The participants in the Eighth National Green Forum 2017 came together around the idea that the institutions, the business community, and society need to join efforts to develop a better urban environment in Bulgaria.
The eighth edition of the traditional discussion forum organized by Manager Magazine and ECOPACK Bulgaria – National Green Forum 2017, brought together representatives of government and the business community, environmental and scientific organizations, energy efficiency and waste management specialists, who came together around the idea of eco innovation and a green urban environment in Bulgaria. They demonstrated before the participants in the forum that they have a clear vision and work together in the fields of reducing carbon emissions, effective waste management, digitalization, and other initiatives aiming to create conditions for sustainable urban development and environmental protection.
The Forum initiated active discussions in two panels. The first one, The Added Value of Green Investments, focused on several notable topics such as reducing harmful emissions, waste management, saving resources, and the use of biodegradable materials. The panel was opened by Mr. Neno Dimov, Minister of the Environment and Water, who stated his firm belief that the upswing in the economy should not be stifled and urged for efforts to sustain it. “Green business is not just advertising, nor is it just about profits. It is the genius that turns potential resources into real ones. We live in a time when it will be the one to conceive ways of turning waste into a resource. Green business is the one that tackles the challenges of the present and will make the future better,” said Minister Dimov in support of the efforts of the business community.
Joana Hristova, Deputy Mayor on the Environment with Sofia Municipality, congratulated the organizers and said the format of the event was particularly fitting for establishing a connection between successful economic development and cleaner environment and more investments leading to sustainable development. Ms. Hristova also shared some of the plans of Sofia Municipality in connection with Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and notably, a new early warning system for air pollution with 48-hour notice, and the development of a municipal eco-park concept which could provide a cost-effective way to prepare part of the generated waste for reuse.
Todor Bourgoudjiev, Executive Director of ECOPACK Bulgaria, presented some successful examples from the organization’s activity. He pointed out that innovation is not only able to increase productivity and revenues, but also to save resources, and further noted that Bulgarian companies provide quite a few good examples in this respect. “Manufacturers in Bulgaria have reduced the weight of their packaging by 20-30% in the past few years alone, and furthermore, a large share of the packaging is made out of biodegradable materials. In 2016 alone, compared to 2015, reusable packaging has increased by 6.1%. Businesses are truly embracing innovation and this can secure more sustainable environmental protection,” he added.
The above views found confirmation in the presentation by Irina Vasilevska, Telenor Bulgaria Chief Corporate & Legal Affairs Officer, about the company's innovations for sustainable development and the benefits from them to Bulgaria and some of the other 12 markets in which the telecom operates.
Environmental manager of Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria Lovorka Kekez presented the good practices that allowed the company to reduce the use of water by 14%, of electric power, by 20%, and at the same time increase by 35% recycling rates and the use of decomposable materials compared to 2010.
Snejana Semova, General Manager at Saint Gobain Construction Products Bulgaria, opened the second panel entitled “Clean cities: air, water, transport, policies, and solutions” with a presentation on the impact of construction on the environment and talked about dustless technologies and materials and their potential in terms of reducing urban dust. Zagorka and BMW Bulgaria presented their plans and main innovation focus areas with a view to making Bulgarian cities cleaner and better places to live. In conclusion, the founders of the private network AirBG.info for air quality measurement, Stefan Dimitrov and Nikolay Lultchev, presented the mission of the organization and pledged to meet their target of installing 500 sensors on the territory of Bulgaria by the end of the year. They appealed to all forum participants to consider the need for society to do its share and for all of us to be involved in securing better air quality.