On November 8, during the opening of the first Ukrainian pavilion at the annual UN COP27 international climate conference, the UN Global Compact Ukraine held a special event «Business for Green Recovery: private sector response to the Global Crisis.» The expert discussion was attended by Ukrainian business leaders who today are at the forefront of responding to the devastating consequences of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The event began with a conversation between the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine Tetiana Sakharuk and the Executive Director of DTEK Maksym Timchenko. The head of DTEK talked about the company’s losses from regular attacks by the Russian army. Thus, DTEK power plants were fired at by 115 Russian missiles, as a result of which more than 9,000 units of DTEK network equipment were damaged. The losses suffered by DTEK thermal power plants in February-October 2022 amount to UAH 17.6 billion. More than 30% of the damage occurred on October 10, when Russia intensified its shelling. The company urgently needs equipment and help from international partners so that Ukrainians have uninterrupted access to electricity.
The biggest losses are lives and health of our colleagues. 243 colleagues are injured, 19 have gone missing, 4 colleagues are captured and 98 colleagues were killed. 4567 DTEK colleagues are serving in Ukrainian Armed Forces.
DTEK is restoring damaged power grids and continuing projects in the field of clean technologies and renewable energy sources to build a completely new sustainable energy system in Ukraine, which would be based on green technologies and help end Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Ukraine can potentially attract about EUR 35-40 billion of private investments to implement the program aiming to increase the capacity of RES to 30 GW by 2030. We are talking not only about the construction of solar and wind power plants; it is also about large investments in transmission systems, in energy storage systems. This includes the construction of green hydrogen production capacities. DTEK is the largest RES investor in Ukraine. Considering the difficult circumstances of the company’s work in this direction, Maksym Timchenko notes:
«We are not abandoning our plans for decarbonization by 2040. Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine demonstrated the great importance of energy independence for security and peace on the European continent. The great strategic mistake of European countries was too strong dependence on the energy resources of Russia. The President of Ukraine said that Ukraine should become the green hub of Europe. Therefore, we plan to introduce new technologies in the energy sector even before the victory.»
The Executive Director of DTEK is convinced that Ukraine can become a country with 100 % clean energy — nuclear and green. Before the war, the Ukrainian electricity structure consisted of 70 % nuclear energy and 10 % renewable sources. Ukraine has great potential for wind and solar energy and can become a center of green energy for European partners.
DTEK is promoting the idea of building new generation capacities in Ukraine to reach 30 GW of RES by 2030. Investments can be secured by equity guarantees provided by EU governments and international financial organizations. 30 GW of renewable energy sources will mean reaching 50 % in the capacity structure and exporting 15 GW of clean energy to the EU through electricity and clean hydrogen. The best guarantee of Ukraine’s security after the war is an investment in the Ukrainian energy industry. An insurance guarantee is crucial for investors who will come to Ukraine. And it is the Ukrainian energy industry that will also become a guarantee of European security. Ukraine has enormous potential in renewable energy sources and will contribute to the creation of a green and prosperous continent for the well-being of all Europeans.
The second part of the event was devoted to the discussion of the main challenges for key business sectors of Ukraine, provoked by Russia’s military aggression.
Challenge №1 is sustainable food production for food security.
According to Alex Lissitsa, CEO of IMK, the fragility, injustice, and contradictions in the world’s current agri-food system are now more evident than ever. The debate about food security and sustainability in the context of the war in Ukraine has revived the long-standing debate about «who will feed the world.» Some believe that only large-scale industrial agriculture is capable of feeding the world’s population, the number of which is constantly growing. According to this view, food security must be achieved through increased production. On the other hand, it is important to look for a sustainable solution for the food sector, such as small-scale farming, which is not only a sustainable alternative to industrial agriculture but also more sustainable in times of crisis.
Given the current situation in the Ukrainian food sector, Alex Lissitsa believes that food security is a matter of survival for Ukraine. Therefore, we should take care first of all about the availability of food products, not forgetting, however, about their compliance with international standards.
Challenge №2 — permanent telecommunications.
The telecommunications technology sector in Ukraine is a vital component of the country’s infrastructure and plays a crucial role in digitalization and economic growth. Olga Ustinova, CEO of Vodafone Ukraine, is convinced that our attention should be focused on using digital opportunities to make the real world more sustainable and comfortable for life. And for this, it is necessary to take care of the development and implementation of technologies that reduce CO2 emissions.
Challenge № 3 is environmentally friendly reconstruction.
According to KSE, the total amount of direct documented losses to residential and non-residential real estate and other infrastructure of Ukraine as of September 2022 amounted to more than $127 billion. The reconstruction of Ukraine requires both long-term solutions and immediate actions. As a result of a quick response to the need to rebuild buildings destroyed by Russia, the Caparol company created a new range of products — Alpina Expert Restart. This is not just a line of materials, but a system of solutions with detailed step-by-step instructions and video reviews.
Vitaly Vereshchagin, CEO of Caparol Ukraine, also emphasized the importance of following environmental standards during reconstruction, such as LEED certification:
“LEED certification has always been important, but after the war it will be critical. I am happy to acknowledge that Caparol’s products meet its criteria and that LEED-compliant construction companies are our partners.”
Challenge № 4 is the permanent replacement of oil and gas.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused oil and gas prices to rise. Oleksiy Ryabchyn, adviser to the chairman of Naftogaz of Ukraine on low-carbon business, adviser to the deputy prime minister on European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, noted that the reduction in natural gas flows to Europe means that the continent should hope for a frugal winter since the EU pledged to cut gas imports from Russia by two-thirds over the next year. To achieve this goal, member states agreed to cut gas use by 15% over the next seven months. EU countries are looking at manufacturers such as the USA and Qatar. However, there is a lack of equipment for supplying gas from these countries.
The national joint-stock company «Naftogaz of Ukraine» announced that it is working on increasing natural gas production and can supply gas to European countries by the heating season next year. In general, Naftogaz intends to build at least 9 TPP and biomass boiler plants in 8 regions of Ukraine with a total capacity of 250 MW of thermal energy and 52 MW of electrical energy. The company ambitiously aims to become the largest heat producer from biomass by 2027 and to replace approximately 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Thanks to this, Ukraine can almost completely abandon the use of natural gas for centralized heating, replacing it with bioenergy.
This panel was moderated by Tetiana Sakharuk, the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine. At the end of the event, she noted that all companies that participated in the discussion, as well as in the creation of the Ukrainian pavilion at COP27, belong to the UN Global Compact community:
«All Ukrainian businesses participating in this event are taking real actions to respond to global climate challenges, as well as the consequences of environmental terrorism committed by Russia in Ukraine. I am sure that we will win and will be able to neutralize all the consequences of the war with joint efforts.»