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First Cohort of the Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program Present Projects to Bring Lasting Change

February 06, 2019

16 professionals from some of Bulgaria’s largest companies presented their work at the Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program Final Conference. The program’s first cohort shared their key findings on the topics of sustainable development and best business practices Feb. 5 at the Elieff Center for Education and Culture in Sofia.   

Jointly established by the Bulgarian Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) and the American University in Bulgaria with the assistance of distinguished international professors, the Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program aims to bring sustainable change to Bulgarian business through the education of industry professionals.  

Such initiatives testify to BSDA’s commitment to bring a change of mindset in business, AUBG Provost Emilia Zankina said. “We now have a business that is mature, a business that is responsible and a business that is willing to take action and initiative,” she said.  

“Tonight we celebrate your ambition to learn more about wise, sufficient and sustainable management,” said Rosen Plevneliev, Bulgarian President (2012-2017) and AUBG special envoy, in an address to the program participants. “Tonight we celebrate your ambition to make progress and achieve sustainable and lasting results. The only way to be really successful is if we combine progress with the magic word of sustainability.”

The Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program is an opportunity to look “afresh at business” and “think about building a community that is thriving, think about building an economically prosperous, socially inclusive business in Bulgaria and beyond,” said Wendy Purcell, Harvard University professor and Development Consultant of the program.

“Sustainability is not simply a word or a term but has a visible reflection in our everyday life,” said Jana Velichkova, Chairman at BSDA. “And we are very excited to see the results of our efforts and at establishing sustainable development as part of our organizational and social change.”

Following five days of training, and extensive teamwork and research, the project participants presented their findings in different areas of sustainability that included the efficient management of resources, strategic planning for sustainable development and waste recycling and re-use in the production process.

“What I learned during the program is that sustainability is a very diverse and complex but universal topic,” said Marina Kobakova, Head of Client Coverage ING Bulgaria and one of the participants in the program. “The resources on the planet are getting scarcer and if we all do something small, we could change a lot for ourselves, our kids and for the next generation.” 

Following the presentations, the professionals from the first cohort of the Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program received their program certificates.

Story by Dimana Doneva
Photos by Anastasia Garyainova

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