07 Sep 2022

Cycling Down Sustainability Lane in Slovenia

ESG awareness is more than essential. Organizing various panel discussions on relevant topics is a must. Yet, what type of example does an event that encourages environmental sustainability set forth if they print a ton of unnecessary paper, each delegate travels to the venue with their own car or provide an all-you-can-eat buffet which leads to an embarrassing amount of food wastage. As they say, practice what you preach.

Yesterday, our team Branko Gabrić, Counsel and Nikola Kovačević, Business Development Manager attended the Net 0 event in Maribor which was co-organized by the Institute of Strategic Solutions (ISR), Ministry of Economic Development and Technology Slovenia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Slovenia and Slovenia Business and hosted by the Municipality of Maribor.

To justify the term ‘Net 0’ attendees coming from Ljubljana went by train to Maribor. From the train station to the venue visitors went by bicycles, which included a charming tour hosted by the Mayor of Maribor Saša Arsenović where he elaborated on the significance that environmental sustainability plays for the city of Maribor. The venue for the panel discussion was the gorgeous Minorite Church and Monastery that provided an ample amount of light and cool, hence not requiring any air-conditioning.

Panelists included:

Blaž Brodnjak, CEO & CMO, NLB

Jože Bajuk, Member of the Management Board responsible for the development pillar ‘Energy and Solutions, Petrol Group

Tomaž Orešič, Vice President, Procurator, Resalta

Jože Hebar, Chairman, Elektro Maribor

Some of the key takeaways from the panel included the necessity for all stakeholders to take action, from individuals to governments but particularly the need for further governance and input from government entities that can support firms and individuals. Another key point, and one that is not impressive but must be addressed, is the ever-growing amount of green-washing. From 2019, in Slovenia but also throughout Europe green-washing has drastically increased and while actual action has been taken, green-washing still poses a serious threat. Hence, why this event set a mission to minimize the carbon footprint as much as possible.

The panel discussions were followed by a tour of the Museum of the Oldest Vine and lunch at the Old Vine House which consisted of a vegan menu and organic wine tasting of local grape varieties, which too minimized the carbon footprint. As for the preservation of the oldest vine in the world, this tells you something about sustainability and preservation, these two are usually in parallel lanes. To compensate for any carbon footprint, the organizers will plant an exact amount of trees to offset the minimal carbon emissions caused during the event, hence the term Net 0.

Gecić Law along with other firms such as Petrol, NLB, Slovenske Železnice and Elektro Maribor were official partners for this event that served as an example for other similar events that seek to discuss the importance of sustainability. As an advocate of sustainability, Gecić Law has expanded its ESG team and continues to serve both SMEs and corporates in sectors such as logistics, energy, aviation, real estate, banking and many more. Our mission is to be part of initiatives such as those organized by ISR but also assist firms that are seeking to adapt their operations and seek legal guidance. Besides our approach on the legal front, we continue to create our own internal ESG campaigns and we will be keen to share some of these very, very soon.

Lastly, we would like to thank ISR, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology Slovenia, Slovenia Business, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Slovenia and the Municipality of Maribor for arranging this event and taking the necessary steps to practice what you preach. This should be a benchmark for other similar events and it was a pleasure to be part of this experience.