News|General|11 Apr 2024

PARK co-founder Frans Joziasse discusses a new partnership to prepare businesses to meet the requirements of the European Green Deal

PARK has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Slovenia (GZS) on a new 3 year programme, Chains of Sustainability, to help its member businesses prepare to meet the requirements of the European Green Deal and Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Frans Jozaisse, who will lead the PARK team delivering the programme together with Alenka Lesjak from GZS explains that he first came to work with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Slovenia – the largest independent, voluntary, non-profit association of companies in Slovenia – when delivering a keynote at its annual Sustainability Day last year.

“I gave a lecture to challenge the industry in Slovenia to see sustainability as an opportunity”, he says. “And of the 200 participants, half were super enthusiastic and came up to me, and the other half thought, there’s a leftist green guy”.

PARK co-founder Frans Joziasse discusses a new partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Slovenia

That proposition, however contentious, was backed by case studies and plenty of experience says Frans. Since 1988 PARK has been working with businesses to scale their design and innovation capabilities, and post 2019, this process has been further shaped by PARK’s creation of its Design for Humanity framework, helping companies to develop business models and strategic roadmaps for a sustainable future. There is added impetus for making these changes now, Frans says, with the new European Green Deal and requirements for sustainability reporting in the form of the CSRD, which is now law across the EU and will be implemented in phases over the next couple of years depending on the size of businesses and other criteria.

PARK has now established a partnership with the GZS to empower its more than 5,200 member companies to make these changes. The aims of the Chains of Sustainability programme include supporting Slovenian businesses to internationalise, while also being a key local partner to facilitate entrance into the Slovenian market for foreign investors and business professionals. Part of this includes helping Slovenian businesses to access EU investment, says Frans, and under the European Green Deal this will mean compliance with its requirements – which PARK can help member companies achieve.

PARK's new partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Slovenia Frans Joziasse, PARK co-founder (top left), Marjana Majeric, Dir CCIS (top right), Hidajet Kurbegović, Director Sustainability and Quality Mobil MSID-Bank (bottom left), Gašper Jež, SID-Bank (bottom right)

Launching the programme by example

Ahead of the partnership, PARK has been working directly with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry – as it is a business itself with upwards of 100 employees, Frans explains.

“In order to consult and to educate your members around sustainability, you need to have a very clear strategy yourself, otherwise you’re not credible, right?”, he says. “If you say you should be green and you still drive in your big SUV to bring your children to school, that’s not really credible. So we have helped the chamber, over the last four months, to prepare a strategy for sustainable transformation”.

Noting that “collaborations always have two sides”, Frans says that the GZS understanding of its members, and its network of regional and industry-specific councils, is an invaluable part of the partnership. He describes Slovenia as a country whose entrepreneurial spirit punches well above the size of its population, with its industry excelling in particular areas such as manufacturing, food and tourism. Each of these industries are concentrated across different regions, and each will have their own challenges and requirements, he says.

What PARK brings to the table, meanwhile, is its years of experience empowering businesses and understanding of how to Design for Humanity. Existing sustainability efforts often suffer from being siloed, Frans says, whereas PARK’s experience shows that approaching sustainability is a multifaceted process, with diverse yet interconnected areas for improvement – from product and manufacturing, to HR and hiring policies. Rather than being overly specialised, PARK is able to operate at a strategic level with a wide range of businesses, partnering further with specialists as required. Shaping PARK’s holistic approach are six pillars, which Frans summarises as “a reflection of all the potential areas where companies can improve their sustainability footprint.”

What will partnership involve?

Often businesses can be fearful of the scale of changes required and by the prospect of navigating reporting, but often work can be done with things the company already does, says Frans.
The first stage of working with a company is to create awareness and start with an audit of the current situation, and following workshops with the company and its stakeholders, “we make an overview of all the measurements companies already do”, he says.

“Then we make a short-, mid- and long-term plan for what our potential actions and goals around sustainability are in each of those pillars”, he adds, before working with senior management to outline the areas for change, specific goals and actions, and set up Sustainability Performance Indicators, “which are the foundation for reporting later”. The next step is working together to identify “the amount of resources and investments” in order to realise those goals and actions.
The programme was announced on April 10th, at an event in Ljubljana where PARK met with GZS members, and applications for the programme are now open.

The process is not immediate, however, warns Frans. “You cannot invest in all your sustainability goals at once, you cannot build all the competencies you need overnight, you cannot inform all your external stakeholders overnight; you cannot change your sustainable suppliers overnight: these are long processes”.

“The difference is to set priorities – and we do it together with the company – and then we help them in the implementation”.

For additional information on the Chains of Sustainability programme, please contact info@park.bz or https://eng.gzs.si/

See Chains of Sustainability programme Press Release

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