Siemens has been transforming the everyday for the better through innovation and technology for is 174 years. Now, during times that are shaped by digital transformation processes, Siemens will remain focused on transferring new technologies and new trends to the local society
I personally embrace new challenges as a chance to learn, grow and further develop ~ says Medeja Lončar, who became CEO of Siemens Serbia in October 2021, adding to her current roles as CEO of both Siemens Slovenia and Siemens Croatia
During your fifteen-year career in managerial positions at Siemens, what has been the main motivating factor driving you forward and what motivated you when taking on your new role in Serbia?
In this phase of life, “purpose” plays a crucial role when making decisions, and Siemens has always maintained a very long-term orientation towards sustainability, from both a planetary and an environmental perspective.
We have such intelligent and passionate people that know how to innovate and develop technology, but knowing that this technology is doing something meaningful is extremely engaging for me.
When it comes to my role as CEO of Siemens Serbia, I relish this opportunity, which also comes with additional responsibility. I’m also delighted to have the chance to share the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to date in my roles in order to contribute to the future success of Siemens Serbia.
You mentioned sustainability as one of the key points. Could you be more specific about what you’re doing as a company in terms of sustainability?
The way that we approach this topic is really in terms of the three dimensions of ESG – environment, social, and governance. We believe that the contribution we are able to provide as a business is through our technology, through our innovation, and through the portfolios that we already have and that really help our customers transform. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) recently ranked us number one for sustainability among industrial conglomerates, proving that we’re on the right track.
Siemens recently announced its new DEGREE framework and sustainability targets. What can you tell us about this framework, and what does the name stand for?
Six years ago, we were one of the first companies to set targets to become carbon neutral by 2030. Guided by the good results achieved to date, we defined even more ambitious targets in June this year. With our DEGREE framework, we set strategic ambitions for the benefit of all our stakeholders: customers, suppliers, employees and societies generally. Each letter in the DEGREE name represents an area where we are committed to giving ourselves clear targets.
D is perhaps the obvious one, standing for ‘decarbonisation’ and our commitment to making our operations net zero by 2030, expanding our initial target to a net zero supply chain by 2050. Apart from taking our own responsibilities as a company, we also have our portfolio to offer customers and societies assistance in decarbonising.
The E stands for ethics in two important senses: firstly, that would be the way we conduct ourselves and our expectations regarding business conduct; secondly, as a leader in the digital world, we also need to transpose these ethics to the digital world and really drive trust and cybersecurity as well.
G is governance, in reference to the way we really hardwire things into our management systems when it comes to ESG and sustainability.
Then comes R, which stands for resource efficiency and the way we influence what we take from the natural environment. We want to advance recycling and circularity. With our Eco Efficiency Programme, we have set the standard in designing ecocompatible products.
The last two Es in DEGREE really apply to our people. The first refers to equity, as in diversity, equity, and inclusion, while the last E is for employability, because in a world that’s changing so fast, and with digitalisation also disrupting the way we work and the type of work we do, we think that the greatest gift and biggest obligation we have as an employer is to equip people to be resilient – to embrace change, to view the world with positivity and confidence, but also to be relevant in terms of their professional skills. We have set targets according to which we want to be measured – digital learning hours for our people, access to mental health and assistance programmes – which is of immense importance to us.
Could you elaborate on some examples when it comes to your green portfolio?
I think we have some tangible cases to recount globally but also locally as we have already been working together with our customers and partners in Serbia to create an ecosystem that both intuitively responds to the needs of people and helps customers achieve their goals. Emobility is definitely on the rise in Serbia and we have several ongoing projects in the country which focuses on the providing of electric charging infrastructure. Renewables are simultaneously a great potential and a great challenge for Serbia, as we need to change how we produce and consume energy. And for this we require both current and future technologies to support the transformation process. Our main task is to therefore work together with customers and partners in Serbia to advance and support sustainable development. Our customers can rely on our team and our technology to create a more efficient, intelligent, caring and sustainable environment – for both present and future generations.
We aim to be an employer of choice and we foster diversity and inclusion
How important a role does digitalisation play in this?
Digitalisation is really driving sustainability. Crucial roles in the transformation to protect the climate will be played not just by technologies, like power generation and energy storage, but especially also by solutions that let us deal more efficiently and more prudently with our resources. Technologies like the IoT, the digital twin and artificial intelligence will be crucial to turning the climate around. Siemens has invested €10 billion in digital companies in the past 10 years, putting Siemens in the top 10 software companies in the world. For example, we are working with Mercedes-Benz on their Brownfield site in Berlin to make the site and its production operations completely free of emissions. They want this site to represent a blueprint for 30 of their factories around the world. When talking about transferring technologies and knowhow locally, we are really proud on several local showcases of implementation of our digital portfolio that enabled our customers such as Henkel Srbija, Imlek, Knjaz Miloš, Metalac Gornji Milanovac and others to be faster, more flexible, more efficient and more sustainable.
You mentioned being among the women leaders from our region that visited the Dubai Expo. With that in mind, the last point that we’d like to address is the topic of our Empowered Women special edition. What are your thoughts on this important topic?
Yes, Dubai Expo is a memorable experience with so many inspiring visits, conversations and advanced technologies including integration of Siemens technologies across the Expo’s 137 buildings that turned the site into a truly smart city. During my visit, I had a chance to promote the importance of equality, females in technology and digitalisation on TV Dubai and to join the Roundtable on Female managers and digitalisation. I feel it is essential to accentuate and talk about the contributions and achievements of females to the engineering industry and ensure that those career opportunities are more available for the next generation of females.
The analytics in the last few years shows that there is a growing presence of women in engineering. This trend is recognised in practise as well in Siemens Serbia, where apart from experienced female engineers in management positions, we also have young female engineers joining our team in significant number. This really helps us build a creative and diverse workforce required for more and more innovative engineering advancements to happen. We aim to be an employer of choice and we foster diversity and inclusion. Trust and empowerment also play an important part in our system, which is why we were one of the first companies to commit to a two- to three-day mobile working policy for 140,000 of our personnel in the ‘New Normal’.
My experience to date shows that fostering a culture based on trust, empowerment and diversity leads to greater results, a higher rate of innovation and increased creativity.