In accordance with the continuation of the activities of the Foreign Investors Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were started at the beginning of this year with partners AIRE Center and Sustineri Partners, and which relate to the promotion and introduction of ESG standards in companies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans, today is a permanent working group was established at the Foreign Investors Council, which will deal with promotion and all open issues related to the introduction of ESG standards in the Bosnian business community.
ESG is an acronym for Environmental, Social and Governance, which means environmental protection, social responsibility and corporate governance.
The issue of introducing and respecting ESG standards is becoming more prevalent in business, especially due to the fact that responsible investors around the world are increasingly paying attention to environmental protection, respect for workers’ rights and good company management. Currently, many Western European countries are introducing ESG standards into their national legislations and becoming part of the obligations for large corporations and encouraging a whole new set of criteria and guidelines for good governance. Therefore, in the future there will be an increasing need for companies from BiH, especially export-oriented companies whose partners are in EU countries, to meet certain ESG standards. To a certain extent, the ESG criteria form a link with the UN’s goals for achieving sustainable development in 2030, so that both corporations and the economy make a significant contribution to the achievement of global goals.
Companies in the Western Balkans region have become an important segment of global value chains and attract an increasing share of foreign direct investment. However, the lack of understanding and limited compliance with ESG standards and principles is becoming an increasing risk for their business. On the other hand, there are many companies in BiH, especially members of the Foreign Investors Council, that have the capacity, results and evidence that confirm that through their practices and obligations, they already meet ESG standards to a considerable extent.
Due to all of the above, the focus of this Working Group will be precisely on advocating the introduction of ESG standards in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the companies that are not familiar with these practices, then the exchange of international and regional experiences on the integration of EGS in investment decisions and the initiation of a dialogue with relevant institutions on the challenges and possibilities of incorporating ESG standards and principles into the national legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The members of the newly formed Working Group are representatives of the largest and most important companies in BiH, such as Kolektor CCL, Sisecam Soda Lukavac, Holdina, Bosnalijek, Euro Limun, Adriatic Metals, M:tel, Tvornica Cementa Kakanj (Heidelberg Cement Group), Lykos Metal, Fabrika cementa Lukavac, Unicredit Bank, NLB Bank, Raifeisen Bank and all with the professional support of experienced consultants from the Dimitrijevic & Partners law office, the DMB Legal law office, PwC and EBRD.
Ms. Elma Veledar Arifagić from the law office DMB Legal was appointed as the team leader of the ESG working group. Elma has many years of experience in providing legal advices to numerous domestic and international companies from various sectors.