Russian Federation’s Invasion of Ukraine caused a new reality in which we have been living for the past sixth month.
The war has significant consequences for Ukraine's industrial sector, such as damage to many enterprises, disruptions in supply chains, logistics problems, and a decrease in domestic consumption.
The energy infrastructure of Ukraine was damaged and destroyed. Ultimately, Ukraine lost up to 50% of its economy.
At the same time, the Green Deal in Ukraine, which has been granted EU candidate status recently, remains one of the important and promising areas for future recovery.
At the end of July 2022, Recovery and Development Plan of Ukraine was completed. This document considers today's challenges of war, the European Green Deal goals, the obligations of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and WTO membership.
The Plan draft was presented previously at the Ukraine Recovery Conference (on July 4-6 in Lugano, Switzerland), which was attended by more than 20 international organizations and delegations from 40 countries.
NGO "Living Planet" is involved in the Plan at all stages - from formation to discussion and implementation. Our experts are members of the "Economic recovery and development" and "Environmental safety" working groups (created under the National Council for the Recovery of Ukraine from the Consequences of the War by the Decree of the President of Ukraine).
It's important to notice, that economic recovery under the Plan means, among others, the next steps:
- removal of technical barriers to trade (TBT) for Ukrainian manufacturers to EU Single Market for Green Products (SMGP), by disseminating the necessary certification and conformity assessment procedures
- rise manufacturer's awareness in mentioned issues
- support for ecological products manufacturers
- expanding the capacity of Ukrainian manufacturers to participate in energy-efficient, green, and sustainable public procurement
- restoration support for the destroyed industry and infrastructure facilities with applying energy-efficient and cleaner technologies and management methods and other measures linked with the Green Deal principles.
Ukrainian ecolabelling Type I Program - “Green Crane”
The war also affected the "Green Crane” Ecolabelling body. Since the beginning of the war, the number of works on certification and supervision has decreased significantly. During the 6 months of the war, only 9 licensed enterprises applied to maintain the certificate’s validity.
24 of 88 licensed enterprises temporarily stopped manufacturing due to the destruction caused by the russian occupiers shelling.
During the shelling of the Irpin and Bucha cities (Kyiv region), the names of which were at the top of the world news for more than a month, the LLC "Planeta Plastik" plant was bombed, and then the main production lines were damaged by started fire. The Plant has been producing polyethylene products such as sleeves for grain storage and greenhouse films.
State enterprise "Artemsil" (Soledar, Donetsk region), the largest European salt producer, after direct hits of russian weapons in mines and warehouses (Pic.1)
Рic 1. State enterprise "Artemsil"
"SINIAT" LLC (Bakhmut, Donetsk region) – Ukrainian facilities of the world-famous "LaFarge group" brand of construction dry mixtures and plasterboard. After multiple attacks, the factory turned into ruins, with no surviving wall or roof, only some metal structures, a fence, and a bus stop next to the factory (Pic.2).
Pic 2. "SINIAT" LLC, LaFarge groups
KNAUF Gypsum Donbas LLC (Soledar, Donetsk region) - a factory of the world-famous brand of dry gypsum mixtures and plasterboard. As a result of the strike caused by russian aircraft, facilities were damaged (Pic.3).
Pic.3 “KNAUF Gypsum Donbas” LLC
All the listed enterprises have manufactured products with the "Green Crane" logo.
The surviving facilities of other licensed enterprises don’t work at whole capacity, among others, because of the personnel loss (someone defends the country, and someone was killed or is forced to become a refugee).
Despite the significant decrease in income from ecolabelling, the NGO "Living Planet" financially supports the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defeat the invaders and participates in various humanitarian and volunteer missions.
NGO “Living Planet” in Ukraine recovery projects after the war
The needs of our citizens who were left without housing or were forced to move to safer cities and the restoration of destroyed infrastructure determine the undoubted priority of the construction industry in the nearest future.
This was also proved by the round table "Rebuilding Ukraine together" results, which took place after the first month of the war - on March 23. More than 250 participants took part: construction companies, building materials manufacturers, the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine, and other authorities, together with independent experts and businesses.
The round table participants organized a working group to search for opportunities to rebuild Ukraine and help all victims of russian aggression. Experts from "Living Planet" also joined the working group.
The activities of the NGO "Living Planet" on Ukraine’s recovery will be focused on:
- participation in the development of recommendations for the management of damaged buildings and the use of construction waste to produce building materials (in partnership with the EU-funded APENA 2 project)
- development of criteria for sustainable road construction (as part of joint projects with UNEP under the EU4Environment program funded by the EU)
- development of a new Standard for energy-efficient and green construction (in partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Climate Projects project, implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Government)
- This new Standard for energy-efficient and green construction will be applied in the Green Crane ecolabel program. Based on this Standard, GIZ is expected to design typical projects for schools and kindergartens instead of almost 2,000 of those that were destroyed.
NGO “Living Planet” and partners activities in the climate change prevention
On May 15, 2022, on World Climate Day, the NGO "Living Planet" invited teachers and education workers to join the Climate Education Course. This course was developed by the NGO Living Planet specifically for Primary and Secondary schools (with the participation of the Finnish Local Cooperation Fund and education specialists).
Key lessons of the course explain the relationship between consumer behavior and its impact on climate change and the role of eco-labelling in these issues.
Pic.4 Climate Education Course
Cooperation of the NGO “Living Planet” and state authorities in monitoring the war consequences on air quality and other environmental components
Almost from the first days of the war, we have been working in the expert team of the Public Council of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine and supporting the work of the Operational Headquarters of the State Environmental inspectorate of Ukraine.
Working together with state bodies management, scientists, and experts, we are working at the Headquarters on recording crimes against the environment caused by the russian military aggression and forming a witness base, as well as on improving legislation and environmental damage evaluating methodology.
When developing such methods, our chemical safety experts suggested using the classification of chemicals following the internationally agreed standardized UN system - The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). When the proposition was approved by the Headquarters leadership, our experts provided the classification of chemicals according to the GHS, guided by the data of the European Chemicals Agency (ESNA).
Together with the State Environmental inspectorate in the L’viv region, consultations were held to improve, considering international standards, studies to establish pollution levels after attacks on critical infrastructure facilities (according to international standards).
For each of the crimes, an inspection is conducted to calculate environmental damage in monetary terms. It is necessary for legal actions against the aggressor state (Pic.5).
Pic.5 The NGO “Living Planet” experts with the State Environmental inspectorate representatives at the Operational Headquarters meeting.
Also, to quickly record the crimes of the Russian occupiers against the environment (and the atmospheric air, in particular), these authorities have created electronic resources where Ukrainians can report all the facts of the environmental crimes they have seen. For example, the burning of military equipment, forest fires, the leakage of oil products or poisonous substances into the soil or water bodies, and the toxic substances emission into the air (chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, hydrocyanic acid, and nitric acid, etc.). Every citizen can make a statement about such an accident in real-time mode with a geolocation position. To do this, he needs to join the special chat or install the appropriate application on his smartphone (App I Android):
- Telegram: @EcoShkodaBot– chatbot carried by the State Environmental inspectorate
- EcoZagroza – mobile application (available at App and Android Market). Initiated and developed by the
Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine with the support of the EU within the framework of the APENA 2 project.
In the EcoZagroza application and on the website www.ecozagroza.gov.ua you can follow the changes in the pollution levels of air, water, soil, and other environmental and economic indicators caused by the war. The emissions volume is indicated in tons and the number of losses in the national currency.
The real military operations scale will become evident after looking at the charts (Pic. 6,7) and calculators (Pic.8), which show emissions into the air after the destruction of various types of enemy equipment.
These monitoring data will be needed in the future to eliminate the consequences of crimes and receive reparations from Russia for all damages caused to Ukraine.
Pic. 6 Ecozagroza.gov.ua monitoring data
Pic. 7 Ecozagroza.gov.ua monitoring data: emissions into the air after the destruction of various types of enemy equipment, tonnes
Pic.8 Ecozagroza.gov.ua. Calculator for evaluating environmental / air pollution due to the destruction of enemy equipment and weapons (by substances)
On June 23, at the Brussels summit, EU Leaders granted Ukraine to become a candidate to join the European Union. It is a bold geopolitical step triggered by russia's invasion that Kyiv and Brussels hailed as an "historic moment". Starting on the long path to EU membership will be a huge boost for Ukraine, greening the economy and, of course, for ecolabels, as an integral component of this process.
We sincerely thank the GEN members and all who support NGO“Living Planet” and Ukraine in these difficult times!