support of Sweden, and within the project “SDGs Roll-out Support and Private Sector Engagement” organizes the SDG Business Pioneers Award in BiH. The final event this year was held in very specific circumstances, respecting the protection measures related to the global COVID-19 pandemic. But regardless of the emerging normalcy, the selected finalists, business leaders, were there, proudly presenting their achievements and ideas.

The winners are women who successfully start businesses, then leading IT experts who grow from family companies into regional leaders, but also those a little bigger from other industries who respect the goals of sustainable development, while surviving on the BiH market for several decades. There were also those who for the second year in a row confirmed their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals in this “privileged” club, and thus gave an additional stamp of further development and upgrading in their businesses in the future.

They are women, heroines, and with their manual and dedicated work they produce decorative and clothing items from yarn. They are Stitch22 d.o.o. Sarajevo and they proudly say that they are economically independent and empowered women. They are winners in the theme “People” in the category of micro enterprises for SDG Business Pioneers Award.

“We are surprised by the award and we really owe special gratitude to UNDP and SIDA for the initiative, which we hope will help further the development of social entrepreneurship in BiH. We dedicate our award to all women in BiH, especially those women who live on the margins of our society, women from rural areas. These are our and your, invisible heroines, who maintain this society. We believe that without the economic empowerment of this group of women, we cannot build the modern, democratic and developed society that we all want to see here”, they concluded in Stitch22.

Any successful business is based on caring for employees as a guide for further development, especially if it primarily means healthy living and developing healthy lifestyles. In the Union MF d.o.o. Sarajevo, an international accounting company that has been declared a SDG Business Pioneer in the category of small businesses in the “People” thematic area, they say they secretly hoped for the award because they are really focused on people in their work.

“Only trained accountants can maintain high professional standards of financial operations according to the expectations of business clients. So people are part of both our mission and vision. Today’s award is further confirmation of what we are doing. This is a reward for our entire team”, they say in the MF Union.

Among the awarded winners are those who make their first beginnings outside the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They started as a small family business, back in the days when some of them lived in Sweden. After returning to BiH, they decided to show people that things can be done differently in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aware that technological innovations are the result of creative work, they wanted to show that you can always be better, give more, help people build start-ups in this country, region, but also around the world.

“We are aware that this was not and still is not an easy task. That is why we can proudly say that we are one of the fastest growing technology companies in Central Europe, but also the only one in BiH that have placed on the Financial Times FT1000 list. Thanks to all our efforts so far, we have managed to reach 110 employees in five years”, they said from the Ministry of Programming d.o.o. Sarajevo, which is this year’s winner of the Award in the category of medium-sized companies (“People”) for SDG Business Pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 2020.

Lanaco d.o.o. Banja Luka, an IT company that bases its business success on sustainable development and in which gender equality is the foundation of business, has been declared the SDG Business Pioneer in the category of large companies.

“The promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals is very important for all of us who come from the business community in BiH. It is actually the promotion of human resources that are the real value of all our companies. This Award is especially important for us because we are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of our company, which, thanks to technological innovations, makes the digital world in the cloud and reduces the use of raw materials in the form of hardware”, they emphasize in Lanaco.

Their decades-long experience in overhauling car turbines is a sure proof that these same products can be returned to their original state in terms of energy efficiency. They recycle turbines that would otherwise be thrown away and give them a new life.

“We are happy because this Award is an additional incentive for the further development of our company. Reduced use of natural resources is the business path of our company and in that sense we intend to continue to work diligently to meet the Sustainable Development Goals “, they say in Turboservis BH d.o.o. Sarajevo and express their thanks for this year’s recognition in the category of micro companies in the theme of “Resources and Environment”.

Thanks to the sustainable use of natural resources and treasures from their plantations, the most delicious fruits and vegetables find their place on the dining tables of our country and beyond.

“The only product we offer is proof that our efforts and work have paid off. Healthy food is our common future “, they said from Jaffa Komerc d.o.o. Blagaj and added that small subcontractors from all over BiH, over 100 households, are present on the market of the European Union and the Russian Federation this year with over 1.5 million kilograms of exported various fruits and vegetables, which is a sufficient indicator that this winner of SDG Business Pioneers Award in the category of small businesses is on the right track.

Sustainable business and reducing the negative impact on the environment are key elements of their business culture. Energy efficiency and energy use with the largest proportion of renewable sources in BiH are just some of the examples why Coca Cola HBC B-H d.o.o. Sarajevo is one of the winners of this year’s Award. Namely, Coca-Cola HBC B-H Sarajevo produced 56% less waste, while recycling as much as 96% of the total waste produced.

“We thank everyone who recognized the efforts made by Coca Cola HBC B-H d.o.o. Sarajevo and awarded us in the category of large companies in the theme of ‘Resources and Environment’. This Award is proof that our employees are all working together to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and it is certain that we will all continue to work together on the sustainability of BiH”, they emphasized from this company.

A small number of companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina actively measure their individual contribution to achieving Sustainable Development Goals and transparently share their plans for further improvements with the community. For the second year in a row, precisely for these reasons and measurement results, the company Tvornica cementa Kakanj d.d. was declared the overall winner, ie the SDG Business Pioneer in 2020. This company also received an Award in the category of medium-sized companies in the theme of “Resources and Environment”. Kakanj Cement Factory has achieved several impressive achievements in the field of environmental protection, in which they have invested as much as 100 million USD. Thus, they reduced dust emissions by as much as 99 percent, and they also reduced the use of water from the Bosna River by the same percentage.

“Today we celebrate the work and efforts of our team, which has ensured that we are engaged in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals. Resources are our treasure, the source from which we make products, and we at the Cement Factory have turned our strategy into goals. With an innovative approach, we reduce the amount of wastewater, dust, the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. We care about our society and we will continue to strive to work on building a sustainable world to be an inspiration to other teams working to build a sustainable world and BiH. Thank you to UNDP and SIDA for recognizing our efforts to build a sustainable world”, they concluded from the Kakanj Cement Factory.