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Serbia, Environmental Sustainability

Serbia, Environmental Sustainability

June 2022


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New agenda sets country on transformative path to green industry


In the 21st century, due to raising awareness of the importance of environmental protection, the leading paradigm of business is the concept of circular economy. Based on responsible management of natural resources and recycling of products for reuse, the circular economy provides a framework for the development and advancement of green industries. The sun, wind, and water are just some of the environmental energy sources used by companies that base their business on the green industry.

Serbia is on a good path of transformation into a green industry. The important project “Green Agenda for Serbia”, financially supported by the EU and whose implementation will last until 2024, aims to enable Serbia to adopt advanced policies, take concrete steps and increase investments for transformation into a green industry. This applies to improving the quality of air, water, and soil, as well as healthier food production and recycling, all in order to maintain biodiversity.

Serbia reduced CO2 emissions by 2.6% during the ten-year period from 2010 to 2019, thanks to numerous partners, NGOs, and companies, and thus became one of the Balkan countries that is on route towards successfully reducing the greenhouse effect. Serbia strives to successfully continue this trend in the coming period with companies that are optimizing operations and modernizing infrastructure that enables rational energy consumption.

Good Practice Examples

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport: largest and busiest airport in Serbia, located in Surcin near Belgrade Centre. Established 1927.

Globally, airports are the largest emitters of CO2. Led by VINCI Airports, one of the world’s leaders among airport operators, the International Airport in Belgrade “Nikola Tesla” has modernized its business brilliantly. The airport was awarded several certificates for the first time. In 2020, the airport was awarded the certificate “Airport Carbon Accreditation”. In July 2021, it was awarded the honorary awards “Best Airport” and “Award for Quality of Services” by the ACI organization.

  • The installation of a trigenerational heating plant at the Belgrade airport enabled the transition from heavy fuels to natural gas. The new plant has brought huge savings to the airport and increased production and distribution capacity by 25% while reducing CO2 emissions by that much.
  • The concession project implies a strong focus on sustainable business in order to reduce the environmental impact in terms of emissions of harmful gases, water and waste, in accordance with the global policy of VINCI Airports, which aims to reach zero emissions by 2050.
  • The solar power plant will annually produce 1,200,000 kWh of solar energy, which will power the entire airport complex. This will enable the use of electricity generated from renewable resources.

Energy is the basic actuator of all processes that enable development and progress. We cannot help but use it, but energy consumption can certainly be reduced. Given the importance of this phenomenon, World Energy Efficiency Day is held on March 5 every year which aims to raise awareness and provide insight into new opportunities for energy efficiency. Thanks to such and similar initiatives, the number of cities that generate energy from renewable sources is growing.

Serbia has immense potential to improve the energy efficiency of its infrastructure. The United Nations Development Program has started initial activities in Serbia this year as part of a project to improve the energy efficiency of state institution buildings. Preparatory activities will last until May 2023, and the plan is to replace energy-inefficient systems with efficient ones by modernizing the facilities and thus improve the quality of the environment.

ABB is a Swedish/Swiss based company and leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. Established in Belgrade Serbia in 2003

  • Just in 2020 the “ABB” electric motor drives enabled savings of 198 TWH per year.
  • “ABB” drive systems for mining mills with ring gears improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the Serbian mine owned by the company “Zijin Mining”. The use of modern equipment has reduced energy consumption, extended the service life of equipment and improved its performance.
  • Bajina Basta hydropower Plant is the second largest hydropower plant in Serbia. It will improve availability and increase overall energy efficiency, thanks to ABB MEGADRIVE-LCI (~ 21MW) and transformers for starting 2 x 315 MW synchronous machines in a reversible hydropower plant. ABB helps the entire hydropower plant increase energy production by delivering an additional 5-6 GWh per year, with the help of higher efficiency and operational readiness of hydro turbines.
Delta Planet, Shopping Centre

Delta Holding is a Serbian company with headquarters in Belgrade that performs a variety of services, such as agribusiness, real estate, and wholesale. Established in 1991.

  • Delta Holding builds all business facilities in accordance with the latest energy efficiency standards.
  • During the construction of the Indigo Hotel, the greatest emphasis was placed on energy efficiency and the preservation of the existing street facades as part of the cultural and historical whole of the city.
  • In the “Delta Planet” shopping centre in Nis, the facade walls are made of Ytong blocks, and all lighting is LED.
  • Delta House, a new office building, is certified as a LEED Gold facility. Recycled materials were also used in the construction, which greatly contributed to the reduction of CO2 emissions. The facade is made of the most modern materials, and the ventilation systems are of the latest generation. There are also two mini solar power plants on the roof.
  • Solar power plants have been installed at 7 more facilities in the Delta Holding system (factories: Yuhor, Danubius, Fun & Fit, Dunavka, Napredak farm, Čelarevo and Zaječar cold stores). The use of solar will reduce the consumption of electricity from conventional sources by at least 30%.

Nelt Group is a Serbian company with headquarters in Belgrade is leading distribution and logistics company in Serbia. Established in 1992.

  • Nelt Group has introduced the SCADA system which optimizes gas use, thus reducing energy consumption. By adding new smart devices and sensors and connecting the elements of the system that independently monitor the indoor and outdoor temperature, there has been a significant impact on reducing energy consumption for heating, cooling, and ventilation in warehouses.

Hemofarm is a Serbian company founded in Vrsac. Established in 1960. It is the leading generic pharmaceutical company in Serbia and region. Since 2006 it has been a part of German STADA Group, one of the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world.

  • Hemofarm reduced electricity and gas consumption per unit of finished product through highly optimized production processes, installing energy jackets on valves, LED lighting, water vapor recovery and other initiatives and innovations.
  • According to the International Finance Corporation, which is a part of the World Bank Group, Hemofarm’s factories in Vrsac and Sabac are among the 20% most energy efficient plants in their category in the world (compared to reference plants in the USA).

This year, Serbia adopted the Waste Management Program for the period 2022-2031 with the aim of achieving EU standards and results, which plans to recycle 55% of municipal waste by 2030. In that way, Serbia will build a more sustainable environment and provide new opportunities for industry’s development.

On the territory of Krusevac, the construction of another regional landfill is planned, which will have the capacity to dispose of 830,000 cubic meters of waste. The landfill will enable waste separation and profiling processes, as well as the treatment of landfill leachate that pollutes rivers. In addition, citizens will be provided with containers for waste segregation. The project will be completed in 2024. It is an incredible fact that forty-three cities in Serbia only last year cleaned up as many as five hundred illegal landfills.

  • Delta Holding includes the packaging waste management operator Delta Pak, which raises the recycling process to a higher level through sustainable packaging waste management. The fantastic fact is that their services are not just catered to Delta Holding but also available to other companies in Serbia. Delta Pak connects those who sell packaging with recyclers and thus enables companies to achieve national goals in terms of packaging waste disposal. Furthermore, because of their expertise in environmental protection, dangerous goods transportation, and chemicals, they are an ideal advisor in these fields.
  • Sekopak awarded Nelt Group a certificate for its contribution to saving CO2 emissions of 863.5 tons. The company’s participation in the packaging waste management system contributes to reducing the amount of packaging waste that ends up in landfills, thus reducing CO2 emissions.

In 2014, Serbia adopted the Water Management Strategy, which aims to improve water protection as well as its rational use and consumption over a twenty-year period. The focus is on efficient water use, wastewater treatment and protection of water from pollution. For companies, the choice of advanced devices and tools is crucial, which enables them to achieve significant savings in water consumption while raising the business to a higher level.

“There is no subject more captivating, more worthy of study, than nature. To understand this great mechanism, to discover the forces which are active, and the laws which govern them, is the highest aim of the intellect of man.”

Nikola Tesla

  • Thanks to water meters installed throughout the airport, VINCI Airports regularly receives an accurate report on water consumption, which aligns with fundamental goals for planning and taking further steps towards improving their environmental footprints.
  • Delta Agrar has ensured that agricultural areas are adequately irrigated, without excessive water consumption. Thus, the total water consumption dropped from 26,000,000 m3 during 2019 to as much as 16,000,000 m3.
  • Delta Motors and Delta Automoto are measuring their waste water daily and executing water treatment before it is released into the city collector.


Based on the examples of several companies and their successful practices, we can conclude that Serbia is on the path and working with an aligned mindset of European countries and companies. Certain Serbian companies can boast of successful projects that contribute to global sustainable goals. The concept of transforming and strategically implementing operational processes towards a green industry has become fully alive. Although resource management is now more cautious and advanced, we have a long way to go to change and become fully aware of the importance of this topic.


  1. “Predstavljena Zelena agenda za Srbiju”. January 18, 2022. Retrieved from:
  2. “Enlargement countries – environment statistics”. March 2022. Retrieved from:
  3. “Potvrda kvaliteta”. Retrieved from:
  4. “Belgrade airport’s new heating plant reduces environmental impact”. January 27, 2022. Retrieved from:
  5. “VINCI Airports completes upgrade at Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport”. April 14, 2022. Retrieved from:
  6. “UNDP pokrenuo aktivnosti za unapređenje energetske efikasnosti u zgradama”. May 26, 2022. Retrieved from:
  7. “Za reverzibilnu hidroelektranu Bajina Bašta nema više izgubljene energije”. November 04, 2021. Retrieved from:
  8. “Kompanija ABB izabrana za modernizaciju rudnika bakra kompanije Zijin Mining Group u Srbiji”. August 11, 2021. Retrieved from:
  9. “Mere energetske efikasnosti”. Retrieved from:
  10. “Šta predviđa Program upravljanja otpadom za period 2022-2031. godine”. February 4, 2022. Retrieved from:
  11. “Regionalan deponija u Kruševcu do kraja 2024”. October 13, 2021. Retrieved from:
  12. “Strategija upravljanja vodama na teritoriji RS do 2034. godine” Retrieved from:
  13. “Briga za očuvanje voda”. Retrieved from:
  14. “Kontinuitet, stabilnost, agilnost – Izveštaj o održivom poslovanju 2020/2021” – Nelt Group – printed edition
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