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CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

On 15 December 2021, the National Conference “CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT” within the EU-funded “EU4Environment” Action took place virtually, in Ukraine. The event started off with a promotional video on Circular Economy, developed and designed by the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Centre in Ukraine as part of the EU4Environment Action.
Over 170 participants attended the online event eager to learn more about the role, actions, and green paths national industries can take towards sustainable development. Presentations focused on the current progress of several Ukrainian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the transition to circular economy, as well as the description of benefits and new opportunities to embrace waste management. The keynote speakers also addressed the issues of Circular Economy per se, the I-GO tool for RECP self-assessment, the concept of sustainable public procurement, financial mechanisms for implementing RECP options in Ukraine, industrial waste mapping, and open data on waste and Circular Economy, to name a few.

A well consecrated event, the National Conference brought together representatives from the EU Delegation to Ukraine, UNIDO, UNEP, Ministries of Economy and Environment of Ukraine, international and national organizations, industrial enterprises, local authorities and agencies, associations, financial institutions, universities, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders.
“The importance of this Conference is that it talks about a new area of economic growth and of doing business. Within the key pillar of the European Green Deal, the economy of the future (economy of 2030-2050) will be a decarbonized and pollution free. This means that there is going to be at least one big market neighboring Ukraine (the EU) that will require that products meet certain standards – to be revolving over time, and to have included sustainability criteria (like share of recycled and reused materials, certification of the source of origin etc.). This is a big opportunity for Ukraine in several sectors,” noted Mr. Gregory Tsouris, Counsellor, Green Deal, the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine.

“The topic of Circular Economy is so relevant and interesting to many parties. On behalf of the Ministry of Economy, I would like to mention that Ukraine is aware of all the advantages of implementing the Circular Economy principles in Ukraine and understands the positive impact that such economy will have on the environment and on the well-being of the population. The Ministry is currently negotiating with the EU (Delegation) our joint efforts with UNIDO to implement Circular Economy in Ukraine. Ukraine understands the necessity of this action, though there is still so much to do,” marked Ms. Viktoria Kovalenko, State Expert on Smart Specialization and Resource Efficiency, Directorate for Pricing Policy and Development of the Real Sector of Economy, Ministry of Economy of Ukraine.

The Conference then pursued with two dedicated panel discussions. The first panel, “Production Approaches in Circular Economy”, mainly focused on the overarching scope and utility of Circular Economy, its benefits, key aspects, and practices, with the RECP concept being depicted as a building block. The attendees got also familiarized with the I-GO tool for RECP self-assessment. The assessed industrial companies then took the floor and offered their feedback on the RECP implementation and its advantages.
In between the two panels, the participants used the opportunity to learn about the current project on Lean Production in furniture manufacturing, which is being carried out by the RECP Centre. The second panel, “Waste Management: Benefits and Opportunities”, emphasized waste management and prevention as an important aspect for Circular Economy promotion. The speakers delivered topical presentations, shared their experiences, and actively participated in the interactive discussion with the rest of the participants. Overall, the National Conference attracted many professionals, entrepreneurs, and key stakeholders interested and versed in the principles and benefits of Circular Economy in Ukraine.

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*The online event was organized within the frame of EU4Environment Programme that helps the partner countries preserve their natural capital and increase people’s environmental well-being by supporting environment-related action, demonstrating and unlocking opportunities for greener growth, and setting mechanisms to better manage environmental risks and impacts. The Programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by a consortium of international partners, including OECD, UNIDO, UN Environment, UNECE and the World Bank.