Belgrade, March 12, 2021 – Responsible Business Forum and Smart Kolektiv organized business networking event with representatives of the business community within the platform “Sustainable Development for All” in order to highlight the role of small and medium enterprises in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The event was attended by the Head of Development Cooperation at German Embassy in Serbia, Christian Schilling

Dejan Turk, President of the Responsible Business Forum and Director of Vip mobile and A1 Slovenia, and Neven Marinović, Executive Director of the Responsible Business Forum, emphasized the importance of connecting through organizations such as the Forum in order totransfer knowledge and experiences related to sustainable development. They pointed out that the role of large business systems is to empower and encourage small and medium enterprises to adopt sustainability practices and to support them through the exchange of knowledge, experience and mentoring. On this occasion, they thanked the German partners for recognizing the Forum as an organization that gathers together leading companies in Serbia which are dedicated to business sustainability.

The Head of Development Cooperation at German Embassy in Serbia, Christian Schilling, pointed out that the German Government has provided more than 2 billion EUR for Serbia since the democratic upheaval in 2000. This makes Germany Serbia’s most important bilateral donor. Schilling emphasized the importance of the 2030 Agenda for all policy areas of the cooperation, and that it is a great honor to support Serbia in its efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda – in line with the country’s aspirations related to the EU accession. Therefore, for the Serbian SMEs, it is important, to realize how significant and committed partner, such as Germany, encourages and enables private sector to adoption sustainability principles and the premise of the 2030 Agenda at the core of their decision-making and business models.

Representatives of small and medium enterprises had the opportunity to share their experiences, proposals and challenges they face on the road to sustainability. Slobodan Janković, Director of InMold Plast from Požega, enterprise and leader of sustainability from the Zlatibor region, presented the beginnings of implementing principles of sustainability in the company’s business and the importance of implementing ethical, environmental and social principles in business. The essence of the company’s successful business is focus on professional development employees, education young people through dual education and transfer knowledge through cooperation with over 50 subcontractors in Serbia.

On event was also attended by representative of the medium company Bosis, Marija Pantelić, a company that has recently become a member of the Responsible Business Forum. Marija pointed out that sustainability is the same for small, medium and large companies, and that sustainable business ensures sustainable growth of the company and it does not need to be expensive. She pointed out that the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved only through their local application, and in that sense, local companies have a great role as initiators of certain activities.

The participants agreed that the role of small and medium enterprises is especially important in achieving specific goals: Goal 8 – decent work and economic growth, Goal 9 – infrastructure and industrialization, Goal 12 – sustainable consumption and production, and Goal 4.7. relating to education for sustainable development, where companies can contribute with examples and good practices.

All participants agreed that it is essential to talk more proactively in order to accomplish ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda. The business sector needs to direct resources towards accomplish these long-term goals, in order to develop and improve in the future their businesses. In the end it was concluded that by reviewing business models, turning to sustainable practices, respecting ethical, environmental and social principles and values, can contribute better business and better society for all.