On December 16, 2020, the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Centre hold the national online conference “Ecomoderization of Ukrainian industry: from resource efficiency to circular economy”. It became a landmark event for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) project “Promoting the Adaptation and Adoption of Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production through the Establishment and Operation of a Cleaner Production Centre in Ukraine” and for the Cleaner Production Centre (Centre). The project was implemented in Ukraine from 2013 to 2020 and aimed at promoting more efficient and rational use of resources in industry, enhancing the competitiveness of Ukrainian enterprises and reducing the environmental impact.
The event highlighted two very important and interrelated topics, and those were the introduction of resource efficient and cleaner production concept (RECP) and a circular economy (CE) model, which play an important role in shaping the environmental and economic policies of any country. In fact, the topic of the first panel logically became the basis for the second one.
The Conference traditionally began with welcoming remarks delivered by the honoured and important quests from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, the Swiss Cooperation Office (Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine), the European Union Mission in Ukraine, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Priska Depnering, Deputy Director of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine opened the conference with a warm welcome address. “By really tackling the concept of resource efficient and cleaner production, by looking into the ways how you can make your production more efficient, how you can save materials, you can understand how you can make your production more sustainable and how you can really contribute to protect the environment. This efficiency has been already proved throughout the world”, emphasized Ms. Depnering. She also recalled a striking example of the Centre’s cooperation with a sugar mill in Zhytomyr oblast (Ukraine), where a technical assessment had been carried out and a number of resource efficient solutions. “These success stories are really a very good and motivating example for other companies in Ukraine. It is not just the concept that comes from Western Europe, Switzerland or Austria. We see that RECP is really working in Ukraine and giving good fruits for the companies”.
Olena Koltyk, the Director of the Waste Management and Environmental Safety, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, noted that the circular economy was not only a question of proper waste management, it was rather a business process and a management decision-making.
Chloé Allio, Head of Section – Operations – Economic Cooperation, Energy, Infrastructure and Environment, Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine in her welcoming informed “In March 2020 the European Commission adopted the New Circular Economy Action Plan. This Plan is one of the blocks European Union Green Deal”. Miss Allio also noted, that much of the world’s GHG emissions were related to the production, consumption and disposal of basic resources. The only way to reduce these emissions is to change current approaches to the linear economies based on the extraction of raw materials and productions, as opposed to circular, where the products go back to a closed cycle for reuse or recycling. She drew the attention of everyone to the world’s strategy of decarbonization and called to join this top urgent initiative.
Petra Schwager, Chief – Energy Technologies and Industrial Applications Division, Department of Energy, Directorate of Environment and Energy, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), summed up the previous remarks and thanked the Centre’s team for their work on UNIDO projects. She recalled the many years of the Centre’s maturing process, the first steps and achievements to date, which the Centre should be for sure proud of. “When we manufacture a product, which is at the core of a circular economy, it means that we give an extended life to a product and we are saving up to 85% of energy”, added Ms. Petra Schwager.
In general, all speakers emphasized the significance of the reporting event and the role of the Centre in helping Ukrainian enterprises to become more resource efficient and sustainable in their development.
Panel discussion I “Resource Efficiency is the Way to the Industry Development” gave the opportunity to many speakers to share their presentations. It comprised the speeches of Branko Dunjić, Chief Technical Advisor of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Andrii Vorfolomeiev, Director of the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Centre, representatives of industrial enterprises, Oleksandr Khokhotva, Associate Professor, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”. The industrial representatives shared their experience of cooperation with the Centre. Two representatives of “Ukrgazbank, PJSC” Yaroslav Krupko and Kyrylo Pavshuk introduced financial tools to boost implementing resource efficiency in industry. Serhiy Porovskyy, Energy Efficiency Financing and Policy Expert for the Project, UNIDO/GEF Project “UKR IEE Introduction of Energy Management System Standard in Ukrainian Industry” held a presentation on Loan Guarantee Fund as a new innovative financial mechanism for energy efficient industry. Tamara Burenko, Deputy Head of Low Carbon Development Department, State Agency of Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine presented the work of the Decarbonization Fund, which will stimulate enterprises to energy efficiency.
All the speeches in the first panel discussion mainstreamed a common thought: every industrial enterprise, regardless of its size and scope of activity, should choose a single vector for its development, and this is resource efficiency.
The conference participants were offered a video on the 8-year UNIDO project and the Centre’s activities in Ukraine. That video served as a so called bridge to step over to the second panel discussion.
Victoria Kovalenko, the State Expert on Resource Efficiency in Industry, Directorate of Industrial Policy and Stimulation of Regional Development, Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine opened Panel Discussion II “Circular Economy as a Tool for Business Improvement”. She thanked the Centre for multi-year contributions to the introduction of resource efficiency in domestic industries and outlined the main tasks of the Ministry for the Introduction of the principles of the circular economy in Ukraine. “The team of the Centre is doing important work which contributes to efficient and rational use of resources, increasing competitiveness of Ukrainian enterprises and decreasing the stress on the environment”, reported Ms. Kovalenko. “The Ministry supports the activities of the Centre and believes that resource efficiency in combination with a circular economy will allow enterprises to accelerate the transition to the green economy and ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Tatiana Chernyavskaya, acting project manager, Industrial Resource Efficiency Division, Directorate for Environment and Energy (UNIDO), shared a very interesting, informative and vivid presentation. She gave details about the European Union-funded EU4Environment programme. Tatyana first shared basic information about this program. So, the EU4Environment Programme started in January 2019 and will last 4 years, its budget is over 20 million Euros, it is implemented in 6 Eastern Partnership countries by 5 major organizations (OECD, UNIDO, UN Environment, UNECE and the World Bank). The ultimate goal and focus of the Programme is the realization of benefits for citizens and the environmental protection. The Programme consists of 5 components and Ukraine is in charge of fulfilling Component 2 “Circular Economy and New Growth Opportunities”. Within the framework of its component, Ukraine has to cope with following tasks: (1) the introduction of RECP and the circular economy; (2) waste management (waste mapping in municipalities as part of this task) and (3) promoting the creation of a single market for green products (SMGP). The third one envisages the application of the “Environmental footprint” methodology as one of the possible eco-labelling tools for export industries oriented to the EU market. Ms. Chernyavskaya announced some pessimistic findings of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health and reported “Pollution kills more people than some serious diseases known in the world”. That is why the EU’s role in launching initiatives and programmes to improve the environment and climate around the world cannot be overemphasized.
It should be noted that each panel discussion was preceded by a special poll. It helped to make it clear to the organizers that the participants were knowledgeable about resource efficiency and the circular economy.
Liudmyla Musina, UNIDO Focal Point in Ukraine presented the background and prospects for the transition to a circular economy in Ukraine. As noted by the moderator of the panel, Liudmyla has been for years a “translator of the language of technical assistance projects in Ukraine”. In her presentation, she spoke about three key strategies of the circular economy, eco-innovation and digitalization as a toolkit to circular economy, and offered recommendations for national governments and so on. Her presentation contained many useful legislative and regulatory information, which will certainly be useful to all conference participants.
Svitlana Berzina and Denis Basilevich drew the same interest to their presentations. Svitlana is the President of All-Ukrainian NGO “Living Planet”, the expert of EaP GREEN and EU4Environment programmes on PPS implementation, and Denis is the co-organizer of the Industry4Ukraine Platform. Svitlana spoke at length about the Ecolabel as a tool to support the transition to the circular economy model, while Denis introduced the work of the common platform for the new industrial development called CIRCULAR4INDUSTRY.
At the end of the second panel discussion, Oksana Kuleba, the co-owner of “MODUS, LLC”, shared the experience of waste management at the company.
It is worth noting that all the presentations and interventions of the speakers were very informative, relevant, vivid and emotional. The high level of interest maintained until the end of the 4-hour online marathon. This is the best assessment of the proper and thorough organizing the event, both by the organizers and by all the speakers, including the event host and the two moderators.
Kateryna Romanova, the communication and advocacy expert of RECP in Ukraine hosted the conference in an exemplary manner. Also successful and professional were the work of both moderators – Viacheslav Bykovets, the First Vice President of the Union of Entrepreneurs of Small, Medium and Privatized Enterprises of Ukraine and Olena Masliukivska, National Action Coordinator of the EU4Environment Programme in Ukraine.
The conference used the Zoom platform and enlisted over 100 participants, including representatives of the ministries, international and national organizations, domestic industrial enterprises, financial institutions, universities and NGOs. In terms of gender segregation, women accounted for 43% and men 57%, respectively.
The Center is grateful to everyone for the active participation in the national conference.
*The online conference is organized within the framework of:
– UNIDO Project “Promoting the Adaptation and Adoption of Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production through the Establishment and Operation of a Cleaner Production Centre in Ukraine” with the support of Switzerland and Austria;
– EU4Environment Programme funded by the European Union and implemented by a consortium of international partners, including OECD, UNIDO, UN Environment, UNECE and the World Bank.