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Tijana Koprivica, Chief Sustainability Officer, Delta Holding

ESG From Voluntary To Mandatory

From the very start, Delta Holding’s business has involved taking care of the environment, providing support to the local community, and reducing harmful impacts on nature. Their business strategy has not only economic dimensions but is integrated with environmental and social development

They have proved that it is possible to reduce costs, increase revenues and at the same time take care of the environment, the local community, their employees and partners. They see the development of innovative solutions and the modernization of business as an investment that contributes to better results and business sustainability.

Caring for the environment, supporting the local community, reducing harmful impacts on nature is part of your corporate identity. Has it been like that from the start?

Delta understood a long time ago, at the beginning of the 2000s, that a successful business must be a responsible business towards all social groups it comes into contact with.

Already then, we introduced the principles of CSR, which then easily grew into today’s ESG concept. In addition to economic strategy, we integrated ecological and social development plans into our business strategy. These strategic plans have resulted in an improvement of all aspects of sustainability, but also in a positive financial result.

Doing business while respecting the principle of sustainability is the obligation of every company because the business sector has a huge impact on the environment and society, and should play a major role in solving environmental and social challenges. Besides a sense of responsibility, today’s companies must have an ESG strategy to survive on the market because all stakeholders analyze companies from the viewpoint of sustainability. Investors and banks use ESG criteria to decide whether to invest in a company or lend it money.

Companies that do not operate according to principles of sustainability, which include not only caring for the environment but also for their employees and society, risk being left without quality staff, long-term business partners or customers, and with higher costs as a consequence of energy inefficiency, higher fees due to environmental pollution, harmful gas emissions and so on.

Delta Holding has been bringing innovations to our market since its foundation. You don’t see this as an expense, but as an investment?

It all depends which innovations are involved. If we are talking about new jobs on this market, it certainly contributes to the creation of jobs, and if we are talking about a new product, we could say it will better meet the needs of customers in terms of functionality or quality. Technical achievements that we apply in production or in working procedures contribute to greater workplace safety, faster and easier performance of certain tasks, they reduce consumption of natural resources and harmful gas emissions, help optimize costs….

Doing business while respecting the principle of sustainability is an obligation for every company because the business sector has a huge impact on the environment and society

We certainly see innovative solutions and business modernization as an investment that contributes to better results and business sustainability.

Digitalization has enabled you to increase yields and save resources, and at the same time contributes to the preservation of the environment. Can you give us an example?

Here for example: the digitalization of agricultural production has many advantages. Land mapping and screening, satellite imaging of a property has enabled us to collect all the necessary data for high quality information on the needs of crops and land. With this data it is possible to introduce variable sowing, variable irrigation, variable fertilization, etc. With variable fertilization, we save both the energy that drives the machinery and the fertilizer, which also reduces costs and preserves the land for future generations. With sensors that signal us when we have to irrigate crops, we save water and preserve the health of the plant and the fruit quality.

In our country, the trend of green construction has been accepted by only a few companies, among them Delta Real Estate, part of Delta Holding. What are the advantages of green construction?

The advantages of green construction lie primarily in the well-being of people who live in these buildings and in the protection of the environment. For example, our new office building Delta House has a LEED Gold certificate, we used recycled materials to build it, such as UNIDOM plastic balls that reduced the use of concrete and thus CO2 emissions. The facade is made of the most modern materials, the most modern ventilation is installed with optimal energy consumption and with ionizers so that the air is of excellent quality. Two mini solar power plants and a rainwater tank for technical water are installed on the roof.

A waste management system has also been established in Delta House. In the garage on the ground floor there is a recycling island for separating all kinds of packaging and other types of waste. Everything I have mentioned shows the adaptability of this building to the needs of people and the demands for environmental protection.

Besides the benefits for people and nature, green buildings also provide secure income because there are more and more tenants who demand green building standards. In future it will be very difficult to sell or rent space in buildings that do not have environmental certificates.

All your new buildings are built in accordance with the latest developments, which means the use of environmentally friendly and recycled materials, and renewable resources. Is that a permanent commitment for Delta?

Yes, it is our permanent commitment. The same principle applies to works on the Sava Centre. The reconstruction project complies with the world’s most demanding sustainability standards. The new facade will have the highest level of energy efficiency, and the latest technical solutions will be used for heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Solar panels are already being installed on the roof of the building.

The project for the new Sava Center is aligned with EU Taxonomy criteria, and the complex will have a BREEAM certificate

This also implies optimal use of water as the most important resource, and a comprehensive waste management process. Green areas are also planned inside the congress centre. The project is aligned with EU Taxonomy criteria, and the building will have a BREEAM certificate.

It is known that you have solar power plants and biomass boilers in several places and that your goal is to provide at least 60% of energy from renewable sources by 2030. Are you on your way to achieving this?

So far we have built nine solar power plants, so our Delta House office building, the Intercontinental hotel in Ljubljana, four factories, two cold stores and the Napredak farm are already supplied with energy from renewable sources. Solar panels are currently being installed at our shopping mall in Varna, and we are also considering expanding capacity and building new solar power plants at 10 more locations. In the coming period we shall continue to analyze all possibilities for the use of energy from the sun, wind, geothermal sources and biomass. There is a lot of talk about the use of hydrogen as an energy source, so we are counting on the latest scientific and technological achievements that will make this energy source more accessible.

Delta Holding has a long tradition of volunteering, and employees who are interested in actions aimed at preserving the environment. Do you still plant trees, clean and decorate the yards of schools and kindergartens, parks…?

Of course we continue with our volunteer activities. A volunteer environmental action is planned for September or October. In addition to the planting and arrangement of places in which our staff will participate, we are also planning actions that will involve the public in order to spread awareness about the importance of environmental protection.

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