Serbia’s Eco-Revolution: Small Businesses Gear Up for ESG Compliance in 2024

The introduction of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria marks a significant leap forward for Serbia on its journey to align with United Nations compliance standards. This groundbreaking ESG regulation mandates that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia seeking access to the European market and opportunities as suppliers for major corporations must embrace the concept of “Due Diligence.” Starting in 2024, this entails a comprehensive analysis of corporate sustainability.

In precise terms, this regulation delineates over 20 specific criteria, addressing critical issues such as the prohibition of human rights violations, the mitigation of adverse environmental impacts, the eradication of child labor and forced labor, workplace safety, the freedom of workers’ associations, and the fundamental right to reside in a healthy natural environment.

Failure to comply with these rigorous ESG requirements could lead to substantial setbacks in terms of essential environmental and social values. This includes diminished competitiveness, a tarnished reputation, reduced added value, and heightened energy and resource consumption.

In a bid to support SMEs on this transformative journey, the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP), in collaboration with the Serbian Development Agency and Smart Collective, has initiated the “ESG Practitioner” training program. This initiative empowers businesses to adopt and implement sustainable and ethical practices.

These invaluable training sessions are a cornerstone of the “Promotion of Sustainable Investments” project, an impactful partnership between the Serbian Government, the UN Development Program, and their Department for Economic and Social Issues.

Eurofast office in Serbia keeps track of recent government standards affecting entrepreneurship to help the business community be more flexible and well-informed.

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Eurofast Belgrade Editing Team