Saving energy in Serbian fashion

By Kasia  Kukula

Saving energy in Serbian fashion

EBRD and EU help Eminent make significant energy and cost savings

Eminent Ltd launched in the 1990s as a small garment manufacturer and over the years has worked its way up to become a leader in the regional fashion industry. Today, its sells its garments in over 60 stores across Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Known for the brand Legend World Wide, the company produces a wide range of products for women and men, including blouses, sweaters, jeans, shirts and bags.

Behind the scenes, however, Eminent is interested in much more than the glamour of fashion shows and increasing its already impressive sales. The firm also cares about protecting our planet.

Clean energy is in fashion

The owners recently invested in modern, environmentally friendly equipment, namely new washing machines, a textile spray cabin and a tumble dryer.

“The project was interesting to us because not only did we get a chance to improve our products’ quality, but we also had the added bonus of saving energy,” explained Jasna Papak, General Manager of Eminent.

“The loan enabled us to work with innovative and energy-saving machinery which automatically put the old equipment out of use.”

The equipment was purchased thanks to a financing package from the EBRD and the European Union (EU) under the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (WeBSEFF).

“Supporting energy efficiency is at the core of the Bank’s strategy in Serbia and WeBSEFF has proven to be an effective instrument for catalysing energy efficiency investments in the country, particularly in the SME sector,” said Daniel Berg, EBRD Head for Serbia.

WeBSEFF is programme that provides credit lines to partner banks in the Western Balkans for on-lending to businesses and municipalities keen to invest in energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy projects.

These credit lines are complemented by project preparation support and investment incentives, also funded by the EU through the Western Balkans Investment Framework. The programme was designed and implemented in close partnership with the Energy Community Secretariat.

“The European Union’s priority is to ensure that the EU and the Western Balkans have secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy,” explained Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director, Western Balkans at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement.

“This is why we are supporting the development of energy efficiency finance in the region: making SMEs more competitive, improving public buildings, reducing energy bills for citizens, and contributing to economic growth.”

Ticking all the boxes

Eminent’s production ticks all the boxes for efficiency and it is environmentally friendly too. Less time is required to process the same amount of textiles and less manual work is needed – this reduces operational costs and helps achieve greater energy efficiency.

What is more, the new equipment reduces the company's CO2 emissions by 64 per cent each year.

It’s a comparatively small investment of €231,120 that allows the company to decrease its energy costs by approximately €36,000 per year, so the energy savings alone will help repay the investment in six and a half years.

Eminent’s example shows that investing in clean energy makes financial sense and helps to make businesses more competitive and profitable.

The company has now joined the club of Balkan green energy champions,  following in the footsteps of Nikola Tesla, the man who provided “unlimited” energy for all at the turn of the last century, and the “Strawberry Tree”, the world’s first public solar charger for mobile devices.

Scaling up its financing to tackle the effects of climate change has been high on the EBRD’s agenda for many years now.

Recently the EBRD adopted a new Green Economy Transition approach, under which the Bank is aiming to step up its green financing to around €18 billion, or 40 per cent of its total annual investments, by 2020.