Since 24 February 2022, the Ukrainian economy has recorded some of the largest losses due to the significant destruction of critical infrastructure. At the same time, the territory of Ukraine suffers every day from additional environmental impacts, despite the reduction of some industrial emissions. Ukrainian businesses are also struggling to find ways to restore their capacities and create safe working conditions to meet the population’s demand for critical goods and services. These aspects alone have heavily impacted the consciousness of Ukrainians by retransforming their value system, changing perceptions, and redefining priorities for the future.
In these most difficult times, Ukrainian businesses, Government agencies, and the overall society have come together to set in motion concrete steps for recovery and restoration that are based on the principles of a green and circular economy, closely following the path of the European Green Deal.
Herewith, as part of the “Circular Economy and New Growth Opportunities” activities developed under EU4Environment, implementing partners such as UNIDO are working with the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Centre in Ukraine to support the green recovery of industry whilst reducing the negative impact on the environment.
Throughout 2022, important milestones were recorded both in terms of scaling up RECP among Ukrainian Small and Medium-sized manufacturing Enterprises (SMEs), as well as introducing the EU Single Market for Green Products (SMGP) initiative and piloting the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology in selected industries.
In terms of boosting RECP and Circular Economy practices, 14 enterprises participating in the RECP Clubs in Khmelnytskyi and Poltava were assessed and are continuously monitored and supported. Representing various production sectors (light industry, food processing, printing, machine-building and metallurgical industries, electrical equipment production, or agriculture) these SMEs partially implemented and continue to invest in incorporating efficiency measures to improve productivity and resource use, while decreasing waste and pollution. As a result, the enterprises have already decreased energy consumption by more than 122 MWh per year and reduced harmful emissions by almost 40 tonnes of CO2-eq, annually.
Active work is also underway for the manufacturing companies where the cleaner production methodology is demonstrated in full scale. According to the results of the monitoring conducted at the end of 2022, 11 companies have already saved 93,000 EUR per year, decreased energy consumption by 1,600 MWh, and reduced harmful emissions by more than 300 tonnes of CO2-eq. per year.
At the same time, 2022 marked the introduction of the SMPG and PEF methodology in Ukraine. Here, over 240 Ukrainian stakeholders and industry representatives interested in or working on green economy, circular economy, or related, participated in an awareness-raising event on the introduction of the PEF methodology and the EU SMGP initiative. This was followed by three specialised training sessions dedicated to Product Environmental Footprint. In this sense, the manufacturing sector in Ukraine interested in expanding its market to the EU was offered the opportunity to apply the PEF methodology to specific products, based on the interest of local industries, the capacity of national experts, and the available data to conduct Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of specific products in the country.
Lastly, 2022 gave the opportunity for stock-taking on the recently finalised activities on industrial waste mapping (IWM), completed in Ukraine in two Amalgamated Territorial Communities (ATCs). For the purpose of the IWM exercises, over 100 ATCs (recently established self-governing administrative units) were considered. The list was further reduced to 17 pre-selected ATCs, from which Davydiv Village Territorial Community (VTC) and Slavuta City Territorial Community (CTC), were chosen to analyse key industrial waste streams and perspectives of applying Circular Economy principles at the regional level (concomitantly exploring the options of Industrial Symbiosis and waste minimisation, among others).
Nevertheless, many Ukrainian enterprises are still forced to relocate production facilities to safer areas in order to continue with daily operations. According to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, more than 700 Ukrainian enterprises have been relocated under the state relocation programme. In this regard, EU4Environment has joined the effort to help better identify the challenges and needs of national industrial enterprises and further facilitate their green recovery. So far, important consultations on the implementation of modern resource and energy efficiency technologies, as well as on the selection of financial opportunities have been held. A survey of enterprises is currently underway until the end of March 2023 to analyse the problems faced by enterprises during their current operations or forced relocation in order to offer viable solutions and support.
In 2023, Ukrainian businesses (especially SMEs), which play an important role in economic recovery and job availability, will be provided the necessary support on green industrial recovery, efficient waste management. They will also be introduced to the benefits of implementing Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production. As well, assistance in finding investments and identifying financial opportunities both to increase resource and energy efficiency and the relocation of businesses are essential on the path towards a green and sustainable recovery. This work with industries is critical for the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian economy as having an efficient use of resources is at the very heart of support programmes to businesses.