Ljubljana, 26 May 2023 – Employees of SIJ Acroni, SIJ Metal Ravne, SIJ Ravne Systems, SIJ SUZ, SIJ ZIP Center and SIJ d.d. of SIJ Group made a positive contribution to the communities of Jesenice, Ravne na Koroškem and Ljubljana yesterday through a variety of volunteer-led sustainability activities as part of the 4th Community Partnership Day under the slogan "Bonds of Steel Between Us". As many as 133 volunteers, including sportsmen and women from clubs sponsored by SIJ Group, donated more than 270 hours of their time, and contributed not only to creating a cleaner, tidier environment but also a more sustainable one. They were rewarded with warm and genuine smiles from the representatives of vulnerable groups, reaffirming the bonds they had already forged and brightening up each other's day.
Yesterday, SIJ Group employees once again volunteered in the local community as part of the 4th Community Partnership Day. They have given their time and effort, energy, and skills to brighten up the day of their fellow citizens and to improve the environment where employees and their families live and work. They were joined by sportsmen and women from clubs that are sponsored by SIJ Group: HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice ice hockey club, PK Fužinar swimming club, OK Fužinar volleyball club, OK Prevalje volleyball club and NTK Fužinar football club.
"Inspired by the remarkable bee species native to Slovenia, the Carniolan honey bee, we decided to include bee-themed activities in this year's Community Partnership Day. The purity of the honey is a measure of the purity of the environment. At SIJ Group, we will also demonstrate our sustainability commitments, as set out in our strategy and the decarbonisation plan, by introducing the bees to areas where our companies are situated, and by planting bee-friendly flowers and plants. In cooperation with the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, we will also measure our efforts to reduce environmental impacts by analysing honey," explained Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications at SIJ Group.
In Jesenice, volunteers together with the staff from the Koroška Bela Primary School played a role in making the school's surroundings greener – sowing grass and plants that attract pollinators like bees, landscaping green areas and donating a beehive. Together with fishermen from the Jesenice Fishing Association, they cleaned up the Sava riverbank near SIJ Acroni. They enjoyed a picnic and played games with the users of the VDC Jesenice protection and work centre.
"Being only a few kilometres from Triglav National Park, SIJ Acroni is surrounded by exceptional natural heritage.This places the highest degree of environmental responsibility on us. On this Community Partnership Day, we helped make the Koroška Bela Primary School greener and made the school grounds hospitable for children and for bees," said Branko Žerdoner, Managing Director of SIJ Acroni. He concluded with a strong message: "This is the best demonstration of what we can do together to preserve nature. If we can revitalise our surroundings and make them greener in just a few hours, we can work together to make bigger things happen. Just think of the power we hold in our hands, in our togetherness!"
"Slowly but steadily, a bond is being forged between employees and residents that goes beyond the walls of production facilities and manifests itself in support and ties to the local environment. I am convinced that each year, the Community Partnership Day contributes to further mutual trust, understanding and cooperation, and, above all, to joint sustainable action," believes Andrej Pogačnik, Director of SIJ SUZ.
The efforts of the volunteers from SIJ Acroni and SIJ SUZ were also praised by Sanda Zupan, Headmistress of Koroška Bela Primary School: "Over the years, we have done a lot of things like this together, and I am convinced that we will continue this story of ours going forward." Helena Kos, Director of VDC Jesenice added: "It is important to us that our users actively create the conditions for a quality life as they see it, and that they are involved in social life. That's why we were happy to work together with the volunteers and the representatives of HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice."
In Ravne na Koroškem, volunteers and children from the Juričev Drejček Primary School took part in creative workshops to paint flower pots, sow bee-friendly plants and enjoy some sports activities. They planted a pollinator-friendly tree alongside the users of VDC Ravne na Koroškem and helped them with their work. As part of the work, they painted the fences along the local footpath leading from the health centre to Javornik.
"We are aware that we are inextricably linked to the local community in Koroška region where we work and where our employees and their families live. Today's event is one of the ways to get involved. To keep our bonds as strong as steel, this year we have strengthened them in the most beautiful way possible – by planting bee-friendly plants, giving this gathering a particularly sustainable twist," said Jernej Močnik, Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne.
"This year we focused our volunteer activities mainly on helping the local bees, namely the Carniolan honey bees. Through pollination and the production of honey, the bees make an important contribution to the health of the entire local community and to our planet – something we are firmly committed to in our company and SIJ Group as a whole," said Matjaž Hudopisk, Chief Technical Officer of SIJ Ravne Systems.
"We believe that the power of collaboration can change our perceptions and help children and adults develop creatively and professionally. We are therefore excited and grateful to be part of the wider SIJ Group family, which shares our values, enthusiasm, vision and goals," enthused Vesna Lujinović, Headmistress of Juričev Drejček Primary School, about the long-term cooperation.
As in Ravne na Koroškem and Jesenice, similar volunteer, social and sustainable activities took place at SIJ Group headquarters in Ljubljana, strengthening the connection between SIJ Group companies and employees and the environment in which they do business. During the three Community Partnership Days (postponed twice in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic), SIJ Group has donated nearly 1,100 volunteer hours to communities in Jesenice, Ravne na Koroškem and Ljubljana, and approximately 540 volunteers have participated in the events at all three locations.
This year, SIJ Group plans to further its efforts to engage with local communities. A new policy for engaging and communicating with local communities will be put in place, backed up by a concrete action plan. This will enable them to gain an even deeper understanding of the needs of the local communities in various areas (social activities, environmental protection, etc.), which are important steps towards the goals SIJ Group has committed itself to in its 2030 sustainable development strategy: "We will respect and work together with local communities, creating value for them and helping to raise their quality of life," Sara Wagner said, summarising the Group's strategic objectives.
SIJ – Slovenian Steel Group is one of the leading producers of stainless steel and special steels in Europe. We are committed to global and European climate goals and operate in line with circular economy principles. With our steel and steel products, we are the right partner for facilitating the green transition in Europe. We aim to confirm our sustainability credentials by achieving certification to the stringent ResponsibleSteel standard by the end of 2023. This will position us as one of the world's most responsible and sustainable steel producers. Our two largest companies are modern recycling steelworks, and our steel is recycled because it is made from steel scrap. With more than 3,800 employees, we are one of the largest employers in Slovenia and a pillar of the Slovenian steel sector. We are one of Slovenia's leading exporters. About 85% of our revenue is generated in foreign markets.
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications
Telephone: +386 1 242 98 27
Mobile phone: +386 41 313 532