The first step towards creating the environment for the regenerative economy in Serbia is to recognise partners who have the potential to implement the regenerative economy concept; this was the conclusion from our research and discussions with the Serbian business community, representatives of higher education institutions (HEIs) and the public sector. In this piece, we examine concrete steps for those from each stakeholder group.

 

Establishing Sustainable Systems

It is important to establish a functioning system in which the polluter pays and makes his product more expensive. Any functioning system of extended producer responsibility can contribute to the goals of the regenerative economy. Currently, the introduction of a deposit system in Serbia is being advocated for, which if well implemented would be the best option for packaging waste management as it directly reduces the introduction of a new resource and leads to a reduction of emission gases. Emphasis should be placed on products manufactured according to certain environmental protection principles. Additionally, forming multidisciplinary teams to set concrete goals in line with regenerative economy principles is essential.

 

Encouraging Business Adoption and Economic Competitiveness

Encouraging Serbian companies to adopt regenerative principles is vital for stimulating economic growth and competitiveness and would lead to a more efficient use of economic resources. In Serbia, local business entities need to be introduced to the SDGs and be properly educated and informed on that topic.

The competitiveness of our economy depends on whether we implement the business directions of the regenerative economy. Embracing a regenerative economy promises long-term profitability, especially for a country like Serbia with substantial waste production.

 

Fostering Collaboration and Governance

When defining and communicating the issue with people from different sectors, it is necessary to show why it needs the support of institutions and that there is a political will and a political decision to deal with this area. All this must be accompanied by the implementation of strategic documents, strategic direction, education, and public awareness about the regenerative economy. Harmonizing the policies of companies – subsidies, green bonds, loans – so that the state spreads the idea in its institutions and provides support in terms of education, networking, and promotion. The problem is to apply all these measures in such a way that the incentives influence the reorientation, but also the implementation of adequate governance. It is necessary to involve everyone to establish the same mindset, compromise and divide the roles in the upcoming transition.

To improve business in Serbia, the regenerative economy must stimulate growth so that it becomes mainstream,  has a low-cost model, creates economic value and spills over to the whole of society. Discussions with companies revealed Businesses failing to reduce their carbon footprint risk future losses, but there’s an opportunity for growth when economic decline ends. The business and academic communities believe it is necessary to introduce subsidies for those who strive for the principles of a regenerative economy, and similarly to introduce penalty mechanisms for those who do not.

 

Private Sector Initiatives and Science-Business Interaction

The private sector plays a pivotal role as the initiator of changes towards a regenerative economy.  In this context, there are socially responsible companies in Serbia that actively support young people in learning about innovative processes, both nationally and globally. They do this through scholarships, mentoring programs, and internships for graduates; through cooperation, they can contribute to the creation of the young professionals needed in today’s economy.

Cooperation between science and business and the active involvement of universities through the transfer of the latest research and knowledge to young people is crucial; together they focus on conducting research, introducing innovative processes, and training new generations for the job market.

Dialogue is the most important step to achieving the goals of the regenerative economy. Public-private dialogue initiatives between science, business, and legislators are therefore necessary to develop a regenerative economy and use its potential.

 

In summary, the journey towards a regenerative economy in Serbia demands a collaborative effort among stakeholders across various sectors. You cannot apply regenerative measures uniformly to everything; the implementation of regenerative measures requires a tailored approach that acknowledges the diverse needs and challenges across industries and economic sectors.

 

Author: Partners at NALED