Exclusive business community conference A1 Talk gathered more than 150 leading companies and environmental experts in Belgrade. Its special guest this year was Erin Brockovich, famous environmental activist whose legal fight for the preservation of the environment and public health was the inspiration for an Oscar-winning movie.
Following the A1 Talk conference, telecommunications company A1 Serbia, part of A1 Telekom Austria Group, said it wants to contribute to further awareness-raising on the significance of environmental protection and to leave a deep and lasting mark with regard to the community sustainability issues in Serbia.
Low air quality, floods and high temperatures are just a part of the consequences of climate change that we face. The average summer temperature grew by 2.4 degrees Celsius from the period of 1961 to 1990. Some cities and towns in Serbia are among the most polluted in Europe and the world every year while summer floods are becoming a more frequent phenomenon, causing substantial damage and endangering lives.
Citizens of Serbia prioritize preservation of healthy environment over economic growth
On a global level, companies are still considered to be the most trustworthy institutions, expected to get actively involved in solving environmental and social issues, according to data gathered by Edelman Trust Barometer. In addition, nearly 70% of the population in Serbia believes that preserving a healthy environment is more important than economic growth, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said.
Brockovich: Investing in the preservation of the environment brings profit
“The chance for change depends on all of us. Develop a plan, be realistic and transparent about the realization and time that you need to accomplish the goals. Implement new ideas and be ready. Companies can absolutely achieve great profit by investing in the environment and, I will dare to say, additionally increase it by contributing to the creation of a safe, clean and healthy environment for generations to come,” said Erin Brockovich, president of Brockovich Research and Consulting, which works on eco-motivated projects throughout the world.
Business communities in Serbia and the surrounding region are active members of society and have a significant influence on it. With great influence comes great responsibility as well, but so does the possibility to drive positive change.
“It is necessary for companies to prioritize energy efficiency, turn to renewable energy sources, circular economy and transparent management of the supply chain. Equally important is to support the adoption of stricter regulations in this area and motivate the wider society to implement environmental practices that contribute to sustainability. Environmental protection is a joint mission. Only together, harmonizing our strategies and local activities, can we achieve the desired results and influence change at a greater scale,” said Chief Executive Officer of A1 Serbia and A1 Slovenia Dejan Turk.
A1 Serbia contributing to climate change impact mitigation
By applying advanced criteria for environmental protection, social responsibility and corporate governance (ESG), A1 Serbia is continuously investing in achieving climate neutrality by increasing the share of solar energy in the supply of its base stations, strengthening energy efficiency and implementing circular economy principles.
In line with the said determination, A1 Serbia has committed to set up 5,600 solar panels by the end of 2023. Their capacity would be sufficient to cover electricity needs of 750 domestic households. The company has cut total CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2 – electricity, heating, fuel) by 33%, no less.
A1 Serbia is also actively involved in mitigation of the already occurring climate change impact. Within the Niklo kao ja project, implemented in cooperation with the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade and 10 local communities throughout the country, it is beginning to plant the first rain gardens in Serbia with the aim of preventing floods and mudslides in urban environments on the long run.