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KBC Group in Bulgaria presented its results and ambitious plans in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility. The main drive of the Group companies – UBB, DZI, UBB Interlease and UBB subsidiaries - targets the support for society in several core domains – environment, health, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
One of the most significant green initiatives of the Group - Team Blue Goes Green - spread over all core markets of the Belgian group, while each involved employee was given a tree to plant in his/her own country. A total of 3290 persons – 82% of the staff of the Group’s Bulgarian companies – participated in over 50 eco-initiatives in Bulgaria and „won“ 3290 young trees. At the end of 2019 KBC Group Bulgaria planted a total of 10 new forests in 10 regions of Bulgaria, among which the reforestation of the burnt down forest in Lovets village near Veliki Preslav town with 1250 young trees of the Quercus cerris (Austrian oak) and Quercus pubescens (Downy oak) species and of the torched vicinity of Drenkovo village near Blagoevgrad with 300 black pine trees; afforestation of the emblematic parks Lauta in Plovdiv and Bedechka in Stara Zagora town with respectively 360 linden trees and with 300 linden, birch and cedar trees. The Seaside Garden in Вourgas town went through a re-vegetation process, while in Sofia city 50 Sakura trees bloomed for the first time this spring in the Yuzhen Park, along the UBB and DZI alleys.
The planting of trees and the cleaning of more than 4 tonnes of waste engaged Bulgarian employees for 8215 hours in total or nearly one astronomical year, which equivalence in terms of volunteering is worth BGN 87 000.
In order to contain its direct and indirect impact on global warming, KBC Group has launched a programme for reducing their footprint on the environment. The Group’s main objective is its carbon footprint to reach 0 CO2 emissions in 2050.
Aligned with the KBC Group efforts for reducing the negative impact on nature 2 electric cars service the needs of the companies in Sofia. Over a 9-month period their total mileage is 9 608 kilometers, which equals reduction of the carbon footprint with a total of 1318 kg СО2 or 13.72 kg СО2 for every 100 km run.
As part of the KBC Group commitment for increasing the share of green electricity and reducing carbon emissions, there is also an operational photo voltaic plant at the DZI’s Customer Service Centre in Orlandovtsi Residential District of the capital city. It produces 34 мWh per annum, representing nearly 20% of the total consumption of the second largest in terms of size Head Office of DZI, while the saved electric energy is sufficient to cover the needs of an average household over a period of more than 10 years. Thanks to the solar panels, placed on the roof of the DZI building, the company’s carbon footprint will be reduced with 18 tonnes of СО2 per annum. The remaining energy needs of the administrative building in Orlandovtsi and of UBB Millennium will be fed with the purchasing of 100% green electricity, produced from renewable sources.
Total carbon emissions in Bulgaria over 2015 equal 16 880 tonnes of CO2. In 2019, thanks to the above initiatives and projects, strong reduction of carbon emissions by 55% was already observed, as compared to 2015. The next steps towards the big goal are -71% in 2030; -85% in 2040 and -100% in 2050.
The topic about human safety and prevention of tragic incidents is of paramount importance for KBC Group. In long-term perspective DZI focuses its efforts on the development of products, which are to the benefit of society and take care about the health and well-being of Bulgarians. One of the most significant projects in this domain is the Е-SOS app, jointly developed by DZI, VIVACOM and Sirma Group Holding, created with the core aim to help in saving human lives via a fast connection with the 112 emergency hotline teams and the contacts in a person’s telephone via the SOS button, as well as the „emergency health record“ function, including info about blood group, allergies, medications taken and other useful information. The app was presented by the Bulgarian runner and mountain orienteer Kiril Nikolov - Disl upon his attempt to strike a new record in the extreme mountain running of 240 km over 48 hours, along the Е4 route.
The KBC group companies support entrepreneurship and job creation as well as contribute to sustainable economic growth through investments in new business endeavours, innovations and technologies.
In 2019 UBB and Junior Achievement Bulgaria carried out UBB Challenge YOU – a practical programme for entrepreneurial initiative of student start-ups. Within a 3-month period Bulgarian students formed teams, in order to develop ideas for start-up businesses. 23 registered projects in 10 different areas, related to technology innovations, measured their strengths. The big winner was BeVine – a smart helper in vine growing. The product is designed for winemakers and agronomists who want to increase their wine quality by providing them up-to-date information about the state of their vineyards.
The ABLE Activator programme, supported by UBB, enabled another 30 active young people (student and young specialists up to 35 years of age) to develop their entrepreneurial and leadership skills. Lecturers from UBB were involved in the programme, in order to emphasize on financial innovations. 30 people formed 5 teams and presented their projects. The winner-team was “Farmer’s Pride“. The project offers solar food dehydrators - a solution that allows small farms to increase their profits by using dehydrators that extend the shelf life of already harvested fruits, vegetables or herbs.