This idea was central at the round-table meeting "Zaporozhye: How To Increase Economic Potential And Preserve The Environment", organized in our city by the Ukrainian Business Journal "EXPERT". This event was held at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry a few days ago and attracted close attention of the public and the press. It was not by chance that DNEPROSPETSSTAL came forward as the main partner of the event. Environmental issues have always been a top priority on the Company's agenda.
The forum included business, industrial and political leaders of the Zaporozhye region, headed up by Evgeniy Chervonenko, Governor of the Region and Evgeniy Kartashov, Mayor of Zaporozhye.
The purpose of the project "EXPERT" was to elevate the biggest concerns of the regions to a nation-wide level, to create conditions for an effective search for best strategies and solutions, to shape public opinion on the problems under discussion as well as to get qualified specialists and experts involved in the process.
The round-table meeting was held in the form of discussion "Government and Business". The issues touched upon included stimulating investment in construction, economic and energy problems of the region and implementation of energy saving technologies.
Special emphasis was put on the environmental situation in the city and the region. Evgeny Chervonenko, Governor of the Region, acquainted the participants with the project for introduction of ecological monitoring systems in local industrial plants and proposed that emission monitoring equipment should be installed at the region's companies.
Our steel mill supports this idea also. We were the first among industrial companies in Zaporozhye to sign an agreement with local authorities stipulating that before the year 2009 DNEPROSPETSSTAL would introduce a new gas purification system. We are ready to be among the first companies to have emission monitoring equipment installed in their grounds.
Daniel Valk, Chairman of the Board at DNEPROSPETSSTAL pointed out: "In the first quarter of the current year DNEPROSPETSSTAL approved an environmental investment program worth between UAH 40 and 50 million. And if you look at the situation with harmful atmospheric emissions, you see a definite trend at DNEPROSPETSSTAL toward their reduction. This is why we support the idea of emission monitoring and think that it will give an objective picture of the environmental situation in Zaporozhye.
There is a practice in the West to stimulate businesses investing in environment. Metaphorically speaking, the State should have a "carrot' for businesses. For example - it's exemption from tax on company investments in technology modernization".
Also, in his speech D.Valk called for a fair and transparent distribution of state funds budgeted for environment, formed largely from taxes imposed on industrial giants. Today the bulk of these funds remains in the Capital. This imbalance should be redressed in favor of the regions.
The participants of the round-table discussion have drawn the conclusion that the most effective way of overcoming the environmental crisis is to increase pollution fines and fees. But only if a state-level program of certain privileges and preferential treatment is approved for companies which invest in production modernization and introduce new technologies.
This was not the first time that DNEPROSPETSSTAL participated in projects focused on environmental issues. In future similar events will form an important part of the efforts aimed at improving the ecological situation in this region.
Materials of EXPERT related to the round-table meeting will be posted on our website once the special issue of the journal is published.