Sustainable Development is Essential for Continuous Progress


The NIS Company has published the Sustainability Report for 2021. This company is one of the pioneers of sustainability reporting in Serbia. Vadim Smirnov, Deputy General Director of NIS, speaks for the “Nedeljnik” weekly about what sustainable development means for the company, what are the plans for investing in environmental protection and how it will contribute to further development of the community.

Nedeljnik: NIS published the 12th consecutive verified Report on Sustainable Development. Thus, your company stood out as a positive example in the domestic business community in the number and scope of these reports. What is the motive of NIS to constantly improve reporting in this realm?

Vadim Smirnov: To begin with, I would like to emphasize that NIS is a pioneer in Serbia when it comes to reporting on sustainable development. We published the first report in 2011 and since then we have continued to improve our practice in this area. These reports are the result of our desire to comprehensively and transparently inform all stakeholders about NIS’ business activities, as well as what we are doing to improve environmental protection, contribute to a better community life and develop the potential of our employees. We also think of sustainable development reports as our moral commitment to the community in which we operate. We are not only employees of NIS; we are also citizens who want to have the best possible conditions for education, dependable healthcare, healthy environment. However, in order to be able to contribute to the development of our society, we must first achieve good business results and ensure the constant modernization of the company. NIS’ financial stability is a precondition for investments in socially responsible projects that we implement. We are not implementing these programmes because we have to, but because it is an expression of our sincere desire to contribute to the general progress of Serbia. That is why we try to present our financial results, the most important development business projects in the reports on sustainable development from year to year, as well as the successes we have achieved in the field of improving occupational safety and environmental protection. When it comes to social responsibility, we have invested more than 4.1 billion dinars in the community since 2009, so reviews of our social investments are certainly an important part of the report on sustainable development every year. Due to all the above, I consider these reports to be a kind of ID card of NIS, the company’s bloodstream, which clearly testifies to our progress in the last 12 years. And that development is really impressive in every way.

Vadim Smirnov: Among everything else, it should be pointed out that more than 3 billion euros have been invested in the development of NIS since 2009. These investments have certainly significantly improved NIS, which has grown from a local oil company into one of the largest energy systems in the region. Today we have one of the most modern refineries, as well as one of the largest retail chains in the Balkans. We have expanded our business outside the borders of Serbia and started to deal with the production and trade of electricity. We are making significant steps in the company’s energy transition, and one of our priorities is the digital transformation of the business. However, concrete data speak best about the success of NIS and its importance for the Serbian economy. Last year, the KPMG auditing company made public the results of a study it conducted concerning the economic impact of NIS in our country. The results show that in the period from 2010 to 2020, NIS was among the leading domestic employers, investors and exporters. The average annual direct contribution of our company to the domestic gross domestic product was 5.1 percent. Thanks to the NIS’ operations, more than 1.1 billion euros or about 15.3 percent of the total tax revenues of the budget of the Republic of Serbia are paid annually into the Serbian budget through paid taxes. Furthermore, in the previous decade, NIS was among the leading domestic exporters with an average annual export worth 262 million euros. In addition, NIS employs more than 11,000 people, while the average annual economic impact of the company on employment is more than 22,440 people in related industries and sectors of the Serbian economy. When we take into account the fact that NIS became a strategic partner for the development of Petrohemija at the end of last year, it is clear what importance our company has in Serbia. However, NIS is not just the numbers I have given. NIS is also the responsibility we have shown for the progress of our community and a better life for our fellow citizens throughout Serbia. We are extremely proud to have made a significant contribution in this field as well.

Nedeljnik: Which socially responsible projects are implemented by NIS and in which ways do you participate in community development?

Vadim Smirnov: The slogan of our company, under which we implement socially responsible projects, is “Future at Work”, and it makes perfectly clear what we are focusing on when it comes to supporting the community. It is, above all, care for young people and a desire to contribute to the best possible conditions in Serbia for education, engaging in scientific work and culture. We also strongly support health institutions and we paid special attention to them during the coronavirus epidemic. Our support for professional sports and the development of sports infrastructure is no less important. In the Common Cause Community programme alone, we have implemented more than 1,000 projects in 12 partner municipalities and cities since 2009, and these projects have significantly improved the quality of life of local communities. I think that the formula of our success is that we respect the needs of the community, and the projects are implemented in accordance with the wishes of our partners. I would also like to highlight our Power of Knowledge programme, through which we support talented individuals and educational institutions. So far, we have awarded scholarships to about 130 students from Serbia, of which almost 60 are already employed at NIS and significantly contribute to the success of the company with their energy and knowledge. Thanks to our efforts in this area, NIS became the first company in Serbia to receive the Saint Sava Award for its contribution to improving the quality of education. This year, the Saint Sava Award was presented to the Director General of NIS, Kirill Tyurdenev, for his outstanding contribution to strengthening cooperation between educational and scientific institutions by supporting the most successful students and promoting science within the “Power of Knowledge” programme. I would like to emphasize that our employees, members of the Volunteer Club, also take care of the community with great dedication. At this juncture, we have about 1,650 volunteers who are willing to invest their time, knowledge and energy to help wherever support is needed. They are not just the strength of our company; they are the energy of the community in which they live.

Nedeljnik: The contemporary world expects oil companies to make a decisive contribution to the efforts to stop climate change. What is NIS doing in that field?

Vadim Smirnov: One of the goals of NIS is to contribute to the improvement of the ecological picture in Serbia. Therefore, one of the priorities of our key business projects is to, in addition to good financial results, have a positive impact on environmental protection. We have invested more than 120 million euros in environmental projects since 2009. However, when you add to that the projects that had a significant impact on the improvement of environmental protection, the investments are much higher and amount to 900 million euros. For example, the deep processing plant in Pančevo Refinery, worth more than 300 million euros, we do not run as an environmental project, but it is very important for the environment, because at the beginning of its work reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 90 percent, as well as emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen compounds. Therefore, the principles of sustainable development are deeply embedded in all NIS business processes. Moreover, these principles are our ally in our efforts to continue to develop the company, our employees and the community to which we belong.


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