Klaipeda FEZ selected among SDG Model Zones

  • 2024-04-26

The Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones (GASEZ) has selected Klaipeda Free Economic Zone (FEZ) in coastal Lithuania among the top 50 global Model Zone Partners that best reflect global sustainable development goals.

The objective of the SDG Model Zone initiative is to raise awareness of the contributions of special economic zones to sustainable development, recognize the efforts of zones that are leading the way in this space, and to share best practices that can serve as an inspiration for other zones.

The United Nation’s SDG Summit in September 2023 called for immediate measures to scale up efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda, including through SDG investments. In line with this aspiration and GASEZ objectives, the Alliance launched its SDG Model Zone initiative on 18 October 2023 during the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi. The GASEZ founding members have jointly identified 50 special economic zones (SEZ) from across the world seen as partners for sustainable development. 

The criteria used to select the SEZs nominees for SDG Model Zones were derived from UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2019. These criteria are: Commitment to sustainable development; Promotion of investment in the SDGs; Llevels of social, environmental and governance standards and compliance. Only 10 free zones from the EU made it to the top fifty.

Eimantas Kiudulas, the CEO of Klaipeda FEZ, states that this recognition reaffirms the relevance of the strategy the management company pursued for some years. And for Klaipeda, it will create additional advantages in negotiating with new investors.

"Over a decade ago, we realized that high-value-added investments require harmony with residents and the environment, integration into the city, as well as an active and transparent business community with which everyone would like to work, exchange ideas, or collaborate. In order to attract the best talents, businesses must be interesting, innovative, modern, and respectful. This soon begins to attract new investors willing to work together with like-minded companies and individuals. For us, this approach is primarily important for competitive advantages, but it is gratifying that it also aligns with the UN's SDGs and helps Klaipeda become more visible," says Kiudulas.

Previously, Klaipeda FEZ has earned awards for sustainability, innovation, contribution to regional and national economic development, renewable energy, and other areas from FDI Intelligence, Investment Monitor and other international organizations.

Currently, approximately 2,800 employees work in investor companies in Klaipeda FEZ, and about 5,000 across the entire territory. More than 45 foreign investors operating in Klaipeda FEZ paid over EUR 107 million in personal income, VAT, and social security taxes. They also procured goods and services worth more than EUR 500 million in 2022. 

Since its inception in 2002, Lithuanian and foreign capital companies in Klaipeda FEZ have implemented or planned investments totaling EUR 778 million. The total tax contribution of all Klaipeda FEZ companies to the city, state, and social security budgets over the past 10 years amounted to almost EUR 567 million.

The average salaries in investor companies in Klaipeda FEZ exceed the overall average of the Klaipeda region and the local manufacturing sector by 20-30%. At the end of 2023, according to survey data from the consulting firm Smart Continent LT, 94.3% of investors recommended Klaipeda FEZ.