*The full Gallery can be found on the bottom of this page. The announcement of the Conference can be found HERE.
In organization by the American Chamber of Commerce in North Macedonia (AmCham), a conference dedicated to the importance of “ESG” criteria (environment, social issues and governance) was held today in Skopje, highlighting their influence in the long-term sustainability of businesses.
The conference, titled “Embracing ESG,” conveyed the message that the ESG concept is essential in the creation of additional value and business development, access to new capital, and a good reputation, but it is also necessary in risk management and keeping up with new business trends and regulations.
The event was opened by Dragan Davitkov, President of the Board of Directors of AmCham North Macedonia, who emphasized the exceptional importance of ESG criteria in the improvement of business standards of Macedonian companies in his opening address to the present representatives of AmCham member companies, domestic and international institutions, and reaffirmed AmCham North Macedonia’s continuous commitment to promoting the ESG concept among the business community.
“The major crises that the world has faced in the last few years showed that the forward looking companies oriented toward sustainable solutions and proactive management were much more resilient and ready to face the volatilities the crisis brought. Analyzes show that highly rated ESG score companies perform better as sustainability performance can serve as an insurance-like instrument against adverse economic events. That is why AmCham, together with its partners, has been talking about the importance of ESG criteria for three years now and will actively continue to support domestic companies with various ESG compliance activities in the period ahead” – pointed out Davitkov, among other things.
The first part of the conference featured presentations by several AmCham member companies on the meaning and importance of the “three pillars” of ESG criteria, as well as the various motives and needs for adaptation. They presented the additional values that ESG criteria create for companies – with particular reference to the importance in overcoming global challenges and complying with the necessary European regulations.
In his opening address, Jeffrey Lightfoot, Program Director for Europe, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), emphasized that this type of event also has a purpose “to foster further opportunities for the integration of supply chains to Western Balkan markets”, adding that now is “the right time for companies to improve their regulatory compliance capabilities in the context of ESG”.
At the event, representatives from AmCham member companies shared success stories about how their organizations implemented ESG criteria in their own operations, what challenges they faced during the implementation process, and, most importantly, what visible benefits and additional value they received.
In the last panel, it was discussed why it is crucial for banks, donors, and investors to work with businesses that use ESG criteria, as well as which financial instruments, funding, and other opportunities become available to those enterprises.
Andi Aranitasi, Head of North Macedonia, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), emphasized:
“Investing in sustainability, companies create long term value not only for their own businesses, but also for the wider society. We, at EBRD, are delighted to have been one of the pioneer institutions in North Macedonia to introduce the ESG concept in the country – through support to the Macedonian Stock Exchange in developing the new corporate governance code and ESG guidelines for listed companies to follow and through the support of our private sector clients with trainings and one on one advisory project. This is just a beginning of the journey and we are looking forward to providing further and continuous support in this area, together with our donors and partners.”
The organization of this event was initiated by the AmCham ESG Committee and it was carried out in cooperation with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) from Washington, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and financial support from the European Union – Western Balkans Enterprise Development & Innovation Facility (WB EDIF).