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Sustainability and financial results are not two different topics

Sustainability and financial results are not two different topics Photo: Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is a multinational industrial conglomerate focused on the production and sale of power distribution and automation products, including smart systems for homes, buildings, industry, electrical infrastructure and data centers. In 2021, it was ranked world's most sustainable company by Corporate Knights. In Bulgaria, the company operates a showcase smart factory with an Innovation Hub in the city of Plovdiv. Radoslav Koshkov has been Regional Manager for Bulgaria, Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo since 2019 and has been with the company for over 20 years.

Mr. Koshkov, sustainability is no longer just a buzz-word but a core policy focus both on an institutional and business level. Against this background, Schneider Electric has been recognized as one of the leaders in sustainability. How did you achieve that at a time when everyone seems to be “going green”?

First of all, we’ve been pursuing our sustainability agenda much longer than other companies who are just now putting the topic on the table. We’ve been having a clear sustainability plan with global and local commitments for years and our sustainability reporting is part of our overall public reporting – as equally important as our financial reports. 

Schneider is a very specific type of company that is on both sides of the equation – we contribute to sustainability through our own decarbonisation and environmental efforts and at the same time we offer to the market solutions that help other businesses do the same. 

To summarise – sustainability ambitions are directly related to business ambitions and goals. 

Being a regional manager for several markets gives you the opportunity to compare and get insights. Where do you think Bulgaria stands in terms of sustainability compared with the other markets you are overseeing? Is there something our market excels in or, on the contrary, still lacks?

The region of Southeast Europe as a whole is still a bit behind mature economies in terms of sustainability efforts. Bulgaria should be more ambitious and we should believe more in technologies and digitisation, as we have all needed means to perform – information, access to these technologies, enough experts and at the same time we have a lot of catching up to do with mature countries. We should believe more that a  greener future is possible, and that we are part of it.

Next to being a sustainable company, Schneider Electric is also a very successful company in purely business and financial terms. Would you say this goes to show that sustainability and strong business performance can go hand in hand and what do you think your secret ingredient is?

Businesses need to realise that sustainability and financial results are not two different topics, as I already said. If we are not sustainable, we won’t be able to sustain our operations tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Resiliency is what makes  companies last through the crises and constant changes that the world is facing nowadays. If we are consuming resources in an efficient manner, if we are strictly following our energy needs and applying real-time data for wise decision-making, then we can expect better performance and resilience in the future. 

Industry 4.0 is already a fact but next to it we are also witnessing Electricity 4.0 happening in the modern world – a full technological ecosystem that is connecting hardware, the traditional supply system and digital technology. 

All this is enabling data-driven management as never before and is enabling sustainability as technologically empowered pathway.