Green Economy in the Western Balkans

Cover of Green Economy in the Western Balkans

Towards a Sustainable Future



Table of contents

(16 chapters)

A country image is a generic construct created by a wide range of factors as representative products, national characteristics, economic and political backgrounds, history and traditions. In times when environmental protection and performance have become two of the world’s most important priorities, such a general view of a particular country should include green dimensions as well. Literature review suggests a lack of literature on the coexistence of country image and green orientation. The goal of the chapter is to bridge the gap in the research literature about the green image of a country and to explore the level of awareness of its existence among tourists. Therefore, after secondary (desk) research, primary (field) research in two stages was conducted. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used in both stages. Firstly, group interviews were conducted among tourists in the capital of Croatia. Then, a survey was carried out with 250 tourists who shared their perception of the environmental practices in Croatia. The research results indicate that Croatia has a green image mostly because of its unspoiled nature and natural food assortment. However, the implementation of environmentally responsible activities is lacking, especially those related to waste and energy management, as well as fundamental knowledge and experience of Croatian citizens on how ecological awareness contributes to higher quality of life.


The aim of this chapter is to explore sustainability research and findings in Slovenia, including Slovenia’s paths toward sustainable future on three different levels: situational or macro-level, transformational or mezzo-level and action formation or micro-level. Changes toward sustainability can only be made through the interaction of all levels. Besides the economic situation, both environmental and social dimensions are also important parts of sustainability. Slovenian consumers tend to be aware of sustainability issues and have formed positive attitudes about this concern, which is also reflected at the macro-level indices, indicating Slovenia’s sustainable position compared to other countries in Eastern and Southern Europe. Some sustainability guidelines, albeit not necessarily systematic activities, are adopted by companies and thus are moving the Slovenian economy forward in this area. This chapter can serve as a basis to develop some general pointers of how sustainability in Slovenia can be further addressed and developed.


The aim of this chapter is to examine the way in which small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adapt their financial and operational planning in order to develop green entrepreneurship. This is examined through two different practices which may be followed by companies: policies and strategies that lead enterprises to energy upgrade and policies and strategies relating to environmental protection. This chapter draws upon the dataset from 100 Greek SMEs. The process of data collection was conducted by delivering questionnaires to the sample of companies in question. The novelty of this research, in comparison with other surveys, is that the level of adopting green strategies is approached not only in the fields of energy or environmental efficiencies but also attempts to introduce techno-economic parameters with related items in the questionnaires delivered to the SMEs. Hence, a more thorough analysis for the greenness of Greek SMEs is discussed based on 10 (i.e. techno-economic) research hypotheses. The results indicate that the SMEs should be supported more effectively by the Greek government and European Union through funding initiatives. The funding initiatives do not have the expected results so far towards this direction. However, it seems that the SMEs realize the importance of green strategies as they believe the consumers are willing to pay more for green products.


Over the last 15 years, all the legislation on waste management in the Republic of Macedonia has been brought in compliance with the European legislation. The major challenge in the economy, however, still happens to be the (non) implementation of the enforced laws on green economy. Major constrains in waste management practices remain to be organization of institutions and human resources; financing of services and investments; stakeholder (non) awareness; and lack of technical management in all phases from collection to final disposal of waste. It is not only that the present situation has negative impact on the public health and the environment, but it also has serious negative economic effects which consequently affects issues related to the total economic growth of the country.

The paper has a special focus on managing packaging and packaging waste and analyzes the results of the implementation of the Law of Management of Packaging and Packaging Waste which was enforced in 2009. Positive initiatives in waste management practices were undertaken by PAKOMAK, the first Macedonian company that has been holding the license for selecting and processing of packaging waste since January 2011. The company has a proactive role in promoting the importance of packaging waste and its management, with a special emphasis on projects that increase the awareness of the whole society, especially that of the young population. Some of the projects that increase the eco-awareness of young population will be presented in the paper.


The aim of this chapter is to highlight the importance of sustainable development, especially its environmental component in trade and retail sector of the Republic of Serbia. Due to a number of factors, such as increased consumer awareness on the importance of eco-products, new statutory and legal regulations, and increased competition, retail chains are increasingly oriented to the concept of sustainable development, in particular promoting its environmental component, eco-products, and eco packaging. Trade, especially retail, plays an important role in linking producers and consumers, and society as a whole. In this way, trade has a good overview of all the changes occurring in the environment, production, and consumer needs. Changes in the environment further stimulate trade to operate in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, including all its dimensions. In this regard, special attention is paid to the protection of working and living environment, as components of sustainable development. The chapter includes a review of literature in the field of sustainable development and application of this concept in the trade and retail sector. The theoretical aspect of the research focuses on conceptualization of sustainable development and its environmental component in trade and retail. With reference to theoretical research on the implementation of environmental component of sustainable development in trade, empirical research has been conducted from two aspects. First, analysis focuses on the performance and socio-economic importance of trade sector of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the number of ISO 14001 certificates in trading companies. Second, analysis shifts to the largest trading companies in the Republic of Serbia, based on available secondary data on the implementation of the concept of sustainable development and its environmental component.


Tourism is a big and complex system which incorporates a large number of public and private sectors that offer a wide range of products and services for different segments of tourists. Therefore, tourism development has become important for many organizations from different industries in the region. While tourism affords significant positive effects to tourism destination, it also adds large environmental footprint; to be more sustainable, the tourism industry needs to apply specific strategies to make it more environmentally friendly. Thus, sustainable tourism development becomes a paradigm shift to include a green orientation as a way to achieve these goals.

This chapter is focused on a green orientation in tourism in the Western Balkan countries. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the importance of a green orientation in tourism as an important way to achieve sustainable tourism development. The major method of research was secondary data collection. Key sources of information included literature concerning sustainable tourism and the green economy, green strategies in tourism, as demonstrated in the work of UNWTO, UNEP and WTTC. Data gathered from these organization’s web pages were examined.

The Western Balkan countries accepted and applied the idea of sustainable tourism development in practice, but they remain insufficient in application when it comes to green orientation in tourism. All countries in this region should adopt more precise green strategies for future tourism development to provide long-term benefits for local population, environment and economy in tourism destination.


In the late 1990s, the tourism in Serbia had been developing spontaneously, supported by the policy of undifferentiated marketing. That kind of approach to tourism development led to unsatisfying results, which is a notion primarily based on Serbia’s obvious natural and social resources. An alternative to this approach to tourism development is the differentiated marketing strategy focusing on relevant market segments called “targets.” That way, it would be possible to commercially valorize a significant number of resources (natural and social) as well as a large number of touristic products.

Due to current trends in the international tourism market – moving away from the concept of mass tourism (holiday at the seaside and “ski resorts”), i.e., the ongoing diversification of tourism products, there is undoubtedly more potential for new tourism development trends. The increasing investment in tourism development of the Danube basin, with a larger number of potential tourist products, is expected to make it more attractive to the tourist market. This should have positive effects on the overall development of tourism in Serbia.

This chapter focuses primarily on the research of the Upper Danube region. It will show the importance of the natural and social (anthropogenic) resources suitable for the development of tourism in this area. Special attention shall be paid to the concept of sustainable tourism development, which develops tourism in accordance with the interests of all stakeholders. The positive interaction between all interest groups creates the conditions that ensure satisfaction of all stakeholders and general welfare.


Although Slovenia is not part of the Western Balkans region, due to the common Yugoslav (SFRY) history, it faces similar problems as the countries of the region do, but attempts to solve them in a unique way, which could be an example for other countries of that region. Consequently, this chapter explains the necessity of global sustainable development and practices of Slovenia from both the theoretical and practical aspects. Specifically, many Slovenian enterprises have developed a socially responsible culture towards a sustainable future; moreover, many greening practices of more and more sustainable, responsible and ethical enterprises can also be readily found in Slovenia. Furthermore, some researchers see Slovenia as a possible model of a social responsibility program or an integral green country that could be an example towards developing in a sustainable manner and showing a path towards a sustainable future of the world.


The purpose of this chapter is to explore the mediating effect of consumer attitude towards purchasing organic food and moderating effect of consumer innovativeness on the intention to purchase organic food. A consumer survey was conducted with a specific focus on buyers of organic food products in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Data were collected during December 2016 via an online survey, eventually obtaining 173 valid questionnaires for analysis. The indirect effect of organic food knowledge, subjective norm, personal norm, organic food availability, attitude towards organic food and organic food scepticism on intention to purchase organic food was tested using the PROCESS Macro in SPSS. The results revealed that organic food knowledge, subjective norm, personal norm, attitude towards organic food have indirect effects on consumer intention to purchase organic food. Moreover, findings suggest that attitude towards organic food purchase mediates the link between these four factors and consumer’s intention to purchase organic food. In addition, it was proven that consumer innovativeness positively moderates the attitude-purchase intention link in the context of organic food consumption. This chapter enhances the external validity of previous empirical findings beyond the Western European context. Further, it provides some important guidelines to the retailers to develop and implement marketing strategies for organic food products.


The fact that per capita energy consumption in non-OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries makes up only 30% of average consumption in OECD countries, as well as the fact that highly efficient technologies and equipment have been available for many years in developed countries where energy efficiency is one of the top priorities, has often been cited as an argument in favour of the claim that energy efficiency is relevant only for highly developed countries. In this chapter, we attempt to establish if and why this opinion is wrong in the case of Western Balkans (WB6). Evident lack of interest in this area which we identified through analysis of available literature was an important motive for the consideration of the issue of energy efficiency in WB6 countries.

Analysing the basic macroeconomic and energy indicators for WB6 countries and their comparison with indicators for European Union (EU) member countries, we found that all countries have the potential benefit from implementation of energy efficiency and conservation projects. Besides the possible energy savings, wider socio-economic benefits in WB6 countries include harmonization with EU regulations, reduced dependence on import and thus reduced risk of price shocks and potential reduction of trade deficit, creation of jobs, health benefits, better productivity and improved competitiveness.

However, realizing the full potential of energy efficiency requires removal of many financial, institutional, technical and behavioural barriers, whereby WB6 countries can use the help of institutions which provide technical assistance and funds, beside measures which fall under jurisdiction of governments.


Sustainable use of water, which is one of the most important natural renewable resources in Bosnia and Herzegovina, should be a priority and an integrative objective of sustainable development. In accordance to that, it is necessary to provide the satisfactory amount of water of an adequate quality for various purposes, to reduce damage from water, and to achieve a good ecological potential of water, thus ensuring the sustainability of this resource, at the same time not jeopardizing the ecosystems that depend on it.

Encouraging irrigation, especially of small farmland and orchards, careful construction of small hydropower plants, the development of fisheries and tourism on and by the water, much greater use of mineral and thermal waters, and other possibilities provided by unused renewable resources in Bosnia and Herzegovina provide significant opportunities to develop an environmentally friendly economy. Application of the principles of sustainable development and set goals requires more precise definition and putting into a clear economic, environmental, social, and institutional context.


Montenegrin economy is characterized by large disparities in terms of level of economic development as well as regional development. Although the northern region of Montenegro offers a very good precondition for economic development in terms of its potentials, the situation is quite opposite. There are significant differences between the southern, central and northern region when it comes to development, income level and unemployment rate. With respect to natural resources and potential with which the northern region is endowed, agriculture emerges as one of the factors of economic development. Almost all future-oriented strategic activities recognize agriculture as an instrument for overcoming differences and thus ensuring sustainable development. Agriculture in Montenegro appears to be an instrument which can, coupled with an entrepreneurial activity, contribute to a better quality of life and thus the future sustainable development of the whole country and its individual regions.

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