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Nada Stamatović, Corporate Sustainability Expert, Nelt Group

Strategic Approach To Sustainable Business

For the Nelt Group, which has been growing continuously for 30 years, sustainability is considered as a crucial strategic factor that enables the company to progress towards its objectives. Alongside operational agility, technological advancements, and employee empowerment, Nelt Group prioritises initiatives and projects that have a positive impact in the long run- within the organisation, and also in the broader community. This approach aligns with the company’s commitment to creating value for all stakeholders while contributing to a more sustainable future

Through digitalisation, the building of “smart” warehouses and business premises, expansion of the existing Intermodal Terminal in Belgrade and the opening of a new one in Kruševac, the use of renewable energy sources and systems for monitoring energy efficiency, as well as placing an emphasis on the importance of recycling, Nelt Group endeavours to elevate environmental awareness and reduce its environmental impact.

Environmental protection and sustainable development are crucial topics for the Nelt Group, which ranks among the most successful business systems in the country and around the region. Could it also be said that this is your strategic, long-term direction?

With an ever greater focus on sustainability in all aspects of life, the sustainability of distribution and logistics companies like Nelt is becoming an increasingly important topic that needs to be thoroughly approached and implemented in practice.

Investing in sustainability is an important aspect of business that helps to create long-term sustainability and contributes to improving the living environment for all. That’s why we approach this topic strategically at Nelt Group. This includes setting sustainability goals and monitoring their progress and their impact on the natural environment and society.

You are continuously improving your environmental management system. What are the key aspects in this domain?

Our priorities include the rational use of natural resources and investments in renewable energy sources, as well as the use of technologies, equipment and materials that serve to reduce harmful effects on the environment. Given our primary impacts, which are realised through transport, we have implemented a series of initiatives to reduce harmful emissions. Through the managing and recycling of packaging waste, we work to reduce our “ecological footprint” by promoting this topic continuously, both internally within our organisation and beyond.

When it comes to transport, we reduce our harmful emissions through the procurement of vehicles in accordance with the criteria of the optimal utilisation of cargo space and the power required to successfully perform the task at hand. Additionally, by investing in a software solution to optimise sales and delivery routes, we impact on reducing CO2 emissions by 300 tons annually.

To what extent does intermodal transport, which brings numerous benefits and the optimisation of operations, contribute to reducing the negative environmental impact of transport and logistics? How is that achieved?

Rail-based cargo transports have experienced huge growth around the world over recent decades. With global imports and exports having grown significantly, as well as an overall increase in logistics regionally, domestically and internationally, the global intermodal freight transport market is expected to play a key role in the creation of expansion opportunities in the years ahead. This solution is characterised by numerous benefits: higher levels of security, lower prices, simplified goods tracking, reduced traffic congestion on roads and a major impact on environmental sustainability through reducing the number of vehicles on the road and minimising empty runs.

As a participant in global supply chains and the logistics partner of leading companies in various industries, Nelt provides an active contribution to this trend through its own rail and road freight container terminal in Dobanovci, as a so-called dry port. Our “dry port” terminal has rail connections to the region’s main ports, and thereby to the global economy.

The global intermodal freight transport market is expected to play a key role in the creation of growth opportunities in the years ahead

We are planning to open another intermodal container terminal in the second quarter of this year, located in Kruševac. That will reinforce the region’s logistics infrastructure and mark the territorial expansion of Nelt’s logistics services portfolio. That terminal is located 10 km from Pan-European Corridor 10, immediately beside Dedina railway station and the future Moravian Corridor. With its strategic location and installed railway tracks, this intermodal terminal provides full logistics support to clients in the region from various industries, through a full dry port service: container handling, vehicle parking, weighing, customs representation, container delivery and shipping.

Nelt has been cooperating for years with company Sekopak, which deals with packaging waste management. Is there any existing data on how much you’ve saved on CO2 emissions in the previous period?

Taking care of waste and the use of non-renewable resources represent an integral part of our company’s business strategy and quality policy. By participating in the system of packaging waste management operators, through cooperation with Sekopak, our company is able to reduce the amount of packaging waste that ends up in landfills, which also results in a reduction of CO2 emissions. Savings on CO2 emissions recorded over the last three years totalled approximately 2,000 tons.

Alongside holistic waste management, all Nelt employees contribute to protecting the environment – from colleagues in the warehouse, who collect and separate waste during the process of preparing goods for distribution, to office employees who use the waste separators installed in buildings and the ‘eco-island’ recycling facilities installed at Nelt’s distribution and logistics centres in Dobanovci, Niš, Novi Sad and Kraljevo. Waste classified in this way, together with packaging waste resulting from warehouse operations, is collected and pressed at the eco-yard that’s been established in Dobanovci.

How do you work to reduce NELT’s ecological footprint when it comes to the use of paper?

With the Digital Delivery Note project, which we launched in 2020, we have significantly automated our logistics processes to a significant extent, gradually phasing out paper documents to eventually use exclusively digital documentation, in order for us to be able to use digital documentation exclusively in future, as the end result. We are currently recording weekly reductions of 160,000 sheets of copier paper, which is 320 reems, or 800 kg of paper. Alongside savings of almost 65% on corrective documents, this means that we use 3.3 tons less paper per month. In this way, we annually save 1,000 trees that would otherwise have been used to produce paper!

Nelt takes significant steps towards sustainable development and work in local communities, in all markets where it operates, year after year. Are you continuing in the same direction and at the same pace?

We, at Nelt, are accelerating the pace, which is in line with our Accelerate 2025 strategy. Sustainability in logistics is crucial to the creation of a sustainable and prosperous future. Through cooperation with other stakeholders in the value system and the establishing of sustainable business strategies, it is possible to ensure a sustainable future for all.

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