About one-third of the population of the village of Pobugskoye, where the enterprise is located, is employed at the Pobuzhsky Ferro-Nickel Plant. Therefore, being a socially responsible business, PFC takes an active part in the life of the settlement. The company hosts cultural events, educates young people, provides social assistance and even improves the local infrastructure in Pobugskoye. In addition, the plant provides the settlement with water, gas and heat, and maintains the sewage system in working order.
Annual social investments amount to hundreds of thousands of hryvnas. Among other things, the plant finances the purchase of pharmaceuticals for emergency medical care, maintains a school, a sports complex and a cultural center in the village, and provides its employees with interest-free loans (reimbursable financial assistance) in the event of urgent needs, for example, if a medical operation is required. The plant offers scholarships for talented young people to pursue higher education; in 2015, 19 students were sponsored.
Proactive enterprise behavior and local people are the components of a sustainable development strategy. Dan Bronstein, Chairman of the Board of Solway Investment Group, pointed out in his interview that according to this strategy, the use of natural resources, pattern of investments, orientation of scientific and technological progress, and development of personnel and institutional changes are all interconnected.
“It is one of the fundamental principles for our industry across all stages of the production chain. This principle guides our development and extraction of ore, which will not be undertaken without appropriate environmental protection measures. Open pit or mine work carries with it risks to life and health, therefore it is crucial to care for employees. In particular, our company often starts operating in deprived regions where it becomes a city-forming company. Therefore we take responsibility for improving the overall quality of life in the region: education for children, cultural events and support for local athletes,” Dan Bronstein added.
Cultural life is a well-known problem in small settlements in Ukraine. In the framework of the strategy for sustainable development, the plant enhances the quality of cultural life of Pobugskoye. In particular, it provides financial support to the local Culture Center, as well as to the Creativity Center for Children and Youth. In the Culture Center, there are 17 clubs attended by more than 400 residents of Pobugskoye, including approximately 100 children and teenagers. The Creativity Center is regularly attended by more than 800 children and teenagers.
In 2016, an annual scholarship was established not only for talented children of the plant’s employees, but also for graduates of art institutions, sponsored by the Solway Music Fellowship to encourage their learning of a foreign language and development of youth creativity. After a talent competition, the participants of the program will have the opportunity to learn English with native speakers for free, and two scholarship winners will go to Salzburg and attend a summer youth camp run by the Salzburg International Opera Festival.
A special matter for improvement of the quality of life of the village is the work of the charity Foundation “Development of Pobugskoye”. It was founded in 2013 with the support of Pobugsky Ferronickel Plant LLC. Its main tasks are: assistance for seriously ill residents of the village, support of kindergartens and schools, conducting of sports events and other social programs.
The indicator of success of the strategy for sustainable development is improvement of the demographic situation. In 2006, the local population was about 6,500 people. By 2017, the figure had risen to almost 9,000 thousand. Young people do not leave Pobugskoye, they remain to work in their hometown. 38% of the local population is under 30 years old. The birth rate is also increasing.
In one of his interviews, the chairman of the settlement, Yuriy Slobodyanyuk, noted that close cooperation with the plant allows not only to respond to existing or emerging problems, but also to lay a solid foundation for future development.