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The ceremony took place in Rector’s Hall at the University of Belgrade, which is in line with NIS’ decision to bring young people into the focus of company’s social responsibility, together with the wish to encourage development of their potential and to contribute to striving for keeping them in their country. The central event of the gathering was a panel discussion called “Investing in the young for a sustainable future of Serbia”. The panellists were Slavica Đukić Dejanović, minister without portfolio, responsible for demography and population policy, Zlatibor Lončar, health minister, Mladen Šarčević, minister of education, science, and technological development, and Kirill Tyurdenev, Chief Executive Officer of NIS. Aleksandar Antić, minister of mining and energy Aleksandar Antić, minister of mining and energy, opened the ceremony with a speech addressing the importance of adhering to the principles of sustainable business, adding that NIS is a good example in this field. “I am proud to be the minister responsible for the portfolio covering one of the key companies in the energy sector, the NIS company, which devotes great attention to sustainable development and to all the values that we gathered to promote today, concerning socially responsible behaviour and support for all those who need it. Organisation and success of the business sector cannot be measured simply by a maximum profit made, but by the level of concern for the community and environment. I firmly believe that solving the problem of sustainable development requires fresh energy and a new level of knowledge, so today, I would like to send a message from this place, primarily to the University, the young, that they are the ones who must make a valuable contribution to changing the awareness of the people around us, changing ourselves, and, above all, changing the level of values that my generation also grew up with so that we can all together, as a society, make a necessary contribution to attainment of sustainable development goals, so that we can all together be a part of a better society with more quality and kindness”, Antić said. Kirill Tyurdenev, the Chief Executive Officer of NIS Kirill Tyurdenev, the Chief Executive Officer of NIS, spoke about company’s priorities with respect to sustainable development. “For NIS, sustainable development means, above all, progress, youth, knowledge, health, future. For this reason, our main choice when it comes to sustainability is investing in the community where we live and work, especially in the young, who are the most important and most vital part of it. We recognised the same goals and choices in the strategy of our most important partner - the Government of Serbia. I strongly believe that our joint work will yield great results. Their favourable effects will also be felt by those who are yet to come, which is exactly the purpose of sustainable development”, Tyurdenev stated. Slavica Đukić Dejanović, a minister without portfolio, responsible for demography and population policy and the Head of the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on the Implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, stated that the Government of Serbia directs great attention to young people and endeavours to keep them in their country. “When it comes to stimulating young people, companies like NIS provide opportunities and give hope that there is a chance for a young person to build a career in Serbia, to employ, in addition to digitalisation and digital literacy, which are absolute necessities, their creative potential as well; a hope that we can make room precisely in corporate and private entities and state institutions for the creative people who are contributing with their knowledge some place far away”, Slavica Đukić Dejanović pointed out. Zlatibor Lončar, the health minister, said that, in the previous period, the Ministry of Health invested over EUR 500 million in construction of modern health facilities, and in procurement of new devices and equipment. “In addition to the financial investments mentioned, we strongly believe that the key to improving the healthcare lies in hiring young people, both doctors and other medical staff, which will in the future result in significant progress of our healthcare system. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the NIS company, which sets a good example to others when it comes to responsible behaviour, and I would like to add that it is important that this example should be followed. I expect that our collaboration in enhancement of the healthcare system will get even better with each year”, Lončar stated. Mladen Šarčević, the minister of education, science, and technological development, said that investing in education is one of the priorities of the Government of Serbia. “We must teach our children to think, to be creative in their thinking, develop new ideas and values, so we are making an educational system which is based on these ideas. This is exactly what NIS has been doing for several reasons - social responsibility which became a core value, friendship between Serbian and Russia, and finally, company’s need to invest in education for its own resources. NIS has invested more than six million euros in education within the “Energy of Knowledge” programme, which includes activities such as providing equipment for classrooms and creating new programmes. Dozens of secondary schools in Serbia collaborate with NIS, we have joint projects intended for promotion of science, and the company also has great forms of collaboration with many faculties. NIS also played an intermediary role in starting collaboration with a number of Russian universities, and we are seeking to empower our universities through international collaboration”, Šarčević noted. NIS is one of the pioneers in sustainability reporting in Serbia and this is the ninth report in a row since the beginning of reporting in 2011. The NIS Report on Sustainable Development for 2018 is in compliance with the standards of the globally leading organisation in the field of sustainable business Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), while it was verified by an independent audit firm “Ernst&Young”. One of company’s priorities is transparency in business, therefore the Report gives a clear insight into company’s business activities and financial results, while at the same time, the public is informed about NIS’ endeavours to support the general development of the community. The Report states that NIS’ business priority in 2018 was to continue investing in development projects, so a total of RSD 41 billion was invested, which is 55% more than in the preceding year. A net profit of RSD 25.1 billion was made, while dividend payments were made to shareholders in the amount of RSD 6.9 billion. At the same time, NIS has continued with its endeavours in the fields of environmental protection, socially responsible business, and investing in professional development of its employees, which, for NIS, also form the basis of sustainable development. Since 2009, when “Gazprom Neft” became company’s majority shareholder, NIS has invested more than RSD 13 billion in the projects concerning environmental protection, and RSD 320 million of this amount were invested last year. In addition, RSD 237 million were invested in improvement of skills and in training of the employees, while more than 2,200 trainings were provided. Also, through various programmes, NIS continued to hire young people without prior work experience, but also to encourage Serbian experts working abroad to return to Serbia by hiring them for company’s projects. In 2018, NIS worked devotedly on community’s progress in various fields, and in 2018 only, invested around RSD 408 million in implementation of social responsibility programmes. The priority was given to the projects aiming at improvement of life in the communities where the company operates. NIS gave its support to the work of the Institute for Child and Youth Health Care in Novi Sad, “Studenica” General Hospital in Kraljevo, Clinical Hospital Centre in Kosovska Mitrovica, “Dr. Vukan Čupić” Institute for Health Care of Mother and Child, Clinic for Burns in Belgrade, and Haematology-Oncology Ward for Children’s Internal Diseases in Niš. Furthermore, collaboration with numerous national and international educational and scientific institutions was continued, and the best students were awarded with scholarships through the “Energy of Knowledge” programme. Last year, an important anniversary was celebrated - 10 years of collaboration with local communities across Serbia through the “Together for the Community” corporate programme. Over the course of this period, in collaboration with its partners, NIS has implemented more than 900 projects, whose value exceeds a billion Serbian dinars, which proves its readiness to apply its slogan “Future at Work” in practice.