Serbia, The other side of big factories – silent killers and polluters

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The largest companies in Serbia publish sustainability reports, but hide information about how and how much they pollute the environment. There are also frequent examples where they keep silent about environmental incidents for which they are responsible and present themselves as companies that have solved those problems in Serbia.

An example Is Chinese companies, which lead the list of winners, but at the same time polluters. However, from those sustainability reports read by international investors, you won’t be able to easily deduce their role in pollution, according to a detailed analysis published in the print edition of New Economics.

Out of a total of 50 largest companies in Serbia, for over 30 negative information about their operations can be found in the media – about violation of labor rights, environmental pollution, corruption, etc.

Small countries or markets, including Serbia, are often only “footnotes” in the sustainability reports of large international corporations. In this way, space is created for selective reporting, i.e. for drowning information about business in Serbia in aggregated international data, which is one of the ways to cover up various types of abuses.

The Chinese mining company Ziđin Mining, which operates in Serbia under the name Serbia Ziđin Bor Bakar (Serbia Ziđin Bor Copper), is an example of a company that regularly published its own reports in previous years.

In those reports, the company claimed it had succeeded in reducing air pollution in Bor, where it owns a copper mine and smelter. However, in the ESG reports published on the Internet, it does not state that it was fined one million dinars for air pollution in 2020. Ziđin’s report for 2020 mentions the incident that caused excessive air pollution in Bor in September of that year, as well as that the event attracted a lot of public attention, but it is also emphasized that air pollution in Bor existed decades ago. The punishment is not mentioned.

It Is also added that before taking over the Smelter in Bor, the company understood what needs to be done for environmental protection and ecological development, and that Ziđin invested 77.7 million dollars in environmental treatment and ecological restoration of the area.

Then the activities on the repair and maintenance of the filtration system, as well as the hood for flue gases, were intensified, so “the emission index of copper smelting per ton was reduced by about 40 percent compared to the period two years before the takeover, and the environment of this mine was significantly improved. Area”, claim in Ziđin. The initial state, i.e. how much these measures affect air quality, is also not mentioned.

Based on Ziđin’s report for 2021, it could be concluded that the company solved the multi-decade problem of air pollution in Bor, but it is not mentioned that in the same year it was fined one million dinars – precisely because of air pollution, although that accident was also mentioned.

The contract under which Ziđin took over RTB Bor left the investor with a longer period of time to adapt and meet environmental protection standards, which potentially indicates that RTB Bor was in a bad state in this regard.


Source: Serbia Business

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