Zagorka: A suc­cess­ful busi­ness is a sus­tain­able busi­ness

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Sus­tain­able devel­op­ment has long been a top pri­or­ity for both Heineken and Zagorka. What ini­tia­tives in this area do you have un­der­way and what oth­ers do you plan?

We at Zagorka be­lieve that a suc­cess­ful busi­ness is a sus­tain­able busi­ness. As a com­pany with a 110-year his­tory that is part of global brewer Heineken and has a port­fo­lio of brands that Bul­gar­i­ans love, we be­lieve in the long-term ap­proach to cre­at­ing sus­tain­able value for our busi­ness and our stake­hold­ers. Sus­tain­abil­ity is among the core pri­or­i­ties and of strate­gic fo­cus not only to Zagorka, but also to Heineken. Thus, our cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity is in­cor­po­rated within the Brew­ing a Bet­ter World plat­form, which is a busi­ness im­per­a­tive for Heineken, and Zagorka ap­plies it in Bulgaria.

Our sus­tain­able devel­op­ment ef­forts fo­cus on pro­tect­ing wa­ter re­sources, re­duc­ing CO2 emis­sions, sus­tain­abil­ity of re­sources, pro­mot­ing health and safety, ad­vo­cat­ing re­spon­si­ble con­sump­tion and sup­port­ing the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. A ma­jor goal is to have in­flu­ence in the spheres in which Zagorka op­er­ates and to which it can bring pos­i­tive changes. A key long-term project is Zagorka Green Fund, launched in 2011 and re­alised in the form of a na­tional public com­pe­ti­tion for green ideas that could help achieve more ef­fi­cient wa­ter and en­ergy use in ur­ban ar­eas.

We also un­der­take ini­tia­tives re­gard­ing re­spon­si­ble con­sump­tion. We have a cam­paign that fo­cuses on the harm of un­der­age al­co­hol con­sump­tion. To­gether with our part­ners - Sofia Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, In­no­va­tion Starter and lit­tle thanks - we strive to pre­vent al­co­hol abuse among mi­nors.

In 2016 Zagorka once again an­nounced a public call for projects for more ef­fi­cient en­ergy and wa­ter use in ci­ties. What are the main cri­te­ria that a win­ning project should meet? What would you ul­ti­mately like to achieve with this ini­tia­tive?

The eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria aim at choos­ing a project that can be ac­tu­ally re­alised and al­lows more peo­ple to ben­e­fit from its im­ple­men­ta­tion. The idea should be eco­nom­i­cally jus­ti­fied and should not re­quire sci­en­tific re­sources and de­vel­op­ing new tech­nol­ogy in or­der to be re­alised.

Zagorka Green Fund pro­ceeds in four stages: re­cruit­ment of projects; eval­u­a­tion of pro­pos­als; public on­line vot­ing to choose a lo­ca­tion for the re­al­i­sa­tion of the win­ning project; im­ple­men­ta­tion by Zagorka of the win­ning idea in the Stara Zagora re­gion. Our main goal is to make ur­ban ar­eas a greener place and show that a lot can be achieved with sim­ple steps.

Re­spon­si­ble al­co­hol con­sump­tion is an­other is­sue to which Zagorka de­votes sig­nif­i­cant re­sources. Could you elab­o­rate on your ac­tiv­i­ties in this area?

As I men­tioned be­fore, we are do­ing an un­der­age cam­paign, and we be­lieve that a dis­cus­sion on this topic in the public area is much needed. Al­co­hol is not a game – ac­tu­ally, this is also the slo­gan of our cam­paign, which aims at point­ing this out in an un­der­stand­able way for teenagers, with help­ful tips for par­ents and teach­ers, and spe­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion to out­lets for re­spon­si­ble sell­ing of al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

The of­fi­cial launch of the cam­paign was on Septem­ber 16, the En­joy Re­spon­si­bly Day, which marks re­spon­si­ble al­co­hol con­sump­tion world­wide. We ar­ranged de­sign think­ing work­shops, one for teenagers, and an­other one for teach­ers and me­dia, with the goal of find­ing the right ways to reach our tar­get group and start an ef­fi­cient public dis­cus­sion on the harm of al­co­hol con­sump­tion by mi­nors.

What are the high­lights of the com­pany's devel­op­ment plans for 2016 and 2017?

We will keep our fo­cus on of­fer­ing a wide port­fo­lio of high qual­ity brands that Bul­gar­i­ans love. We plan ad­di­tional investments in our brew­ery in Stara Zagora – in­stalling new box de­pal­letizer, ren­o­va­tion of the cans line and com­ple­tion of the treat­ment sta­tion. Within our main fo­cus re­main re­spon­si­ble en­ergy and wa­ter use, ap­ply­ing of state of the art prac­tices within the work­ing process, the health and safety of our em­ploy­ees, care for the lo­cal com­mu­nity and last, but by no means least – re­spon­si­ble con­sump­tion. No busi­ness plan will work with­out peo­ple, so our pri­or­ity will be con­tin­u­ous in­vest­ment in peo­ple devel­op­ment.

Nikos Zois, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Zagorka

Zagorka brew­ery, es­tab­lished in 1902 in the cen­tral Bul­gar­ian town of Stara Zagora, joined the Heineken group in 1994. Since then, Heineken has in­vested more than 133 mil­lion euro in mod­erni­sa­tion and ca­pac­ity in­crease at its Bul­gar­ian unit. Zagorka has been fo­cus­ing on sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, in­clud­ing pro­tect­ing wa­ter re­sources, re­duc­ing CO2 emis­sions, ad­vo­cat­ing re­spon­si­ble con­sump­tion and sup­port­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. Nikos Zois took the post of man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Zagorka in June 2016.

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