Monday, 4 April 2022

Green Transition, Sustainable Economy Have No Alternative - Conference Hears

4 April 2022 - Green transition and sustainable economy no longer have an alternative, and companies that acknowledge that will do business with a greater return on investments and easier access to cheaper sources of financing, it was said at a conference in Zagreb on Monday.

The event, entitled "With ESG Criteria towards Sustainable Economy - Future Perfect Business", was organised by the International Institute for Climate Action (IICA), Media Val and the Croatian Employers Association (HUP), as part of the Future Perfect Business initiative and with the partnership of the European Commission.

Its purpose is to open a broad debate on the need to raise awareness of the sustainability of the economy and society and implement new EU regulations on environmental protection.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of business standards for companies which environmentally aware investors use for potential investments.

Addressing the event, Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said companies in Croatia recognised sustainable, green business as the direction in which to go, confident that in a few years' time the success of firms competing on the global market would depend on business sustainability based on principles of sustainable development.

The minister said he was confident the Croatian business community would do its best to use the available funds to become globally competitive, thus enabling GDP growth and better living standards and promoting sustainable development.

IICA president Marija Pujo Tadić said that ESG criteria were one of the tools to help in the transition to a low-carbon sustainable economy and in the fight against climate change, and that their introduction would soon become obligatory for corporations and their managers.

"Businesses that recognise that, face the challenges and start implementing the necessary processes to achieve ESG goals will do business with a higher return on investments and better access to cheaper sources of financing than companies that continue to manage their resources in the traditional way," she said. 

HUP director Mihael Furjan said HUP was involved in defining legislative and regulatory frameworks related to energy efficiency, social responsibility and new sources of financing at the EU level and provided its members with education and counselling. He expressed confidence that ESG criteria were the basis for achieving greater added value, better jobs and greater competitiveness.

In that context, the HUP director mentioned the Pliva pharmaceutical company and its many initiatives aimed at making its business greener, with one of the biggest being a project to build a big solar power plant on an area of 13 hectares in Savski Marof.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Proposal for New Hydrogen Strategy Until 2050 Presented

7 February 2022 - The main aim of the new 2021-2050 hydrogen strategy is to stimulate the production and use of hydrogen to replace fossil fuels, Vjekosalv Jukić from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development said on Monday, presenting a proposal of the strategy.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) reported that the proposed strategy has been put to public consultation which will last until 27 February.

"Production is based on low-carbon hydrogen, emphasis is on developing new technologies, that is water electrolysis, and there is also pyrolysis or waste gasification. We will endeavour to make production sites also consumption sites in order to relieve the energy system. That will help in the short term also with regard to storage and in the long term with repurposing existing infrastructure for storage and transport, primarily existing gas pipelines but also the construction of new ones," explained Jukić.

On the other hand, to intensify hydrogen use in transport, it is important to obtain hydrogen-powered vehicles as well as build fueling stations, hence the strategy focuses on investing in electrolyzers and fueling stations.

Essential for that is the education of experts, the development and commercialisation of new technologies, and a potential regional hydrogen centre conceived as the central point for connecting science and the economy, Jukić said.

The domestic economy is faced with a long, expensive and complicated process of energy transition and hydrogen should be an important component of it because, as a fuel of the future and a renewable, it is also a solution for decarbonising industrial processes and the economic sector.

The Director of the Industry and Sustainable Development Sector at HGK, Marija Šćulac Domac, said that hydrogen will be very important for many sectors in maintaining competitiveness. She added that there are some 200-odd projects in the world developing and applying hydrogen technology, with 55% of that being in the EU.

"With its hydrogen strategy, Croatia should enter that prestige club of countries developing their own technologies and contributing more concretely to achieving the EU's green objectives," said Šćulac Domac.

Croatia will have significant funds at its disposal for energy transition from various programmes, both national and European, she added.

The head of the Energy Administration in the Economy Ministry, Kristina Čelić, said that the strategy is particularly important for the transport sector, sea, rail and road, and that it provides a great opportunity to protect the Adriatic from fossil fuels.

She underscored that the objective is for 40% of energy consumption by 2030 to be from renewable sources.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Milanović Supports Healthier, More Sustainable, More Just Food Systems

ZAGREB, 24 Sept 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović supported in the UN on Friday the establishment of healthier, more sustainable and more just food systems and progress in all sustainable development targets, with special emphasis on food security as the most important global target.

He was speaking at a virtual summit on food systems held as part of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presiding.

The summit sets a foundation for the transformation of global food systems in order to step up recovery from COVID-19 and achieve sustainable development targets by 2030.

We are increasingly witness to the need for healthier, more sustainable and more just food systems, Milanović said, adding that Croatia supported such campaigns and intentions to achieve progress in all sustainable development targets.

Agriculture has an important role in activities related to climate and the environment, but food security remains our most important goal, he said, adding that the importance of food security was especially evident in the ongoing COVID crisis.

In Croatia we are witness to the positive effects of agricultural interaction on climate and the environment as a result of measures we undertook to protect natural resources. But in order to achieve even more ambitious climate goals, new investment is necessary, which agriculture alone cannot ensure, Milanović said.

This begs the question of how to meet the needs for producing sufficient food on the one hand, and meet the public's expectations regarding environmental protection, combating climate change, or the well-being of animals on the other, he added.

Changes which lead to sustainable and resilient food systems must be based on an integral approach, and research and innovation must support those changes, Milanović said.

Sustainable food systems begin by developing the best agricultural practices, improving food distribution systems and reducing food waste, he added.

Milanović said the challenges were many and that Croatia was especially involved in dealing with those concerning green production, food quality, and reducing food waste.

He supported the promotion of the One Health concept, saying the health of people, animals, plants and their common environment was inseparable and intertwined.

Milanović said it was necessary to intensify cooperation in all of those issues.

Croatia is ready to share with others its knowledge and experience in dealing with the challenges agriculture faces in the global world, he added.

He said he was confident the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Committee on World Food Security could make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable development targets via the transfer of knowledge and by connecting the international community.

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Monday, 18 November 2019

Zagreb Sustainable Architecture: First Green Buildings Downtown!

Downtown Zagreb will soon be getting its first green sustainable buildings! VMD Model, a developer based in Zagreb, will shortly begin construction on a unique green project right in the center of the city. It will revitalize a block in Donji grad, right next to the former Nada Dimić factory on Branimirova ulica, which is currently a large neglected space and parking lot.

As Korana Sutlić/Novac/JutarnjiList reveals in an exclusive on November 17, 2019; the 3LHD architecture studio won the competition for preliminary design of the project, which was conducted by VMD Model. Everything will be arranged around one fundamental concept: A new park; not just a neighborhood!

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New Zagreb Green Spaces

Although this is primarily a residential project in the center of bustling Zagreb, it will be defined by green spaces, peace and quiet. Cars will not be visible within the neighborhood, but hidden underground. In addition to enhancing the value of the natural environment, this setting will reduce the effects of the urban heat island, noise and CO2 emissions. The buildings will also house Zagreb's very first vertical gardens. The block will not be closed off and the public will have access to a new park and passage from Branimirova to Ulica kneza Borne, much like the existing Ratkajev prolaz.

The project will be situated on a block of Zagreb, which follows the railway line, and is bordered by Branimirova, Bornina, Domagojeva and Erdödyeva streets. The site is a residential and industrial block, which housed the former Nada Dimić and Penkala factories. Since their closure in the 1990s, the buildings between the two streets have collapsed and have been demolished. This has created a large empty open space in the heart of the city, which offers an opportunity to create a valuable urban-architectural space. In recent decades, there have been several projects in this zone, which have led to a significantly higher building density than the current VMD Model project proposal.

- An analysis of the traditional blocks in Zagreb’s Donji grad revealed that public passages have always been present, and the creation of parks within the blocks of high-rise buildings, originated the concept of the new green urban block - says Saša Begović, architect, and one of the founders of the 3LHD studio.

High Standard of Urban Living

This feature of Zagreb's Donji grad block structure, which inspired the project, will promote a high standard of urban living and distinct lifestyle and cultural opportunities all within a high urban density environment. The layout of the planned neighborhood will provide space for multiple purposes: housing, business and recreation.

 A pedestrian path will be created between the north-south block of Branimirova ulica and Bornina ulica, and will replace the traditional block structure there.

- In contrast to the restrained design of the street façades, the interior of the block will be indented by multiple buildings surrounded by a park, whose dimensions and floor plans will be cascaded in height, closely corresponding with the park and green gardens within the block. A fundamental component of ​​the new block will be the pedestrian connection of the two streets, clear visibility, access to the city and the block, and the creation of a new large green area: an urban park within the interior of the block - explains Saša Begović, adding that the introduction of the park will improve the quality of housing not only for the residents within the block, but also those living in surrounding buildings.

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Green Apartments and Townhouses

The project will include several different residential categories. Two-story houses (so-called townhouses) will be situated in a row with gardens, which will offer a very high quality of life and will be connected to the terrain, within the quiet interior of the block. There will also be apartments with larger terraces, which enhance the quality of outdoor living, and apartments with large walkways, city views and recognizable Zagreb vistas. The largest apartments will be housed on the top floor and have terraces with views of the entire city of Zagreb.

- We believe that, in partnership with a respected investor like VMD Model, we will be able to complete this very interesting project, which provides Zagreb with a new green urban oasis right in the heart of the city - says Saša Begović from 3LHD.

Neven Mikec, the Director of VMD Model, also shared his thoughts about the project, which will be a major stride in home construction.

- When we purchased this space, which has unfortunately been long-neglected, our desire was to create a green oasis, not only for the residents but for the entire block, and for the city of Zagreb. The project's vision is a new park for the city, not a new neighborhood. The main motive is to create something new, which is in line with green and sustainable construction - says Neven Mikec.

He is very pleased, he adds, with his choice of the winning entry, because the architects of 3LHD studio were inspired by his idea to add a "green theme" to the city center.

- It is also a project with much lighter building density than previous urban projects in this area. This layout will include residential spaces along with park architecture. The block will not be closed off for residents but open to the entire neighborhood - adds Mikec.

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Engaging Local Artists

This project is a novelty in residential construction, and like the one completed last year on Buzanova ulica, it insists on sustainable construction. That project, which offers the benefit of a micro-community, will be taken a step further by the creators of the project on Branimirova ulica. Young artists have also been hired for the exterior of the building on Buzanova ulica, and will find ways to incorporate their art there, says Neven Mikec.

- We have never backed a housing construction project like this, and it will be the pride of our company and the city - he says.

The project will also include a kindergarten, which will be accessible to everyone, and offer plenty of outdoor space, and a playground for children, whom will be surrounded by greenery all day. Flower boxes will adorn the buildings and “green walls” are also in the plans. Rainwater harvesting will supply water for the greenery maintenance system. Plants will be cared for by VMD service, the company which maintains their other buildings.

On the ground floor there will be several townhouses with two stories with a garden. At the request of the investor, the project was conceived so that parking, garbage disposal and similar components will all be hidden underground.

- It would be great if our project inspires the further visual improvement of the neighborhood - Mikec adds.

The exact details, however, cannot be revealed yet, because this is still a conceptual design, he adds. The development and design will follow, so there is still no set price for the apartments, for example.

- We hope that we can start work in the spring - Neven Mikec concludes.

The completion of this project will certainly contribute to the development of this part of Zagreb. It will also create a very attractive space on the upper portion of Branimirova ulica, which has already improved to some extent with the renovation of the Branimir Center and Hotel Canopy. In the long run, it will be connected to the neighboring Gredelj zone, which is also undergoing revitalization.

For more information on Zagreb life, follow our Lifestyle section here. Also check out our sections: Made in Croatia here and Business here for the latest construction projects and real estate developments in Croatia.

For information on their upcoming architecture projects, check out the 3HLD website here.

Monday, 6 March 2017

4th Good Economy through Good Examples Conference held in Zagreb this Month

For the fourth consecutive year, the Good Economy Conference will be held in the great hall of Matica hrvatskih obrtnika at Ilica 49 in Zagreb from March 23 to 25, 2017.

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