Energy-efficient reconstruction and sustainable mobility in Zagreb

Tanja Broz applied to Pioneers in 2020 as she wanted to learn more about climate action and combine her professional economics experience with her personal interest in environmental issues. She completed a placement at the North West Croatia Energy Agency (REGEA) which focused on an energy-efficient reconstruction of the city of Zagreb after an earthquake. Tanja was also happy that her idea for a Group Project – developing bicycle infrastructure in Zagreb – was selected. The project is still ongoing, as the group will meet the city council soon to discuss next steps.

Pioneers helped me connect with the wider environmental community in Zagreb and beyond and I really enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds. If you’re interested in environmental issues – and maybe have project ideas you would like to accomplish – I really recommend applying.

Tanja Broz, Pioneer 2020

Tanja Broz has worked at the Institute of Economics, Zagreb since 2002 and her professional interests include international and SME financing. In her personal life, she has always been interested in a range of environmental issues: “Nature and sustainable mobility are two of my passions – I have always been interested in making transport more climate-friendly,” says Tanja. 

Keen to combine her professional and private interests further, Tanja decided to enrol in the 2020 Pioneers programme: “I wanted to work on environmental projects in my job and thought it would be a good idea to get more experience on climate innovation through Pioneers. I also wanted to learn more about sustainability and I had never heard of systems innovation thinking before, so I was very open to learning.”

During Tanja’s time at Pioneers, she completed a placement at the North West Croatia Energy Agency (REGEA) the local delivery partner of the Pioneers programme in Croatia. The agency was involved in the reconstruction of Zagreb after an earthquake and was aware reconstruction could lead to a significant environmental impact: the building and construction industries are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world and cement, a key construction substance, emits around 6% of global carbon emissions. “REGEA wanted reconstruction to be as sustainable as possible, so their focus was on green infrastructure implementation and funding,” says Tanja. 

In her placement, Tanja focused on stakeholder analysis: “In an energy-efficient reconstruction, a range of different stakeholders needed to be included. It was necessary to locate them, detect possible barriers and devise engagement methods. The Visual toolbox for system innovation provided guidance for stakeholder analysis, especially the Pentagonal Problem and Actor Tree,” said Tanja. 

Tanja says her colleagues at REGEA were friendly and welcoming. “As the project focuses on mechanisms to finance energy-efficient reconstruction, I hope to continue being involved in this project. It should have a significant impact on CO2  reduction while also increasing job creation, due to demand for construction workers,” she adds.

Another ongoing project is her Pioneers Group Project, which is focused on an idea put forward by Tanja: “Our project wanted to develop bicycle infrastructure in Zagreb, connecting the North to the city centre by creating more cycling lanes. It was a great experience and we’re still working on this project – I have helped translate relevant documents into Croatian and we are meeting with the city council soon to discuss next steps.” Tanja adds, “it has been wonderful to work on a project which will be potentially implemented – a real, tangible challenge – which would not have been possible without the Pioneers programme.”

Check out our Week of Action videos to find out more about the programme, how it links to climate action and hear more from previous participants and partners: