Representatives of businesses, financial institutions, academia, and international organizations in BiH have gathered yesterday at the event "Greening the Economy - Accelerating Business" organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss within three panels what the green transition entails for the private sector and to deepen the understanding of the benefits of investing in green solutions. This event is a part of the first Sustainable Development Goals Week in BiH.
The green economy is a broader concept that refers to the transition from coal to renewables to reduce pollution, the energy efficiency improvements in production processes to achieve savings, reuse of waste materials and energy generation in business processes, all necessary switches that should stop harmful climate change effects and bring new opportunities for economic development. Economic recovery efforts in light of the COVID-19 pandemic can also serve as a window of opportunity to switch to resource-driven approaches, green jobs creation as part of the green recovery strategies.
That is why UNDP in BiH brought together representatives of local businesses and financial institutions to consider all key aspects of the green transition and its impact on the economy. Within the three panels "Why the green economy makes business sense?", "Unpacking green economy in BiH" and "Financial instruments for the green economy", participants discussed the opportunities and values of "greening" the economy in BiH, opportunities and benefits of green investment, as well as the challenges of transition. They also talked about the possibilities of green financing products in BiH and presented the successful solutions that some businesses are already applying.
UNDP Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Steliana Nedera underlined that the green economy can be a powerful tool for the country's economic recovery after the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She also emphasized that the participation of businesses and financial institutions is very important along with the support of policymakers and decision-makers as the power of transforming the economy into a responsible green economy lies in their hands.
"Taking care of the environment is an issue that has been in the focus of international strategic documents for several decades. The call for climate action and higher climate ambition for 2021, ahead of the COP26 climate summit to be held in the UK later this month, creates a good momentum to involve the private sector and the financial institutions in discussing the benefits of the green economy and the status of green financing instruments in Bosnia and Herzegovina." Nedera added.
This was also a good opportunity to encourage financial institutions to support investments in green economy more intensively and thus contribute to the green transition of companies. Considering the overall benefits of the green economy, all participants have agreed that its opens opportunities for job creation and skills development, improvements in job quality and incomes, and advances in equity and social inclusion. Furthermore, representatives of businesses and financial institutions believe that "greening" the economy involves large investments in new technologies, equipment, buildings, and infrastructure. Also, some of them presented examples of good practices as they already introduced components of the green economy in their business.
Branimir Muidža, President of the Foreign Investors Council President/General Manager of Tvornica cementa Kakanj and HeidelbergCement Group for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, said that the goal of this conference is the same as goals of companies that are responsible in their business, and that is to achieve a faster transition to a green economy. "That transition has no alternative. Today's conference is attended by representatives of companies who have a lot of experience, ideas, and vision on how to move forward. At the same time, the key partners are present as well. For that reason, I am sure that together we will find solutions leading to stronger support for green investments and ultimately sustainable development.", Muidža concluded.
In his address, Željko Kišić, Member of the Management Board of UniCredit Bank, a.d. Banja Luka stated that the bank, as a member of the UniCredit Group, a pan-European commercial bank, plays a central role in supporting the transition to a more sustainable economy to reduce environmental pressures, and to support new ways of doing business, including reduced carbon use and a more inclusive society. "We are constantly striving to expand and improve the range of our products and services in the segment of sustainability in all markets in which we operate," said Kišić.
"Green transition is the future and without it we will not be able to be competitive or survive on this planet. The European Union has given very clear guidelines for a green transition. The goals are very clear, Europe wants to be a green continent by 2050. This gives clear guidelines to all of us in BiH, above all, the private sector, to be competitive in the European market, and to all of us in BiH to live in harmony with nature and leave natural resources for future generations, "said Mate Omazic owner of Podhum farm from Livno.