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    The Diplomat-Bucharest reveals the sustainability champions of the 2023 Sustainability in Business Awards Gala

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    What a great evening we had at the 2023 Sustainability in Business Awards Gala organized by The Diplomat and now in its 3rd edition! As every year, the event powered by The Diplomat-Bucharest and Sustainability Today celebrated excellence in sustainability and the impressive achievements of the winners at the Grand Hotel Bucharest.

    These things would not have been possible without the support of our great partners, to whom we would like to say a big thank you: 

    Platinum Partners: Bosch Romania

    Gold Partners: TenarisSilcotub, ACCA, CHEP, BRD Société Générale, Coca-Cola HBC ROMANIA, Carrefour Romania,  DS Smith Packaging Romania, Sphera Franchise Group, Auchan Romania, RetuRO Sistem Garantie Returnare, Majorel ROMANIA, Electrica Furnizare, VPK Packaging, PepsiCo, Romgaz, PwC Romania.

    Connectivity Partner: Vodafone Romania

    Partners Rombat, Environ, Tinmar Energy, Lovering & Partners Business Consultants, Mega Image, green Corporation, Volt, Mazars Romania, Horvath Romania, EximBank, Hidroelectrica 

    Partner Institutions: Department for Sustainable Development – Government of Romania, CERC – Coalition for Circular Economy, Concordia, Foreign Investors Council (FIC), AHK Romania (Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce), BRCC (British-Romanian Chamber of Commerce), HENRO (Association of Electric Energy Producers)

    Media Partners: Outsourcing Today, Automotive Today, Financial Intelligence, Economistul, Romania Durabila, Club Economic, BURSA

    Romania’s sustainability champions were decided by the esteemed jury committee, comprised of top professionals from various business sectors: 

    RAMONA JURUBITA, Country Managing Partner, KPMG Romania & Moldova, Vicepresident FIC

    MIHAELA CROITORU, Sustainability, Climate & ESG Advisor

    MONICA MOVILEANU, Partener, ESG Leader, PwC Romania

    SORIN ELISEI, Director and Leader of Sustainability Practice, Deloitte Romania

    ALEX LAIBAR, Executive Director CERC

    ILINCA PANDELE, Member of the Executive Board, AHK Romania

    COLIN LOVERING,  Chairman of the Board of Directors, BRCC

    RAUL POP, Waste Management Expert, ECOTECA

    A special thank you to our jury members for supporting this great event organized by The Diplomat-Bucharest and Sustainability Today!

    And now it’s time to reveal the list of winners at the 2023 Sustainability in Business Awards Gala:

    MAJOR CIRCULAR ECONOMY ENDEAVOR (awarded by Sustainability Today)

    Without it being a secret, the Deposit-Return System implemented by its administrator, RetuRO, which will become functional according to the law, starting on November 30 this year, was created by a consortium of three private shareholders: Association of Romanian Breweries for the Environment, The Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers for Sustainability and the Association of Retailers for the Environment, and a public shareholder, the Romanian state, through the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests. The mission of RetuRO is to implement Romania’s largest circular economy project – the Deposit-Return System. According to data from the first quarter of this year, on the online platform of RetuRO SGR, more than 64,000 economic operators activated their user accounts.

    The first award of the evening goes to RetuRO.

    SUSTAINABLE EFFICIENCY AWARD (awarded by Sustainability Today)

    The award for efficiency in the pursuit and implementation of energy and sustainability objectives is given to a company that declares itself to be energy self-sufficient, making it one of the most efficient manufacturing companies in its field in Europe. This, say company representatives, is due to the way in which primary energy is converted into secondary energy, combined with the optimization of the production process, using certified products and valuing traceability and full transparency along the production chain. The company approaches sustainability from 360 degrees, reducing the processes from using resources more sparingly, to the continuous effort to reduce the ecological footprint, investments in state-of-the-art equipment and above all, investments in the people of the company who, as they say, stay at the basis of achieving these objectives.

    The award for efficiency in pursuing and achieving sustainability targets in the packaging industry goes to VPK PACKAGING.

    CIVIC IMPACT EXCELLENCE (awarded by Sustainability Today)

    Since 2017, the company awarded this evening has been involved in supporting a vital cause, literally: the acute need for blood for patients in hospitals, in critical situations. Thus, he entered the path of the blood donor and launched information campaigns and concrete projects: from blood donation activities among colleagues in the company, to communication campaigns in workplaces, supporting donors with healthy products and last but not least row, supporting the transfusion centers in Romania through donations. Through the Be a donor, save a life campaign this year, 870 blood donation kits were donated to transfusion centers in Bucharest, Cluj, Timișoara, Constanta, Iași, Ploiesti and Brașov, 6 caravans were organized in 3 cities in the country, and 3 awareness and volunteering events – such as the campaign through the internal program 12 Good Deeds and a total of 24,00047,700 Euro was allocated for the medical equipment needed by the Blood Transfusion Centers in Bucharest and Ploiesti, in within the framework of the partnership with the O Chance for Life Foundation. As a result of all these initiatives, more than 400 donors offered a new chance at life to people who needed urgent blood transfusions.

    The award for excellence in civic engagement goes to Mega Image.

    WASTE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY PERFORMANCE (awarded by Sustainability Today)

    The prize in this category goes to a company that owns one of the most modern sorting stations in Romania, being equipped with technologies such as optical sorters, being 90% automated. It is also the first waste management, collection, sorting and recycling company in Romania to introduce AI in production processes. The novelty comes through the implementation of an Artificial Intelligence program that helps through a thorough tracking of waste, determining its composition and ultimately improving the recycling rate. Their plans for the next 5 years is to allocate important investments in technology and innovation, with the aim of making recycling and waste management processes more efficient.

    The award of this category goes to GREEN PACK company.

    SUSTAINABLE LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY (awarded by Sustainability Today)

    We want to offer this evening an award for sustainable vision and leadership in the energy field in Romania. During his tenure we witnessed the largest IPO in Europe this year. The company he leads was listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, the first trading day of the company’s shares being July 12. Hidrolectrica’s IPO attracted a total of 9.28 billion RON for 89.7 million shares representing 19.94% of the total number of shares. Hidroelectrica is the largest producer of green energy in Romania and the main provider of technological services needed in the National Energy System, being a vital company for a strategic sector, with implications for national security.

    We offer this award to Bogdan Badea, President of The Directorate of Hidroelectrica.

    SUSTAINABLE SUPPLIER EXCELLENCE (awarded by Sustainability Today)

    This award goes to a company that has a 360-degree approach to the production flow, in the sense that it is the only battery manufacturer that recovers and recycles used batteries from the market and reintroduces the recovered raw material into the manufacturing cycle of new batteries. Their motto – Together for a cleaner environment – is based on the company’s business actions that align with European recycling and sustainability standards. In 2022, because of a consolidated approach to brand building and redefinition of values, the company reaffirms its role on the Romanian and international market, thus positioning itself as “the battery that moves the economy”. Moreover, the company awarded this evening proposed to build a photovoltaic park in Copșa Mică, where their recycling factory operates. The photovoltaic park is meant to supply them with electricity from their own renewable sources.

    The award for excellence in the pursuit of sustainability objectives is given to ROMBAT, the only 360° battery manufacturer in Romania.

    VALUABLE COMMITMENT TO GREEN BUSINESS (awarded by Sustainability Today)

    The award in this category goes to a company that has set out to achieve net zero emissions throughout its entire value chain by 2040. Based on an objective set as a result of scientific data, the company set out to reduce its emissions in the value chain by 25%, with an additional 50% discount over the next decade, and will expand its existing supplier partnerships. Whenever emissions cannot be completely eliminated, the company will compensate by investing in other measures to protect the climate and the environment. Thus, a more circular approach is being considered, using packaging with a reduced carbon footprint, increasing the use of rPET or packaging-free and refillable options, thus eliminating plastic from secondary packaging or by complying with European norms, such as the latest one – to do transition to plastic bottles with attached caps to facilitate their collection and recycling – as part of the vision A world without waste.

    The award for commitment in pursuing and achieving environmental and climate protection targets is given to the company COCA-COLA HBC.

    NET-ZERO CARBON STRATEGY OF THE YEAR (determined by online voting)

    In this category where votes were cast online, the winner implemented a new business model and set new sustainability goals in line with the “Net Zero” commitment. The company’s mission to achieve sustainability targets has a dedicated program, pep+, an end-to-end transformation program that touches virtually every aspect of the global business – from how ingredients are grown; to how its flagship product portfolio is made, moved and sold; what choices are offered to consumers. pep+ is the framework through which all actions regarding the establishment and achievement of ESG objectives are conducted. In 2022, the company reported significant progress in nutrition, agriculture, social goals (people and communities), water efficiency and access to safe water. Thus, the company continues to commit to reducing climate emissions and using virgin plastic.

    Winner of the NET-ZERO CARBON STRATEGY OF THE YEAR category is PepsiCo Romania.

    Finalists: AFI Europe, Automobile Dacia, BAT, Clean Recycle, Coca-Cola HBC Romania, DS Smith Packaging, Enel X, Globalworth, Holcim, Kaufland Romania, Restart Energy One, RF Meters, TenarisSilcotub.

    BRAND OF THE YEAR IN SUSTAINABILITY (determined by online voting)

    The company winning this award, also with votes cast online, supports and promotes sustainability and care for the environment, constantly initiating actions to raise awareness of responsible consumption. Through its constant involvement in sustainable actions, the company also marked several firsts on the Romanian market. The company also says it is focusing on the needs of local communities and making projects that support customers to consume more responsibly and be more responsible themselves.

    Brand of the Year in Sustainability goes to Auchan Retail Romania.

    Finalists: ALRO, Altex, Arctic, Ateliere fara Frontiere, BRD Groupe Societe Generale, CHEP Romania, Clean Recycle, Coca-Cola HBC Romania, eMAG, ENPG – Romania Eficienta, Flip.ro, Globalworth, Kaufland Romania, Mol Romania Petroleum Products, OMV Petrom, Restart Energy, Bosch Romania, Samsung Electronics, TenarisSilcotub, Ursus Breweries, Vodafone Romania.

    SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING & COMMUNICATIONS AWARD (determined by online voting)

    Within this category with votes cast online, a sustainability report of a company for which sustainability is not only an obligation but a strategic imperative stood out.

    In the context of the pressing challenges generated by climate change, resource depletion and social inequality, the company is addressing them in a comprehensive and proactive way. The 2022 Sustainability Report highlights their sustainability commitment, progress and achievements, highlighting the steps they are taking to create a more sustainable future for the company, its stakeholders and the planet. Company representatives say that over the past year, the company has made significant progress in integrating sustainability into core business practices.

    The winner of this category is ALRO.

    Finalists: Autonom Group, Banca Transilvania, BAT, Bayer, BRD Groupe Societe Generale, CHEP Romania, Electrica, Eltex Recycling, Enel, Ikea Romania, Mondelez Romania, Nuclearelectrica, OMV Petrom, One United Properties, Penny Romania, Pepsico Romania, Raiffeisen Bank, Romcarbon, Romgaz, Rompetrol, Schaeffler, VPK Packaging.

    EDUCATIONAL PROJECT IN SUSTAINABILITY (awarded by the jury)

    The prize for the educational sustainability project is offered this year, how could it not be more appropriate, to an initiative that is related to the school year that started not long ago. The story of the award-winning project begins in 2011 as a pilot project for information and awareness among students from several dozen educational institutions. With each edition, the number of schools and students participating in this project increased, so that, almost 12 years after its launch, the project community now counts more than 175,000 students from 2500 schools, kindergartens and high schools all over the country. In 2022, more than 20 tons of used batteries and electrical waste were collected from schools enrolled in the ongoing campaigns.

    For this initiative, we offer the prize of this category to the company ENVIRON, for the project Baterel, the Hero of Recycling.

    Finalists: Carrefour România | Pay With Pet, Eltex Recycling   | Only One Earth, OMV Petrom | Sustainability Academy, TenarisSilcotub | Academia Micilor Ecologiști, Vodafone Romania | Green School From The Future, Viitor Plus | Harta Reciclarii.

    SUSTAINABILITY PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR (awarded by the jury)

    The prize in this category goes to the partnership that was formed since 2019, between two important and extremely well-known entities in Romania, one operating in the telecommunications area, and the other, operating mainly in the mountains. In short, the novelty of 2022 consists in the fact that they have strengthened their technological partnership and launched two high-performance digital solutions aimed at improving response times and streamlining the process of saving the lives of those who need it most, when he ventures on the paths of the mountains but not only.

    It is quite intuitive that tonight we will award the partnership between VODAFONE ROMANIA & SALVAMONT (National Association of Mountain Rescuers) for innovative solutions and involvement in saving lives, wherever it is needed.

    Finalists: Emag &  Greentech & Foundation Conservation Carpathia, Mega Image & The Bucharest Blood Transfusion Center, One United Properties & Veolia Romania, Penny Romania & Academy Of Economic Studies

    BEST SUSTAINABLE FINANCE SOLUTIONS PROVIDER (awarded by the jury)

    The winner of this category is awarded for the continuous commitment in implementing and promoting the sustainability commitment which is based on 3 pillars: responsibility, fairness and corporate civic involvement. As an integral part of the overall sustainability strategy, green and sustainability bonds play a crucial role in promoting and financing projects that generate positive environmental and social impact. In 2021 and 2022, the banking institution awarded today issued a total of 6 bonds, comprising 3 green bonds and 3 sustainability bonds, with a combined nominal amount of €673 million, of which €347.74 million in 2022 alone. The role of the bank on the sustainable finance market was highlighted in 2021, becoming the first issuer of green bonds on the capital market in Romania. In 2022, the bank continued to innovate by issuing the first sustainability bonds on the Romanian market.

    Best Sustainable Finance Solutions Provider is Raiffeisen Bank Romania.

    Finalists: Banca Transilvania, First Bank, OTP Bank Romania

    SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAIN OF THE YEAR (awarded by the jury)

    The sustainability solutions, expertise, investments and communication efforts of the company awarded in this category have supported 500 companies in Romania to continue their sustainability processes and successfully address the ongoing crisis affecting supply chains throughout the economy. Based on the distribution and reuse system, companies rent only the necessary amount of reusable materials for a short period of time to send their products to modern and traditional trade in an efficient and sustainable closed loop, avoiding unnecessary carbon emissions, consumption of material and solid waste. The circular business model developed by the company respects the 5 pillars of the circular economy: recovering and recycling used materials while they are used as a service, acting as a sharing platform and creating a fully circular supply chain.

    This award goes to the company CHEP ROMANIA.

    Finalists: Flip.ro, Freshful by Emag, Green0meter.studio

    SUSTAINABILITY AMBASSADOR (awarded by the jury)

    We give this award to a professional in the field of finance, who has stood out in recent years through a constant presence in the context of the circular economy and sustainability. Within the company where he works, but also at the level of the entire industry and business community, the title of Ambassador for Sustainability suits him fully, thanks not only to the numerous projects he coordinates or is a part of, but also to his own promotion vision and supporting the values and processes of sustainability, civility and circularity.

    This award is given to Flavia Popa, General Secretary of BRD and the person responsible for ESG coordination at the bank level. Flavia Popa oversees the bank’s communication structure and is the promoter of the CSR projects that define BRD’s strategy in the field: culture (Scena9), education (Scoala9, Mindcraft), society (Interneighbors), nature (Oltenia de sub munte) and sport (Romanian handball ). She also coordinates ESG reporting – BRD recently launched its Sustainability Report 2022 under the title “A step into the future”. Thus, we invite Flavia Popa on stage to tell us more about current and future projects in the area of sustainability.

    PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR IN SUSTAINABILITY (awarded by the jury)

    In this category, we award an extremely active professional in the landscape of sustainability and the circular economy in Romania. With over 20 years of experience, he is a manager with extensive knowledge and understanding of waste management and recycling solutions. Participated in government working groups for the transposition of EU directives on packaging waste, WEEE, car batteries and used tires into national legislation. Together with representatives of the Romanian Environmental Authorities and the automotive industry, he contributed to the development of the first waste collection and treatment network. He is also a constant promoter of circular economy principles and is also the founder and president of the Romanian Circular Economy Coalition.

    We are thus giving the award, for the second year in a row, to Constantin Damov, President of Green Group.

    WASTE AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROJECT OF THE YEAR (awarded by the jury)

    The project awarded in this category represents an initiative that aimed to raise awareness of the importance of separate collection among consumers, thus marking the start of a strategic partnership to protect the environment. In just four months, between January 19 and May 16, 2022, more than 1,500 consumers joined the initiated campaign and collected approximately 2 tons of PETs (a total of 86,325 PET-type plastic packaging) in the premises of specially arranged collection.

    The initiative awarded in this category is a team award and is offered for the PETcollectezi si castigi campaign, implemented by the non-profit organization Viitor Plus, supported and carried out by the partners Coca-Cola HBC Romania, Auchan Romania and GreenPoint Management.

    Finalists: Auchan Retail Romania | A new life by Auchan, Clean Recycle, DS Smith Packaging, PepsiCo Romania | 0 percent landfill, Bosch Romania.

    TECHNOLOGY FOR GOOD AWARD (awarded by the jury)

    Sustainability is not an isolated or peripheral aspect to consider, but an essential one of the companies’ core activity. The winner of this category continues to make important progress on the road to sustainability – in climate action and the sustainable design of supply chains, in creating a circular economy for raw materials and other materials. For them, sustainability is seen as a collective goal. The ambition of this company: “Invented for Life \ Invented for Life” – refers to products that fascinate, that improve the quality of life and that help to conserve natural resources. To this end, it uses technologies that allow the use of hydrogen in different sectors, thus paving the way for a hydrogen economy. In addition, the company brings together comprehensive expertise in vehicle technology with hardware, software and services to provide complete mobility solutions.

    Tonight’s prize goes to ROBERT BOSCH – THE BOSCH GROUP IN ROMANIA.

    Finalists: OMV Petrom | Sponsorship Of 2022 Blacksea Climaccelerator, OMV Petrom | Dam Click Pe Romania, Restart Energy The Red Platform, Robert Bosch – Grupul Bosch In Romania  “Invented For Life”, Vodafone Romania Foundation | The “Life For Newborns Fund.

    SOCIAL VALUE INITIATIVE IN SUSTAINABILITY (awarded by the jury)

    The prize in this category is given to a company that initiated an urban regeneration project in one of the cities in Romania that stands out for its local green initiatives. The project for which we are awarding this company is the first urban regeneration initiative in the industrial area of the city, through which the reintegration of an abandoned plot of 3,500 square meters into the social, cultural and ecological circuit of the city was achieved. The investment worth 145,000 euros was made from the own funds of the company’s resource recycling and regeneration group, and the execution works were supported by the Municipal Town Hall. Studies and experts in the field of urban planning have shown that the integration of green spaces in urban industrial areas brings multiple benefits to the community, such as reducing air and noise pollution, improving the health and well-being of the people who live and work in these areas.

    We are thus awarding the Green Group company for the initiative Grădina Drăgaica – Urban regeneration intervention – Buzău.

    Finalists: Ateliere fara Frontiere, Carrefour Romania | Pay with PET, Mold Romania Petroleum Products | The Green Belt Program, Vodafone Romania | Bright Sky RO, E.ON Energie Romania | Reforestation project near Sighisoara.

    CIRCULAR ECONOMY INNOVATION OF THE YEAR (awarded by the jury)

    The winner of this category is a large retail company from Romania, which launched an initiative in the field of recycling that reached its 4th edition in 2022. Throughout the course of this project, the company’s strategy evolved from a pragmatic point of view , namely promoting the idea of rewarding shoppers who return recyclables, paying directly with the plastic packaging and helping the community. The main objectives of the company’s initiatives are, in short, public awareness, doubling of participation in all stores involved in the campaign, changing behavior and direct impact on the environment and scalability – increasing the footprint of the program and involving all partners to expand this recycling program.

    The award for the innovative initiative in the circular economy goes to the company CARREFOUR ROMANIA for the PAY WITH PET program.

    Finalists: Flip.ro, Globalworth Square Project, Kaufland e-collection campaign, RetuRO DRS.

    LEADERSHIP IN SUSTAINABILITY (awarded by the jury)

    The institution that stood out in this category is an essential engine of the market economy. In the broad context of the economy, companies need various types of market tools, and in terms of sustainability, it is essential to benefit from clear and transparent tools to score various scores, goals and parameters. In April 2022, this institution launched its first environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting guide for listed companies, developed with the technical assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). But as early as 2020, it had launched the first ESG project on the local capital market with the aim of promoting responsible investment and highlighting the importance of ESG standards among market participants. This guide is a practical and coherent resource that is extremely useful to companies that are listed or are considering listing.

    We award the BUCHAREST STOCK EXCHANGE in this category, for the commitment to encourage the development of responsible financing and sustainable financial products.

    Finalists: Auchan Retail Romania, Bayer Romania, BRD Groupe Societe Generale, Clean Recycle, Green Group, Automobile Dacia.

    SMART SUSTAINABLE CONCEPT (awarded by the jury)

    This award goes to a Romanian start-up that encourages the circular economy through the business they launched in 2019 and that reached over 210,000 unique customers in the first 3 years of activity. Recently, they have also expanded to the markets of Bulgaria and Hungary. The company that wins the award for this category continues its mission to promote more responsible consumer behavior through the services it offers to Romanian companies and supports sustainability strategies, supporting the implementation of ESG objectives. Using bold messages such as “The model is just a number”, this young company conducts business in an agile way, adapted to technology and anticipating consumer behaviours, while offering sustainable options and circularity.

    The award for SMART SUSTAINABLE CONCEPT goes the start-up FLIP.RO – the first marketplace of verified used phones in Romania.

    Finalists: Carrefour Romania | Pay with PET, Emag, Genesis Property | Yunity Park, Globalworth Square.

    GAME CHANGER IN SUSTAINABILITY (awarded by the jury)

    This award is given to a company that has distinguished itself through a clear vision in creating a sustainable future in its industry. Through its commitment to reducing its global carbon footprint and aligning with circular economy standards, this company has become a leader in setting industry standards for circular economy practices. To support companies in pollution-reducing practices, the company introduced Circular Design Metrics, an industry-leading initiative that enables companies to make informed decisions and align their packaging strategies with sustainability goals by redefining sustainable practices and shaping a greener future.

    We present this award to DS SMITH PACKAGING.

    Finalists: Bayer Romania, CHEP Romania, Continental, Flip.ro, Globalworth.

    SUSTAINABILITY FRONTRUNNER IN INDUSTRY (awarded by the jury)

    Sustainability is an important topic for the company awarded in this category. A company that operates in a dynamic industry with products used in various applications in the energy, mechanical and automotive industries, has a team of 1700 people in Romania and operates an integrated industrial system, transforming raw material into finished products with high added value, exported to five continents. In the last five years, the company succeeded, following complex projects that involved technological innovation and the implementation of a circular production system, to reduce the intensity of indirect CO2 emissions by 16%. Also, as part of the sustainability strategy, it uses new technologies as clean as possible, recycles raw materials and aims to become one of the most important producers of green steel.

    This year, the SUSTAINABILITY FRONTRUNNER IN SUSTAINABILITY award goes to TenarisSilcotub.

    Finalists: Arctic, Autonom Group, Bucharest Stock Exchange, Coca-Cola HBC Romania, DS Smith Packaging, Green Corporation, Bosch Romania, Rombat, TenarisSilcotub, VPK Packaging.

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