From February 1, companies in Serbia will have to report on non-financial data, as mandated by European Union directives. These reports refer to social responsibility, corporate governance and environmental protection. From 2026, they will also pay fines for uncontrolled emission of harmful gases.
In the past, it was enough for a company to keep books and have fire protection devices on premises in order to enter the market. Now, companies also have to meet the so-called ESG standards, more precisely, have transparent management, respect gender equality, engage in recycling and prove the origin of raw materials and energy.
“This applies mostly to companies that do business globally, so mostly big companies. I think that the behaviour on the local market is already under the radar of foreign investors and large companies, who will start to avoid those companies that don’t have an ESG strategy,” Biljana Bogovac, director of PriceWaterhouseCoopers for Serbia, told eKapija.
Training for the application of ESG standards in Serbia has also begun and includes suppliers.
“The metal processing industry will face the biggest challenges. In late January, around 2,000 companies from Serbia will be obliged to submit the first report on emissions. The situation is not any better in the EU either, since at the same time, this regulation was introduced for both the EU and the rest of the world. According to some statistics, in September, about 50 percent of companies in the EU did not know that they would have to provide such reports,” says Radman Šelmić, senior advisor for the green economy at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards are a framework used to assess an organization’s business practices and performance on various sustainability and ethical issues. It also provides a way to measure business risks and opportunities in those areas. In capital markets, some investors use ESG criteria to evaluate companies and help determine their investment plans.
(Biznis i Finansije, 22.01.2024)
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