A strong economy does not tolerate the ignorance of environmental issues
As the economy is undergoing major transformations, the role of the environment has significantly increased.
Earlier Ukraine could choose the pace of raising its environmental standards but now we are forced not only to catch up with our colleagues, especially from the EU, by adopting their rules of the game, and also take a direct part in their formation. Without a proactive role in shaping and implementing the climate and environmental agenda, we risk becoming uncompetitive and losing markets, particularly in the European Union.
Today, EBA is forming a new system of values reflected in our support of companies that respect the environment, care for its preservation and prosperity. Therefore, with the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, the European Atomic Energy Community, and their Member States, Ukraine has committed itself to strengthen environmental protection.
Therefore, on September 29, 2021, we launched the cross-sectoral dialogue EBA Odesa Eco-Agro Talks: “Ensuring Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Manufacturing: in search of balance” to discuss issues and challenges at the intersection of environmental protection, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Svitlana Mykhailovska, EBA Deputy Director for Advocacy opened the event as a moderator and said that the European Business Association has consistently advocated the need for European integration reforms, particularly in the field of environmental protection. Besides, it always provides its expertise and comments on all legislative initiatives.
Olga Boiko, EBA Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Development Committee Coordinator spoke about environmental protection for companies. Thus, Ms. Boiko gave a general review of the relevant legislation and policies in Ukraine and focused on waste management, subsoil use, climate laws, environmental control, the European Green Deal, etc.
“In 2016-2021, the progress of Ukraine’s implementation of environmental tasks under the Association Agreement with the EU amounted to 56%. And every year the result worsens. The biggest failures happened in realizing the eurointegration reforms in the field of waste management, nature protection, industrial pollution, as well as fundamental reforms – state environmental control and environmental finance. Meanwhile, we are facing new challenges, namely the need to prepare for the implementation of СВАМ (carbon border adjustment mechanism). There is no time to procrastinate anymore – we have to act quickly together considering the interests of the state, the public, and business!”, – Ms. Boiko emphasized.
Oleksandr Smyslov, General Director, Founder of the Factum Conformity Assessment Center, reported on certification and waste management, namely ISO international standards in the environmental, manufacturing, and agricultural spheres. Thus, the standard ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System, SEM) is an effective tool that enables the control of the environmental impact of the enterprise on the environment, if necessary, reducing it to a minimum. The availability of this management system for small and medium-sized businesses minimizes the impact on the environment, provides a competitive advantage, increases operational efficiency and savings, ensures the trust of all stakeholders. In turn, the ISO 22000: 2018 standard covers all elements of the food production and supply chain that affect the safety of the final product, defines the requirements for food safety management systems, and includes elements of good manufacturing practice (GMP), as well as HACCP principles (hazard analysis and critical control points).
Vitalii Dankevych, Chair of the EBA Environmental Working Group in Odesa, Director UkrEcoProm, shared the statistics and facts about the disposal of used packaging materials, outlined the problems of their d impact on the environment, and gave a comparative analysis of container management in the European Union (EU) and Ukraine. Mr. Dankevych drew special attention to the Agro Varta project initiated by the Subcommittee on Crop Protection Container Management of the EBA Agrochemical Committee. Thus, the project unites 8 member companies of the European Business Association for the purpose of free collection and disposal of pesticide packaging throughout Ukraine. As a result, the percentage of container collection from the total mass in the EU is 70%, and in Ukraine only 9%. Therefore, the task of the Pilot Project Agro Varta is to significantly increase this indicator through the development of logistics and communication links as well as to create a quality and convenient service for farmers.
The issue of tax regulation in 2022 was covered by Vitaliy Smerdov, Partner Crowe Mikhailenko Tax Practice, freelance advisor to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Tax, and Customs Policy. He talked about the right to tax amnesty, as well as its implications and benefits. There was a discussion on foreign structures behind agricultural holdings in Ukraine, information required from them by tax authorities, the taxation of controlled foreign companies in 2022, the way Ukrainian business is preparing for tax changes, and other recent news of tax legislation.
Also, Vitaliy Gagauz, Director of Valuation and Mortgage Operations Bank Pivdenny, Ph.D., REV Tegova, presented the financial opportunities, prospects, and availability of loan programmes. Thus, farmers encourage banks to develop products and financing programmes. In this context, Mr. Gagauz listed the main financing instruments tailored for the agricultural sector in Ukraine, namely: a loan to replenish working capital (autumn and spring fieldwork), servicing the documentary operations of farmers, credit programs for the purchase (renewal) of agricultural machinery, leasing and reverse leasing of agricultural equipment and transport, agricultural land mortgage for individuals which is especially relevant given the recent opening of the land market in Ukraine, purchase of currency under contracts, blank lending, etc. . Thus, the bank is ready to become a reliable back for farmers to lean on.
As we can see, sustainable development is a systemic trend of today, which requires new strategies, responsibilities, and action plans from the state, society, and business. Today we can state that the EBA member companies take a bold move towards greening. In turn, the European Business Association is ready to continue to be a reliable GR-advisor for its member companies, to implement legislative and regulatory changes in the field of environmental protection, and to act as an effective platform for cross-sectoral communication and discussion of related issues.
On behalf of the European Business Association, we thank the General Partners and partners: UkrEcoProm, Factum Conformity Assessment Center, Arzinger JSC, Premier Hotel Odesa, Shateau Grona, and IDS Borjomi for their unfailing support of an event!