Despite the armed conflict, Ukrainian enterprises continue working and make every effort to support the country`s economy. Many companies have to relocate due to constant threats to the safety of their personnel and production capacities. Responding to the crisis, the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine launched the National Programme for Relocating Enterprises in March 2022. Most companies are moving from intense fighting zones to safer western regions of the country. According to the data of the Ministry of Economy, over 600 enterprises finished their relocation process as of the beginning of June 2022. In total, the digital portal contains more than 1600 applications.
Where to move to?
It is far from being easy to move on such short notice and under the circumstances of constant security risks. The companies would like to have some support on the ground, and in this light, the concept of industrial parks discussed before the conflict as a tool for enhancing economic growth has never been more relevant. An allocated land plot, settled infrastructure, and support of a management company could be life-saving for the continuation of the operation in new places. At the same time, it would ease the burden on receiving regions as they would be ready to host large energy-consuming enterprises. As a result, it would benefit the business, regional development, and the economy in general.
Upon the request of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, the Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme in Ukraine will support the relocation programme as well as industrial parks in Western Ukraine with technical assistance and promote the concept of the eco-industrial model.
With proximity to the borders with Romania and Hungary and hidden behind the Carpathian Mountains, Zakarpattia is one of the first regions which started welcoming relocating companies. Convenient geographic position, available resources, and supportive communities led to the fact that, as of May 2022, around 45% of the relocated business found their new home in this region. 2 companies specializing in furniture production are already planning to start another industrial park close to Tiachiv city in Zakarpattia.
“For now, we have two companies from the areas of intense hostilities. Besides that, I got queries from 4-5 entrepreneurs I know about the opportunities of relocation. Everyone is very interested in moving to an industrial park”, says Mr Yosyf Pavlyk, a local entrepreneur and the owner of an enterprise whose facilities will become the basis for the future park.
Visionary thinking: improving business economic, environmental, and social performance
At the same time, the business and communities in Zakarpattia took one step forward to innovations and sustainable development by planning the park from the perspective of the eco-industrial parks model and circular economy.
“During the visits to the site of the future industrial park, I had an opportunity to see the commitment of local and relocating businesses, as well as local authorities, to the future industrial development. Eco-industrial parks, incorporating principles of circular economy, and aimed at improving economic, environmental and social business performances, have lots to offer. They can improve regional development and local livelihood in Zakarpattia by offering jobs and caring for the environment” said Mr Anton Kleshchov, National Project Coordinator of the UNIDO Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme in Ukraine.
Thus, the eco-industrial parks model can assist the business with a range of obstacles, including the lack of quality infrastructure and the incorporation of environmental standards while struggling to achieve economic results.
“We are not trying to accommodate only the production capacities, but we are welcoming high-skilled personnel of the relocating enterprises with their families as well. Now we face a challenge in providing them with quality housing and living conditions. In addition, we have to think about logistics for them and their families between the park and the city. Also, we think of the eco-model as the Carpathians is a green area, and we have to keep it clean,” added Yosyf Pavlyk.
Besides encouraging their suppliers to source wood responsibly, the ideas include establishing a plant producing electricity from the wood waste, which is expected to decrease production costs significantly.
The global eco-industrial parks programme in Ukraine will keep supporting industrial parks included in the project on the ground. Also, national and international experts will continue sharing inspiring international best practices related to the functioning of eco-industrial parks and providing technical assistance with developing national legislation favourable to eco-industrial parks.