Interest in the SDG Business Pioneers Award in Bosnia and Herzegovina is growing year by year

May 15, 2023

The winners of the SDG Business Pioneers Award in BiH for 2023 will be announced on June 14, for the for the fifth jubilee time. This will be an opportunity to recognize and praise companies in BiH that create quality jobs, reduce the negative impact on the environment and generally integrate the principle of sustainable business through their business models.

The huge number of applications received for the SDG Business Pioneers Award in BiH for 2023 is evidence of the awareness of the private sector in BiH about the importance of sustainable business.

A record 114 companies applied this year! Compared to the previous year, when 85 companies applied, this represents an increase of 34%!

That is not all - these companies submitted a whopping 180 applications, an increase of 75% compared to last year's 103 applications.

As a reminder, all private companies, registered in BiH, regardless of their size (micro, small, medium and large) could apply for the Award. As in previous years, companies were evaluated in two thematic areas ("People" and "Resources & Environment").

The SDG Business Pioneers Award in BiH was created as an activity of the "SDG Roll-Out" project financed by Sweden and implemented by UNDP in BiH. The goal of the activity was to encourage a healthy part of private sector in BiH to think about sustainable business models. Since there were no similar activities in BiH, as well as in the surrounding countries, at the beginning we learned a lot from colleagues from the UN Global Compact (the 10 principles of the UN GC are the basis for evaluation), as well as from colleagues from the Czech Republic who organize an award that promotes companies that encourage the implementation of specific SDGs. Since 2020, the main partner of the Award is the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH.

During the first few years of implementation, we found that companies in BiH need support in the process of making their annual sustainability reports (Annual Sustainability Reports), so we have structured the application process for the Award in a way that follows GRI standards and offers applying companies a "blueprint" basis for their annual report on the state of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the company level. In this way, all companies through the application have the opportunity to get closer to EU standards and be among the first companies in BiH to have an annual report on sustainable business. We are pleased to confirm that, now that there is a "schedule for making annual reports", the number of companies in BiH that are members of the UN Global Compact has doubled in the last 12 months.

The applications showed that there are numerous initiatives of the private sector that are an inspiration for all of us, because, while the world is facing huge economic, social and environmental challenges, there are fantastic examples in BiH that are the leaders of the future.

We received support in developing application forms from respected professor Vjekoslav Domljan. The form follows the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), so through the application process we promote companies that invest in the development of their employees, pay better than the average in their sector, and we also encourage companies to follow this trend. The issue of attitudes towards female employees at the workplace, their rights during maternity leave and returning to the workplace is particularly important to us. We are pleased to confirm that, on average, category winning companies have over 50% women in their management bodies. Through the application process, we ask companies key questions about the vision of the sustainability of their companies' business models. An important link that we evaluate is the dimension of ethical norms towards employees as well as towards customers and suppliers.

The companies that we will promote this year will join some of the leading companies in BiH such as dm drogerie markt, Ministry of Programming, Heidelberg Cement, Klika, Mistral, Isatis, Dekonta, Lanaco and many others.

Finally, it is important for us to emphasize that the SDG Business Pioneers Award in BiH does not bring with it a "grant" or any other type of financial benefit, but rather gives specific recognition to the circle of business leaders of sustainable development in BiH and beyond! Now in its fifth iteration, we have accustomed our partners to the awards ceremony being held every year in an innovative location and to the awards being presented by special guests. In 2022, they were representatives of the most influential women in business in Sweden, who are originally from our country. The trophy is a work of art that is 3D printed using recycled PET.

On June 14, 2023, we will promote the fifth generation of business leaders in BiH. We keep the exact location of the ceremony, as well as the profiles of the outstanding award presenters, as a secret and look forward to sharing it with you at the SDG Business Pioneers Award in BiH for 2023!

P.S. Work on the preparation of the Award continues throughout the year. The few weeks before the application deadline, as well as the week before the ceremony itself, can be very busy. The small team working on the technical and logistical implementation has changed over the years, but one thing has remained the same. Being part of a team that does useful and good things for the future of our children brings that specific glow in the eyes and inner satisfaction of the team and the inevitable question "what are we doing next year?".