Responsible Business Hub celebrated its first anniversary

April 23, 2024 | Belgrade

The Responsible Business Hub at Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RBH CCIS) celebrated its first birthday, and just one year after its establishment, it became a real partner and support for companies that are part of international supply chains.

The event was opened by Tomislav Žigmanov, Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue of the Republic of Serbia, and on that occasion, he stated that the cooperation between the Ministry and the CCIS showed a common commitment to the realization, protection, and improvement of human rights in the sphere of business. He added that the RBH service is also an excellent example of practices and services that can be provided to the business sector and as such is unique in the region. Although this service is conceived primarily in the context of the German Act on Due Diligence in Supply Chains, this does not mean that it should stop there.

"The experiences and knowledge gained, as well as those that will be gained through this service, are of great importance and value because they will enable not only our ministry but also other decision-makers and policymakers to improve domestic norms and practices so that the highest standards in the areas of business and human rights were valid for all subjects in Serbia", stressed Minister Žigmanov.

Advisor to the President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Nevena Rakić emphasized that the Responsible Business Hub significantly contributed to improving the capacities of Serbian companies in terms of implementing regulations related to human rights and the environment. She adds that an important role in this is played by a network of consultants, numerous educations for businessmen, as well as a strong partnership between the business community and institutions.

Mr Martin Klauke, head of operations of the EU Delegation in Serbia, addressed the audience, emphasizing the importance of the role of the private sector in the implementation of standards and the Law on Due Diligence, the implementation of which is key to responsible business. He indicated the support of the EU to Serbian companies, that through the application of these regulations, they improve their business, but also announced the improvement of European directives.

The Head of the Department for Labor and Social Affairs at the Embassy of the Germany in Serbia, Mr. Peer Krumney, recalled the support for the establishment of the first service center for sustainable business and explained the wider importance of the Law on Due Diligence, accompanying directives and standards for reducing risks in business and improving protection and respect for human rights.

Jovan Protić, national coordinator of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Serbia, reminded us that all these regulations follow on from the implementation of ILO conventions and include supervision of respect for human rights. The main goal, according to him, is to involve as many companies as possible in the activities of RBH.

Tanja Lindell, assistant director of the Business Association Sector of CCIS, presented the current activities of RBH and plans for the future period, which will include the expansion of the network of consultants and a large number of educations on various topics dedicated to socially responsible and sustainable business.

RBH's mission is to improve the ability of the private sector to understand and prepare for new sustainable standards from the Law on Due Diligence in Supply Chains, as well as to improve the competitiveness, sustainability, and capacity in the field of human rights protection and ecology of Serbian exporters, said Lindell.

As part of the ceremony, certificates were awarded to consultants who underwent training at RBH, and a panel dedicated to the challenges and opportunities of current and new regulations in the EU was held.