Have You Already Seen the Interactive Map of Maribor - Environment and Health?

The Adriatic in Partnership with the Joint Municipal Administration of Maribor - Environmental Protection Service

editor


August 2022 Sustainability

In 2021, the Joint Environmental Protection Service of the Maribor Joint Municipal Administration, the originator and leader of the project, in cooperation with the National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food, the Geological Survey of Slovenia and the National Institute of Public Health, have developed an interactive online map called  "Maribor - Environment and Health". The map allows citizens to access up-to-date data on the state of the environment in the municipality and its wider surroundings. The map also includes data on the health of the population in the area.

How it Works?

The website is user-friendly and visitors can easily find the information they are interested in on the map. They can access general information about the quality of water, air or soil on a scale ranging from  – Good,  Borderline, Warning to Bad – at any location on the map, as well as providing the specific values registered on the day of sampling, by simply clicking on the icon for water, air or soil. The user who requires more in-depth information can get an additional explanation of the data by clicking on the “i” mark.

In the future, we plan to upgrade the system with online and mobile user interfaces, to make the information accessible to users of all digital devices. The data and the developed indicators can be easily transferred to other platforms simultaneously, namely – mobile applications, other websites, digital billboards and various other information systems.

We will continue to upgrade the content of the system, which means that we will be able to include other parameters or indicators that relate to the state of the environment, as well as data on the state of health in the municipality. The content upgrade will be dependent on the environmental and health data available and will be on display to the general public.

We Collect Initiatives and Comments From the Public

We also want the participation of the general public in the design of the upgrades. Citizens can send their suggestions and comments to the e-mail address info.okolje@maribor.si, with the note “Maribor – environment and health”.

We will study the received initiatives and comments and meaningfully include them in the map with the aim of bringing it as close as possible to citizens and making its contents as useful, comprehensible, interesting and user-friendly as possible.

We expect that the system will significantly contribute to a higher level of citizens’ awareness of the state of the environment they live in and its impact on health.

The interactive map is available HERE.

WALK THE TALK: THE FIRST REGIONAL NET-0 EVENT

How can organisations contribute proactively to carbon neutrality?

In September 2022, the Institute for Strategic Solutions (ISR) is planning  a NET-0 EVENT business forum. It will focus on the most crucial issue of our times –  climate change. We will discuss ways in which both companies and individuals can mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the event is to bring together key representatives from companies, politics, NGOs, and international agencies, together with  innovators of breakthrough solutions and the financial community in a combined effort to try and find solutions to this serious and impending crisis. 

Only by working together, can we succeed.

All relevant stakeholders agree that carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions are our key goals for the future. However, sectoral strategies vary, and seldom address the whole problem by failure to adequately align supply chains to their stategy, and by omitting to include the problems of transition – both of which are significant challenges. Therefore, we will aim to highlight these issues, through a series of articles from different platforms, prior to the business forum. Our obective is to equip readers with access to new ideas, good practice and integrated processes that are environmentally responsible and proactive in their quest for a positive future with net-zero emissions by 2050.


A Guide to Sustainable Event Management - Some Examples, and How to Make Your Event More Environmentally Sustainable

Sustainability

editor


August 2022 Sustainability

Carol Jardine

CONTRIBUTOR AT THE ADRIATIC


‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children’ Native American Proverb

Slovenia is a trailblazer in the Green Scene, being named the world’s first Green Destination in 2016,  voted the World’s Most Sustainable Country by National Geographic in 2017, and Ljubljana was acclaimed as Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2016, scoring 96% of 41 criteria including air quality, water and waste and green business.

Slovenia has become recognised as one of the most desirable green destinations in the world, and plays host to many festivals, music concerts, sports events and conferences, and therefore, requires to actively contribute to the rapidly evolving ESG  guidelines for event management.

Festivals, music events and international sports events are making dramatic changes concerning sustainable venues and renewable energy, and together with conference organisers, they are also looking at green travel, locations, suppliers and supply chains.

Corporates

Companies in Slovenia are paying lip service to ESG issues but few appear to have established the all-important ESG Comittees necessary to devise their own specific ESG strategy. Positive moves to reduce paper useage are widespread, the option of working from home reduces Carbon emissions from car transport, many companies have eradicated the use of plastic cups, by using reusable cups and mugs , Slovenia’s enviable tap water is served at meetings and travel by foot and bicycle is actively encouraged – but is this enough?

AZN, the Slovenian Insurance Regulator, is actively addressing some of the main ESG issues at their 7th annual conference in Ljubljana on the 6th  September. 

It will hold panel discussions on how the insurance market, as an integral part of the Financial Services sector  is taking proactive ESG steps to make Europe the first carbon- neutral continent.Guest speakers include  many leading lights from Europe,including the new EIOPA chairperson, Petra Hielkema, Michaela Koller, Director General at Insurance Europe, Prof. Karel Van Hulle, KU Leuven and Goethe University Frankfurt and many other experts.  

The panels will also look at the ‘ S and G factors’ at board level and amongst employees in the Insurance industry. Is there real gender equality , and the diversity necessary to bring in new perspectives? Are Human Rights issues considerd in investment policies and supply chains?

It will also discuss how the Financial Services sector is looking at assets held by insurance companies including the  increasing predominance and active investment in companies who have transparent ESG strategies, and how they are  dealing with ‘black’ companies, who have made written committments, and are currently undergoing transformations with the goal of carbon – neutrality by 2050.  

The event is open to a wide audience, including policy makers and leaders in the insurance industry, and will try to find innovative solutions to current ESG issues and establish the insurance industry as a key player in the financial services sector and its attempts to make Europe the first Carbon-neutral continent.

Major European Events

Looking at some examples of big events in Europe, we can learn from their ESG strategies to save the planet.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon, UK,  established in 1877, is the oldest, and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. And quintessentially English, a tournament where the ‘tennis whites, all white’ players’ dress code still prevails. The 42,000 daily spectators are required to dress ‘smartly’, particularly on Centre and No 1 courts.

So how has Wimbledon adapted to ESG guidelines?

Wimbledon is a signatory to the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework with goals for reducing emissions to net zero through overall use of LED lighting; being resource efficient by reducing the resources used and increasing the proportion of recycled content, such as cups, cutlery and plates, and using stored rainwater to water the grass courts. It also aims to contribute to a net gain in biodiversity by 2030.

Wimbledon currently buys and uses renewable energy, they are installing LED lighting throughout the grounds, and use solar panels on indoor courts and at the Community Tennis Centre. They have replaced their fleet of petrol-fuelled VIP and hospitality cars and horticultural equipment with electric-powered vehicles. Wimbledon also promises to compensate for unavoidable emissions through forest protection schemes and offsets and to publish its Carbon emission scorecards publicly.

The World Athletics Committee

The World Athletics forum has implemented a ‘Sustainable Events Management System’ promoting  ‘Athletics for a Better World’ by measuring adherence to their ESG goals. The scheme is being piloted in each of the 5 World Athletics series and offers Best Practice principles. They encompass the environment, suppliers, builders, sponsors and stakeholders and will become an integral part of the bidding and sanctioning process, making sustainability a key factor in how and where events are held – hopefully avoiding a repeat of the questionable choice of Qatar for the FIFA World Cup.

World Athletics have addressed the E and S challenges with a trial ‘Run Smarter City Challenge’, aimed at promoting physical fitness and raising awareness of air quality. It has also launched an educational e-module programme through webinars and talks, using notable international athletes’ platforms to distribute the message globally. It also promotes ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing’, protects athletes from online abuse, and aims to engage a wider range of stakeholders in promoting the benefits of its ESG strategy. 

The strategy follows a 10-year road map and hopes to promote sustainabilıty, sustainable production and consumption, reduction of carbon emissions, local environment and air quality, global equality and diversity, accessibility and wellbeing. Regular and transparent reporting of progress will be freely available to the public.

Music

 In the music world, trailblazers include Radiohead, a UK band, who in 2007, introduced the concept of ‘green touring’ with their ‘pay what you want’ online album, ‘In Rainbows’, accompanied by the request that fans support The BigAsk Climate Change campaign.

Radiohead commissioned carbon footprint analysts to calculate their carbon footprint, and subsequently, have cut their carbon emissions, through lighting with LED, transporting their equipment using ships and trains, and using only recyclable materials and reusable tour merchandise. The band have actively promoted green travel to fans and crew – emphasizing carbon savings and asking their fans to leave their cars at home and travel ‘green’. It is estimated that 1/3 of all carbon emissions arise from fans and performers’ crew’s travel and 1/3 from the venue.

On the opera front, the renowned private opera venue, Glyndebourne, UK, encourages attendees to have traditional outdoor picnics on the grounds of its 1250-seat auditorium where it welcomes over 100,000 visitors p.a to the delights of modern and classical opera. A 67-metre high wind turbine was constructed in 2012, and its output now exceeds all its annual electricity needs, providing low-energy LED lighting in the auditorium and car park, controlled by timers and light sensors, as well as installing additional electric car charging points for customers and staff. Responsible waste management provides fertilizer for the gardens,  and a ban on disposable cups has led to net-zero waste. 

In Europe, there has been a general push towards sustainable music festivals, with an increase in hybrid concerts using interactive virtual reality streaming, ‘pay- what- you- want online albums, promotion of green travel, use of renewable energy and banning of plastic merchandise, cups and straws. 

Will Hutton, British author and academic, says ‘The arts have an immensely powerful platform to help ignite social and legislative change. We need everyone to be involved – the live sector, recording companies, streaming partners and, of course, the artists.’ 

Conference centres, assisted by COVID 19, are adjusting to the hybrid conference, and centres such as Cankerjev Dom in Ljubljana, provide only Slovenia’s high-quality tap water at conferences, have reduced their consumption of natural resources, use local suppliers and organic food and only eco-friendly cleaning products. And, in my opinion, wins the prize for innovation, with its five rooftop beehives housing a population of 500,000 Carniolan honeybees. The bees aid biodiversity through pollination and promote apicultural heritage, leading to a UN endorsement of Slovenia’s Save the Bee Day initiative. Their annual honey production is between 40-100kg – and it’s excellent honey!

These are just a few examples of how ESG strategies can save the environment in the world of event management, be it sport, the arts or business, but to summarise, I think there are 5 key factors to consider.

1. Create an eco-friendly venue with LED lighting and accessible renewable energy from wind and solar panels.

2. Reduce and recycle food waste as fertilizer, use organic and seasonable food produce from local suppliers.

3. Use paperless communication and provide labelled trash bins.

4. Actively promote green travel options to performers, fans and attendees, such as carshare, public transport, and foot or bicycle for local venues.

5. And last, but not least, set up an ESG committee involving a cross range of stakeholders including attendees, suppliers and vendors, so that together they can create a strategy for a sustainable event that benefits all of us and our planet. 

Actions speak louder than words!

WALK THE TALK: THE FIRST REGIONAL NET-0 EVENT

How can organisations contribute proactively to carbon neutrality?

In September 2022, the Institute for Strategic Solutions (ISR) is planning  a NET-0 EVENT business forum. It will focus on the most crucial issue of our times –  climate change. We will discuss ways in which both companies and individuals can mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the event is to bring together key representatives from companies, politics, NGOs, and international agencies, together with  innovators of breakthrough solutions and the financial community in a combined effort to try and find solutions to this serious and impending crisis. 

Only by working together, can we succeed.

All relevant stakeholders agree that carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions are our key goals for the future. However, sectoral strategies vary, and seldom address the whole problem by failure to adequately align supply chains to their stategy, and by omitting to include the problems of transition – both of which are significant challenges. Therefore, we will aim to highlight these issues, through a series of articles from different platforms, prior to the business forum. Our obective is to equip readers with access to new ideas, good practice and integrated processes that are environmentally responsible and proactive in their quest for a positive future with net-zero emissions by 2050.


Going Green - Our Imperative for the Future

The Adriatic in Partnership With Elektro Maribor

editor


July 2022 Sustainability

After COVID 19 and Ukraine war have shaken our society, global energy market faced some major global challenges forcing us into more sustainable way of life, being more responsible to our planet than ever before. 

European union has put the highest priority to green energy as one of the most important steps towards greater energy independence. This direction demands long term structural changes and investments, shifting from fossil fuel electricity consumption to green one. Green energy is generated from renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal energy, hydropower and biomass.

Slovenia produces around 85 % of its own electricity, the rest is imported. Renewables play an important role in electricity generation, but with current consumption rising, in short term, they are not expected to become the only source. Now the main source of green electricity is water. Solar and biomass energy follow, with only a sample of wind power; even though wind has become the most important renewable source of electricity in the EU in 2017, displacing hydro.

Taking into consideration the open electricity market as well as Slovenia’s energy and climate policy goals, the electricity distribution network is facing new challenges. As its primary task is to ensure reliable, secure, and efficient distribution of electricity to around 940,000 users, quite some investments for modernisation in line with international trends for efficient green transformation will be needed. 

The existing electricity system has been serving users efficiently, reliably, and safely for over 100 years, but today it faces several new challenges arising from bigger consumption and peak loads, ageing infrastructure, spatial constraints and the associated problems of placing risky infrastructure, environmental issues and dispersed generation. Our electricity system is not ready for the cost-effective integration of new elements (distributed electricity resources, electric vehicles, heat pumps) into the system. Information technology will play an increasingly important role in the future development of the electricity distribution network, providing information support for all processes within the smart grid concept. Coordinated action in the technological, regulatory, economic, and sociological fields is crucial for the establishment of an effective smart grid concept.

Innovative services are being developed, but they must be adequately supported through communication with the public, particularly in terms of raising awareness among users of the system. If any of these areas are neglected, the concept of smart grids in Slovenia will fail. 

Elektro Maribor d.d. is going towards green and smart future. Being in a position to provide as clean electricity as possible, our job is also to make our clients aware of the importance of environmental care and green energy usage. 

In Elektro Maribor, we are serious about climate changes. It is our job as humanity to prevent even more damage and accelerate the possibilities for green energy. It is time to act.

WALK THE TALK: THE FIRST REGIONAL NET-0 EVENT

How can organisations contribute proactively to carbon neutrality?

In September 2022, the Institute for Strategic Solutions (ISR) is planning  a NET-0 EVENT business forum. It will focus on the most crucial issue of our times –  climate change. We will discuss ways in which both companies and individuals can mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the event is to bring together key representatives from companies, politics, NGOs, and international agencies, together with  innovators of breakthrough solutions and the financial community in a combined effort to try and find solutions to this serious and impending crisis. 

Only by working together, can we succeed.

All relevant stakeholders agree that carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions are our key goals for the future. However, sectoral strategies vary, and seldom address the whole problem by failure to adequately align supply chains to their stategy, and by omitting to include the problems of transition – both of which are significant challenges. Therefore, we will aim to highlight these issues, through a series of articles from different platforms, prior to the business forum. Our obective is to equip readers with access to new ideas, good practice and integrated processes that are environmentally responsible and proactive in their quest for a positive future with net-zero emissions by 2050.


Worklife Balance - Ljubljana vs. London

Quality of Life

editor


June 2022 Living

Carol Jardine

CONTRIBUTOR


After five long years spent living and working in Ljubljana, the lockdown phase, gave me plenty of time for reflection and comparison of  my life in London, fifteen years ago.

Work and Pleasure.

Looking back through rose-tinted binoculars, I see London as one continual fun-packed party where we worked hard, and played even harder, in sharp contrast to the family-friendly Ljubljana, where life is gentler, and family very definitely comes first! For singletons, and marrieds alike, London rocked! During the week work and social life were often intertwined, with work functions, receptions and client entertaining at the theatre, opera or concert followed by dinner, several evenings a week,(sometimes with partners), but with a very defined work focus. Once at the Management level, one rarely got home before 8 pm, children’s bed and bath times were conveniently missed and gourmet meals were eaten on expense accounts with clients or colleagues. Many regretful fathers are now fantastic grandfathers.

Commuting.

In London, everyone is in a hurry, as the general pace of life in London is at least  4x  faster than in Ljubljana. On more than one occasion in Ljubljana, I have been asked by Slovenian friends and students alike, ‘Why are you always rushing?’ And when I  slow down enough to think, the simple answer is –  habit. In London, I got used to years of commuting through daily delays on the underground, bomb scares and traffic jams, therefore I always added  ‘contingency time’ to my one hour morning commute, following the management consultant’s motto –  ‘Time is money.’ I was always in a rush. However, here in Ljubljana, where the average commute is a leisurely  thirty-minute cycle ride by a swan flecked river, through a flower-filled park,  or at very worst, along a well-demarcated cycle lane, the outcome is that one arrives at work, exercised and rosy-cheeked, as opposed to emerging exhausted and bedraggled from a subterranean rush hour frenzy.

Cycling to Work.

In London, cycling is not an option for most business people and is definitely not for the faint-hearted as the daily cycle – commute demands stamina and downright courage. In Ljubljana, most cycle routes are flat and scenic, there are bicycle lanes everywhere, and most importantly, there is an innate respect for the cyclist. On the other hand, in London, cyclists are abhorred by the vast majority of motorists  – from mothers with ‘Babies on Board’ to foul-mouthed lorry drivers. Common courtesy ceases to exist, and the cyclist’s road is frequently uphill and fraught with danger.

Work Hard. Play Hard.

It was early in my career in London, that I first heard the adage ‘Work hard, play hard!’ And by Jove, we did! Ten to twelve-hour working days being the norm, and after, we  always ‘celebrated’ the completion of  the working day! For many it was just the nearby pub, but for the ‘sporty’, there was squash, tennis, golf and running – all executed in pleasantly situated urban clubs, with congenial watering holes ( bars) – inside and outside. Indeed, sport was a highly sociable and very enjoyable pastime, with only a small minority adhering to arduous training programs, and aspiring to the dizzy heights of excellence that many Slovenes achieve. We left competition in the office.

Sport.

During my five years in Ljubljana, I have greatly missed my London  ‘club time’, where tennis club members mix and match for fun afternoons of weekend tennis doubles. We played and laughed till we dropped, then crawled off the court to the nearest table, where we would sit in our ‘smellies’ drinking beer or wine, chattering and chuckling till it was time to depart – for bed, BBQ  or dinner. Sadly, not the case in Ljubljana. Part of the attraction of Ljubljana for me was its proximity to the mountains and the sea, but without a car, skiing is almost impossible, there are very few coaches to the easier slopes like Cerkno and Soriska Planina, and Slovenians travel with family filled cars  – or they head for  the more challenging slopes. I have not been privy to apres-ski here, but in the UK it’s more important than the slopes! However, what I’m trying to say is that in London, we combine sports and social life primarily to have fun and relax, whereas, here in Ljubljana, sport appears to be a  much more serious matter,and this can be vouched for by the  fantastic number of medals won by Slovenia in the last Olympic Games.

The Working Day.

Then there’s the working day in Ljubljana  – a strictly 8 hour day, including a relaxing, work-free lunch, in stark contrast, to London, where lunch is either a business lunch, with a client, or a sandwich guzzled at your desk. Working lunches are commonplace, and many seminars and training sessions are held over lunch with sandwiches and fruit. Anyone at management level or above, who dared leave at 6 pm, would be reprimanded, and unlikely to pass their probationary period, and in investment banking and consultancy, it’s not uncommon for teams to work all night to complete a deal, sustenance is provided, and they work till the wee-small hours when the  project is finished. On completion, they   – celebrate success with a glass of champagne, and toast each other joyfully. In the majority of cases, family is forgotten, and a boozy team spirit prevails.

The Protestant Work Ethic?

Why are Brits working so hard? To pay for their children’s education? School fees? Boarding school? Or the live-in nanny? Either way, the nuclear family has been largely eroded, whereas in Ljubljana, family still comes first. Strong bonds are forged that last a lifetime and benefit all, and free time is pretty much devoted to healthy family activities, and even social lives tend to revolve around family groups. The dissolution of the family unit in the UK, by default, makes Londoners more inclusive, and more hospitable to newbies, but often distances them from their coutry cousins – both by miles and by attitude.

So there are pros and cons for both cities, but I would not have swapped my hectic, headstrong 20s, 30s and 40s  in multicultural, thespian North London for any other City in the world. Every day was an education, a new experience, a challenge and an adventure, every hour filled to brimming. However, with my rapidly advancing years, I would now opt for the more healthy work-life balance of Ljubljana, with a calm commute through nature to an office with a panorama view of snow-capped mountains and forests.

The rose-coloured spectacles are dimming, and the beauty of nature is winning – sometimes!


THE ADRIATIC

This article is part of The Adriatic project.


Decarbonizing Supply Chains for a Sustainable Future

Sustainability

editor


June 2022 Sustainability

Barbara Matijašič

JOURNALIST AT THE ADRIATIC


When thinking about the challenges of the future, one thing is for certain - every scenario will be highly dependent on ESG criteria. The complexity of the challenges ahead is directly proportional to the length of supply chains. Great responsibility now rests on the shoulders of the large energy companies, which have the power to make significant contributions to a successful energy transition. In light of the current situation in the world, decision-makers are focused on finding an alternative - to tackle the challenge of uninterrupted power supply. This places energy companies at pivotal points in the energy transition.

Energy transition is complex due to the prism of supply chains, product life cycles and the sourcing of appropriate suppliers. Energy companies must showcase a defined strategy of how to influence the reduction of carbon emissions. In the strategic period from 2021 to 2025, Petrol Group, the largest Slovenian energy company in terms of revenue, intends to allocate 35% (or EUR 247 million) of its total investment potential to investments in energy transition. The largest part of this investment will focus on energy production from renewable energy sources. They will develop projects to improve energy efficiency, ensure energy security and identify opportunities in efficient energy management and sustainable mobility while using a combination of energy solutions. These projects will be in partnership with cities, local communities, businesses and industry, and will provide customers with regular access to greener energy alternatives.

From 2021 to 2025, Petrol Group intends to allocate 35% (or EUR 247 million) of its total investment potential for investments in energy transition, of which the largest part will be investments in energy production from renewable sources.

“A low-carbon society, partnership with employees and the social environment, as well as a circular economy are key pillars of Petrol’s sustainable strategy. At Petrol Group, we see the ESG area as a kind of compass for our sustainable efforts, or as part of our code of conduct and search for new opportunities,” comments Marta Svoljšak Jerman, Area Manager of Sustainable Development, Quality and Safety Division at Petrol Group. The Group first reported on sustainable activities and sustainable investments in line with the EU taxonomy for the year 2021. Investments in fixed assets in activities that are acceptable for taxonomy and thus sustainable, amounted to 57%, while the revenues of these activities currently represent just under 2% of total revenues.”

“We work with partners on projects that contribute to more efficient energy use or better energy efficiency. We are talking, for example, about projects for the installation of solar power plants, energy renovations of buildings and cities, installation of heat pumps, electric mobility, renovations of public lighting, district heating, use of excess heat, etc. It is often a matter of designing a new concept of an energy system that is modern, efficient and environmentally friendly. Comprehensive energy solutions bring energy savings to users and at the same time ensure improved living comfort and productivity while increasing the aesthetics and value of buildings.” says Svoljšak Jerman, and adds “European research projects involve the development of multi-partner solutions and a high level of innovation. Together with the company Elektro Celje and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana, Petrol Group established the first Slovenian local self-sufficient energy community in Luče as part of the COMPILE project.

In Terms of Speed of Implementation, a “Top-Down” Approach Is More Effective, but a “Bottom-Up” Approach Is Often a Driver of Innovation.

The task of large companies is to be active in the field of awareness, they must offer a choice and the opportunity for customers to decide for themselves. Its task is to provide a quality and sustainable range of services and products, and its mission should be aligned with this approach.

“An additional advantage of the Petrol Group is that, given the nature of our business, we can be in physical contact with consumers every day, which further increases the possibility of a positive impact. A large proportion of the younger generation is already thinking differently, so we can take advantage of this willingness and desire to be fairer in their energy usage and explain this to them through projects, make it achievable and show them what is possible. We believe that it is also time for social projects that will bring energy literacy closer to young people,” states Marta Svoljšak Jerman.

Commitment to Sustainability Must Be Accepted at All Levels of an Organization. 

The (green) energy transition is the result of connecting processes that have not been so significant in the past. Petrol Group has set up a Sustainability Committee, which gives a broader message that sustainability is very important. More and more of their co-workers are thinking and acting sustainably in their work environment. According to testimonies, this is reflected in the selection of alternative means of transport to get to work and using one’s pots on coffee machines etc. As part of the partnership with employees, several projects are already underway, namely, “I, too, reduce my carbon footprint” and the introduction of “Sustainability Ambassadors”. The Petrol Group also calculated the carbon footprint for the parent company, which they actively oversee.

The Biggest Risk Is That There Is No Solution – Yet.

When considering the future, two fundamental concerns are at the forefront. Namely, the security of energy supply and energy poverty. These are a key focus, and, in the spirit of not forgetting to keep commitments instigate discussions on opportunities for being more frugal and self-sufficient. This is one of the key pillars of sustainable development – for both energy companies and wider society.

A great deal of research is being done on a global and a local level to find solutions, but unfortunately, there are no commercial solutions as yet. Eliminating “unfinished product” is much slower than increasing the burden of the carbon footprint. As a result, a huge amount of venture capital needs to be invested, which can be shared between partnerships. Interdisciplinary networking between different stakeholders in European projects is very useful. The most sensible approach to decarbonizing supply chains for a sustainable future is based on the right actions, the right business decisions and regular monitoring of results.

The most sensible approach is based on the right actions, the right business decisions and regular monitoring of results.

WALK THE TALK: THE FIRST REGIONAL NET-0 EVENT

How can organisations contribute proactively to carbon neutrality?

In September 2022, the Institute for Strategic Solutions (ISR) is planning  a NET-0 EVENT business forum. It will focus on the most crucial issue of our times –  climate change. We will discuss ways in which both companies and individuals can mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the event is to bring together key representatives from companies, politics, NGOs, and international agencies, together with  innovators of breakthrough solutions and the financial community in a combined effort to try and find solutions to this serious and impending crisis. 

Only by working together, can we succeed.

All relevant stakeholders agree that carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions are our key goals for the future. However, sectoral strategies vary, and seldom address the whole problem by failure to adequately align supply chains to their stategy, and by omitting to include the problems of transition – both of which are significant challenges. Therefore, we will aim to highlight these issues, through a series of articles from different platforms, prior to the business forum. Our obective is to equip readers with access to new ideas, good practice and integrated processes that are environmentally responsible and proactive in their quest for a positive future with net-zero emissions by 2050.


The Better the Infrastructure, the Better the Smart Solutions

Mobility 2022

editor


June 2022 Business

Jan Tomše

EXECUTIVE EDITOR


Jure Eržen

PHOTOGRAPHER, DELO


In Ljubljana, on the 15th of June, 2022, a business conference entitled 'Mobility 2022: Smart Spaces for Living' was held by The Delo Media House in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Solutions.

 

The event focused on solutions for both the individual and the community, as well as for business operations in the smart spaces of the future. One of the highlights of the discussion was 'How can we design smarter, greener cities using technological solutions, while systematically raising public awareness of the necessity for environmentally friendly methodology. It is worth simulating the best solutions of key cities that are already contributing to sustainable goals'.

According to the speakers, one of the biggest challenges facing the introduction of smart solutions is infrastructure – the better it is, the more innovative the solutions which can be found. In future, more attention will be paid to urban transport platforms, which can then be further enhanced. In order to promote micromobility in Slovenia, we need a standardised and sophisticated application that can offer mobile solutions in real-time, and thus provide quality route planning.

The introduction to the business conference in the Crystal Palace, Ljubljana was that sustainability in cities will become increasingly prevalent in the future. Thirty million electric vehicles will be on the market by 2030, and five years later there should be no more internal combustion cars on the road. Stojan Petrič, Director of the Delo Media House, concluded with a proposed multi-month campaign on mobility and smart living spaces. According to the Mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković, smart living space is associated with sustainability, without which it is not possible to imagine and create a successful, individual and community-friendly future, and he believes that Ljubljana is now heading towards a self-sufficient city.


Energy Companies Are Contributing to a Low-Carbon Future

The Adriatic in Partnership With Petrol Group

editor


Not only climate change, but also social changes are challenges that have a tremendous impact on the economy, society and the individual. Today’s challenging situation in the energy market puts further pressure on Europe's need to become as energy-self-sufficient as possible. Energy companies, including Petrol, are therefore developing comprehensive energy solutions that enable partners to use less energy, and at the same time increase energy self-sufficiency with the help of renewable energy sources.

A green transition is inevitable despite difficult conditions

Pressure to reduce the carbon footprint, as well as to reduce energy use, extends to all sectors. The big question is how to reduce energy needs? In response, Petrol is developing projects to improve energy efficiency and also ensure sufficient energy supply. They see the solution in increased efficiency in energy management, the use of renewable energy sources and the transition to sustainable mobility.

Electrification of vehicles

Vehicles are changing and the future is leaning increasingly towards electrification. The increase in the number of e-vehicles is noticeable, and an electric charging infrastructure is developing in parallel. At Petrol, they are investing in the development of new transport options, with which they want to help their partners to transition to cost-effective and sustainable mobility. Their transition in the field of mobility ranges from the sale of improved fuels with lower emissions to modern mobility services such as fleet management and progressive electrification. By the year 2025, they are planning to increase their existing 300 electric charging stations in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro to 1,575 stations.

Charging infrastructure within the Supernova shopping centre in Novo Mesto

Petrol is developing solutions for the establishment of a smart charging infrastructure that enables the charging of e-vehicles in various locations – at home, in city centre’s, at work, and on the road, both in Slovenia and abroad. They will also take responsibility for a coordinated and combined operation incorporating infrastructure, user support and maintenance.

The source of energy is important

Petrol’s filling stations provide electricity from renewable energy sources and thus work towards a sustainably oriented energy company. Along with their many solar power plants, their second wind farm in the region has just been officially opened. Nine wind turbines in Ljubač will produce around 96 GWh of sustainable electricity per year, which is enough for 30,000 average households. At the same time, they have started the construction of three independent solar power plants in the Knin area in Croatia, which are expected to start production in early 2023. The total installed capacity of the three solar plants is 22 MW, with an expected annual electricity production of 29 GWh.

They improve energy efficiency through partnerships

In addition to the production of electricity from renewable sources, which significantly contributes to greater energy self-sufficiency, Petrol is also working intensively on developing energy efficiency partnership projects.

They are offering cities and local communities the solutions to reduce energy use through a multi-product approach and energy management to achieve savings. They are helping the industrial sector to move towards a greener future through measures to increase energy efficiency; a stable and cost-effective energy supply; the construction of energy self-sufficiency infrastructure and the introduction of hydrogen technologies.

Solar power plants are an important part of their comprehensive energy solutions. Recently, they helped Cinkarna Celje in establishing a solar power plant with a total rated power of 1 MW. The projected annual electricity production is 1,160 MWh, which will be enough for approximately 330 average households. At the same time, this energy solution reduces CO2 emissions by 568 t / year, which is equivalent to the amount of CO2 absorbed annually by about 10,780 trees.

Solar power plant at the industrial facility of Cinkarna Celje with a capacity of 1 MW

WALK THE TALK: THE FIRST REGIONAL NET-0 EVENT

How can organisations contribute proactively to carbon neutrality?

In September 2022, the Institute for Strategic Solutions (ISR) is planning  a NET-0 EVENT business forum. It will focus on the most crucial issue of our times –  climate change. We will discuss ways in which both companies and individuals can mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the event is to bring together key representatives from companies, politics, NGOs, and international agencies, together with  innovators of breakthrough solutions and the financial community in a combined effort to try and find solutions to this serious and impending crisis. 

Only by working together, can we succeed.

All relevant stakeholders agree that carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions are our key goals for the future. However, sectoral strategies vary, and seldom address the whole problem by failure to adequately align supply chains to their stategy, and by omitting to include the problems of transition – both of which are significant challenges. Therefore, we will aim to highlight these issues, through a series of articles from different platforms, prior to the business forum. Our obective is to equip readers with access to new ideas, good practice and integrated processes that are environmentally responsible and proactive in their quest for a positive future with net-zero emissions by 2050.


The Petrol Group Takes the Lead Towards a Green Future - And the Outlook Is Bright

editor


May 2022 Business

Carol Jardine

CONTRIBUTOR


Petrol Group is fast becoming Slovenia’s ESG flagship in its progressive transition to green energy and creating a low carbon environment.

 

It has visibly demonstrated a steady commitment to the three pillars of its ESG strategy - it has already proven its stance with RES ( renewable energy sources), and has an enviable track record on the social front, by providing regular training for employees, as well as holding an exemplary record in Health and Safety and Gender Equality, while on the regulatory side it is adhering to its strategy of moving towards a low –carbon and energy-efficient society and circular economy.

Most recently, on the 10th of May, 2022, the Petrol Group officially opened its second wind farm in Ljubaĉ near Knin, Croatia. The wind farm comprises nine Nordex wind turbines and will generate 96 GWh per annum of green electricity, sufficient for 30,000 households. The project is fully funded by the Petrol Group, which has committed that 35% of its 698 million Euro investment capacity will be directed towards investments in renewable energy transition and green electricity generation in the years 2021 -2025.

In addition to the Ljubaĉ project, the Petrol Group, already operates a smaller wind farm, the Glunaĉa Windfarm near Šibenik, Croatia, also with nine wind turbines and generating sufficient electricity for 15,000 households. Other commitments to renewable energy include the implementation of 30 small solar plants and 6 small hydropower plants. Most of Petrol’s renewable energy projects are based in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, all of which have the natural sun, wind and water resources ( RES) required to provide local communities with a more economical and environmentally friendly ‘natural energy’ supply.

The Petrol Group has also played a leading role in energy efficiency projects in collaboration with local communities on projects involving increasing the energy efficiency of street lighting, district heating and water filtration.

As one of the leading electric charging station providers in Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, the Petrol Group currently has ownership and responsibility for 300 charging stations and is on track to reach its target of 1,575 charging stations for electric and hybrid cars by 2025.

At the official opening of the Ljubaĉ wind farm, Nada Drobne Popoviĉ, President of the Management Board of Petrol d.d., thanked the Croatian business community and stakeholders for their continued support of Petrol’s crusade towards the transition to renewable energy sources and for helping Petrol to make a tangible move towards a carbon –zero environment. She also welcomed Petrol’s forthcoming investment in three more solar power plants in the Knin area, which should be providing green electricity by early next year, and reiterated her desire for the Petrol Group’s goal of becoming a modern sustainable energy company as well as an active partner to those who wish to proceed towards a green and carbon-zero future.

With the current energy crisis caused by the Russia- Ukraine war, it looks like the transitıon to renewable energy may proceed faster than anticipated, with the capacity to provide a local and viable solution to the fuel shortage – and it looks like the Slovenian Petrol Group is in the forefront.


Balkans Silicon Valley: Dream or Reality?

Startups in the Region

editor


April 2022 Business

Steve Tsentserensky

CONTRIBUTOR


What comes to mind when you think of the Western Balkans? Innovation? World-beating tech? Next-gen cars? Or is it fractured political systems, stagnation and brain drain.

Chances are it’s a mixed bag depending on which country you consider. From the standard macroeconomic perspective, they’re all at dramatically different stages in their development – for example, with Slovenia being ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina by leaps and bounds. But curiously, there is a burgeoning start-up scene in each of the countries in the region. There’s a genuine desire to improve and make things better at home, rather than build out those ideas elsewhere.

Where in the past, a lack of opportunities contributed to sizeable brain drain from the region, nurturing that entrepreneurial spirit among those who stayed, and the up-and-comming young guns can represent an economic turning point in all countries in the area.

The Landscape

For starters, growth is strong. According to the World Bank, the pre-pandemic growth rate in GDP was 3.6% in the Western Balkans and 4% in CEE countries (in 2019). Compared with the meagrely 1.8% for the EU27, you see a region on the rise. Moreover, to quote the economists stationed in Washington, DC: “In 2021, the Western Balkans region is seeing a faster-than-expected recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession.”

The CEE region (which includes Slovenia, Croatia and several others in the Western Balkans) has seen meteoric rise in the enterprise value of its resident corporations. With a valuation boosted from virtually non-existent in 2010 to €186 billion in 2021, the Croatia-founded Infobip is the latest unicorn to arise from the Balkans specifically.

While the region remains a hotspot for outsourcing business processes due to its abundance of IT professionals, VC funding for start-ups as well as funding in general remain challenges throughout the Western Balkans.

To tackle the problem, the European Commission launched the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans already back in 2018. Focusing on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, Brussels plans to:

  • Invest in broadband connectivity;
  • Increase cybersecurity, trust and digitalization of industry;
  • Strengthen the digital economy and society;
  • Boost research and innovation

Furthermore, EU4Tech PoC was launched in 2020 to “offer support to 40+ promising technology-based projects from the Western Balkans at the ‘Proof of Concept Stage’.”

Country Overview

Given the varying progress, there is, of course, something of a divide in how robust the start-up and tech scenes are from country to country. Still a long way from a cohesive Silicon Valley-type ecosystem, a rift between the proverbial haves and the have-nots has appeared, with a clear line between the leaders and the upand-comers.

Leaders of the Pack

Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia are far and away the standard bearers in the region, and are paving the way for growth throughout the Western Balkans.

Slovenia

  • 2019 GDP:
  • €48.28 billion
    Population: 2.10 million
  • Unicorns: Outfit7

Squarely in the EU, and arguably the most developed of the post-Yugoslav countries, Slovenia’s startup space is robust, perhaps unsurprising given its close ties to Europe. ABC Accelerator is the most well-known incubator, accelerating over 250 start-ups from 30 countries, and named the best regional accelerator in 2017 and 2018.

Slovenia is no newcomer to innovation either. Podim – one of the most influential startup and tech events in the CEE – was started way back in 1980. Veritably, it’s one of the best start-up events in the whole of Europe.

Video game developer Outfit7 is Slovenia’s most notable global success story but not the end to it. Viberate is striving to create the world’s best live music platform. Recently, the fintech Elly (formerly Eligma, with a valuation of €50 million), has raised another €4 million to build out their crypto payment network.

Croatia

  • 2019 GDP: €54.15 billion
  • Population: 4.04 million
  • Unicorns: Infobip

With thousands of kilometres of coastline, tourism is what Croatia is known for these days, with the industry contributing 20% to its GDP. Seaside aside, though, Croatia has become quite the hub for innovation in recent years.

Infobip, a recent entrant into the unicorn club, has become a global powerhouse as a communication platform for business, and expanded into the US with the purchase of Peerless Network. Oradian is a fintech bringing cloud-based banking to emerging markets. Osijek-based Orqa FPV is bringing greater control to first-person view (FPV) drones with their remote controller, video goggles and other products.

You can’t talk about Croatian innovation without mentioning the electric hypercar maker Rimac, who acquired Bugatti and is building a campus just outside of Zagreb in Sveta Nedelja.

Serbia

  • 2019 GDP: €45.89 billion
  • Population: 6.90 million

The most populous in the region, Serbia churns out highly talented engineers and developers every year, making it a top outsourcing location. Startup Genome places the country among the global top 15 for affordable talent, noting that Serbia creates most foreign-direct-investment jobs per million inhabitants. Adding that “the dynamism and knowledge brought into Belgrade by this influx of foreign investment has now begun to percolate through the local start-up ecosystem.”

Agremo has taken advantage of the knowledge at their fingertips, and developed a system that combines aerial imagery and advanced analytics to help farmers maximize profits and performance in agriculture. Start-ups like them are navigating the market with the help of initiatives like the Startup Centar and accelerators like Katapult that offer guidance and funding opportunities.

Up-and-comers

The reason why Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia are the vanguards of the growing start-up scene can be summed up in one word: stability. While not perfect, each country enjoys a basic level of stability that makes investment and new businesses inherently less risky. BiH and Kosovo are still working on that front.

Despite these setbacks, things truly are happening.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  •  2019 GDP: €18.00 billion
  • Population: 3.28 million

With promising hubs emerging in Mostar and Sarajevo, there’s plenty potential but not nearly as much clarity. The impeccable location, and the ease of collaboration with cross-border counterparties, imply BiH should have no difficulties moving to the right direction – but only time will tell.

In the meantime, there’s ZenDev, a software development firm founded by the Bosnia-and-Herzegovina-born Senad Santic and a partner, which is based in both Gothenburg, Sweden, and Mostar, BiH. Also, Sarajevo is the home of Ministry of Programming, named one of the ‘Technology Fast 50 in Central Europe’ by Deloitte in 2019. Add to that an incubator such as Intera Technology Park, and the building blocks for growth are surely there.

Kosovo

  • 2019 GDP: €7.08 billion
  • Population: 1.87 million

Kosovo has the longest way ahead but fortunately, success stories are popping up from every direction. The best example of what’s possible despite geopolitical difficulties is the Innovation Centre Kosovo. They’re at the forefront of developing an environment of genuine innovation in Kosovo, having worked with 390 startups to develop north of 450 products. Successes include Frakton, a software-development company of Pristina, and Gjirafa, an Albanian-language search engine that has already received $6.7 million in funding

Challenges

It’s not all roses and sunshine, though. Western-Balkans countries are facing some difficult challenges on the way to transforming the region into a more robust tech hub. Brain Drain: It’s no secret that these states have a hard time keeping their best and the brightest, some more so than others. Stemming the flood of emigration is critical in building a Silicon Valley-like place.

Wages: The main reason why talented engineers, developers and their kin are the ones leaving. They can make multiples of their local salaries in other countries, and their services are highly sought-after these days. Funding: While there are funding mechanisms and options available, it’s not enough yet. Without access to finance, wages can’t rise enough for dissuading people from leaving. Joanna Nagadowska of Google for Startups points to a brighter future, though: “Successful CEE tech startups are attracting the attention of international investors and activating the positive flywheel, providing a base for the next generation of successes.”

So, Dream or Reality?

Why not both? After all, Rome was not built in a day, and neither was Silicon Valley, for that matter. A dream becomes reality only when people begin transforming their imagination into tangible gains, real wins. The Western Balkans have proven time and time again, country to country, that they are rich in talent and ambition. Moreover, companies like Infobip and Rimac have chosen not to relocate to “greener pastures”, finding the pastures are well-watered in Croatia. Stories like this only make the region more attractive for investment, and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to stay and build here.

THE ADRIATIC

This article was originally published in The Adriatic: Strategic Foresight 2022
If you want a copy, please contact us at info@adriaticjournal.com.


How Will You Personally Contribute to a #Greenerfuture?

COP26

editor


April 2022 Business

Barbara Uranjek

CEO, BRITISH-SLOVENIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


We, at the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, asked managers of some large companies how they personally contributed to a greener planet. Their answers included using glass instead of plastic, driving electric cars, powering their offices with renewable energy, not littering, and avoiding air travel when possible. Managers lead by example, but we all need to start shifting our mindsets, and to think about our carbon footprint every day.

Limiting the increase of temperature should be persuaded by every individual, but it needs to be led by governments. That’s why climate negotiators sat together day and night for two weeks of intense talks in Glasgow at the COP26 Climate Change Summit, with consensus on urgently accelerating climate action. COP26 brought together tens of thousands of delegates from 196 countries, along with youth and indigenous leaders, civil society groups and businesses – the biggest international Summit the UK has ever hosted!

The outcome of the summit, the Glasgow Pact, will speed up the pace of climate action this decade, with all countries agreeing to submit improved emissions targets in 2022 as well as to doubling, by 2025, the financing available for climate change adaptation. For a historic first time, the COP decision included a position on scaling down the use of fossil fuels and coal, and on supporting climate vulnerable countries.

BARBARA URANJEK, CEO, BRITISH-SLOVENIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

As the world digests the Glasgow Climate Pact and other outcomes of COP26, it is clear that the combined commitments of countries and sectoral coalitions, while a substantial step forward, fell short of expectations. That said, it had been clear from the onset that building consensus among 197 nations with as many different agendas was going to be a challenge, so the major involvement of business and finance in Glasgow represented a significant achievement. We will need greater ambition, and the current COP commitments must be translated into action. This will be led by business, with boards making bold investment decisions to direct capital where it will have the most impact. But most importantly, we need to work on our mindset, and to start thinking about our carbon foot-print in our everyday habits.
So, think about how you can contribute to a #greenerfuture!

THE ADRIATIC

This article was originally published in The Adriatic: Strategic Foresight 2022
If you want a copy, please contact us at info@adriaticjournal.com.