The Slovenia Times

Dolce Et Utile



Gorenje is one of Slovenia's largest companies, a true multinational enterprise with sales in 60 countries worldwide, specializing in the manufacture of household appliances. It exported 86 per cent of its production in 2004, making it the third largest Slovenian exporter and it has a 4 per cent share of the European market. The Gorenje group has recently introduced the ISO 14001 environmental management standard into its production, thus opting for the stricter monitoring and management of those aspects of the production process which have an appreciable impact on the environment. Although the implementation of the standard entails higher costs for the company, Gorenje has nevertheless succeeded in persuading customers that its attractively designed products, fulfilling the highest environmental standards, represent value for money. As Ms Vilma Fece, director of environmental protection in Gorenje, recently pointed out in an interview with the Slovenia Times, Gorenje tries to target more environmentally-minded customers, who are prepared to pay a slightly higher price for Gorenje's technologically-advanced products. Asked whether she expected Gorenje's competitors to chip away at the company's market share by offering less sophisticated, but cheaper household appliances, she replied that the regulatory environment in Europe is such that any strategy ignoring environmental concerns would be self-defeating. Not only are consumers increasingly wary of products that are environmentally unfriendly, but the products themselves have to conform to ever more demanding environmental standards. Gorenje has certainly capitalized on the first-mover advantage with regards to the development of technological solutions aimed at fulfilling these standards. It is the first Slovenian company to meet the requirements set out by the European directive regarding the treatment of environment, introducing the so-called Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). Its aim is to enhance the monitoring and assessment of the environmental impact of the company's activities. Gorenje submitted their most recent self-assessment to the scheme in May of this year. Recognizing Gorenje's achievements in the area of environmental protection, the European Commission presented the company with the 2004 European Award for the Environment in the environmental management category. But environmental management is not the only area where Gorenje excels. The company is also known for the state-of-the-art design of its products, for which it received a prestigious 'reddot design award', earlier this year. By packaging their products in a way that appeals to the aesthetic tastes of more discerning customers, Gorenje tries to push its business strategy in an environmentally friendly way. Maybe that is what being socially responsible is all about.


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