The pandemic and the economic crisis are not the reason for socially responsible companies to abandon their commitments.
New challenges facing humanity make companies change their attitude towards the world around them, taking into account not only production indicators, but also environmental safety of business, creating conditions for the harmonious and safe development of their residents and local communities in the regions of their presence.
Pobuzhsky Ferronickel Plant (Kirovohrad region), which is a part of the international group “Solway”, has been implementing a strategy for sustainable business development for more than a year: “The plant has chosen the following goals: safety and health, education, emissions reduction, partnership. Among the principles of sustainable development, it is important for the company to increase the number of stakeholders that are under our influence. If earlier it were mainly our employees and their family members, now they include contractors, suppliers, buyers and all residents of the region. In fact, we are forming our own business ecosystem,” explains PFP CEO Denys Shevchenko.
Everything starts with production
“For PFP and our investor, Solway, compliance with the principles of sustained development means adopting a long-term strategy to improve efficiency in this area. It is important for us to achieve goals in compliance with the values laid down in the set of international standards. One of the important components of the concept of sustained development is to work without harm to future generations,” Denys Shevchenko continues.
Therefore, one of the directions of the plant’s strategy is systematic modernization and repair of basic equipment aimed at improving the safety of equipment and bringing it to the level of modern MMC practices. Thus, as a result of the overhaul of ore and thermal furnace No. 2 launched in November 2020, the volume of processed ore for the 1st half of 2021 amounted to 666,278 tons (86.4% compared to the first half of 2020). This corresponds to 32,291 tons of ferronickel from ore raw materials (74.4% by the first half of 2020), or 7,375 tons of nickel (90.6% by the first half of 2020). In general, PFP’s investments to support production potential (purchase of equipment, equipment, construction, etc.) in the first half of 2021 amounted to more than UAH35 million.
While implementing the sustainable development strategy adopted in 2017, the PFP investor approved a program to reduce the impact of production on the environment and put the task to increase the level of emissions purification to 99.9% in accordance with European standards. At the same time, the plant started a long-term project for the reconstruction of the third stage of gas cleaning equipment on tubular rotary kilns No. 1 and No. 2. This unique for Ukraine project will allow the plant to comply with international standards in the field of nature protection.
In 2020 construction and installation works were carried out for the foundations for the chimney and sleeve filters in the amount of UAH 8.4 million. The total amount of expenses (the cost of purchased equipment and work performed in 2018-2020) amounted to UAH66.4 million and investments for the first half of 2021 amounted to UAH 20.2 million.
“The planned reconstruction of the waste gas purification system is designed to increase the level of their purification and improve the quality of aspiration and gas cleaning equipment, as well as reduce energy consumption, the amount of waste and emissions into the environment,” explains the CEO of PFP.
For the benefit of the community
According to the company’s report for the 1st half of 2021, the cost of maintaining the social sphere amounted to UAH 2.2 million. The cost of sponsorship, cultural and mass work and rehabilitation of employees amounted to UAH 3.4 million, which is twice the expenditures for the corresponding period last year (222.1% in relation to the first half of 2020).
The Charity Foundation ” Development of Pobuzhye”, established on the initiative of PFP in 2013, in the first half of 2021 actively financed measures for the improvement of Pobuzhskoye and settlements in Pobuzhskaya territorial community, including educational, cultural and medical institutions. At the expense of the PFP and the Foundation, repairs were carried out and equipment necessary for their full-fledged work was purchased.
“Today, the plant confirms social responsibility for an area of about 200 square km with population of more than 9 thousand people. It provides financial assistance to social and cultural institutions, schools, assistance in reconstruction and maintenance of the infrastructure of these villages and their inhabitants. This is a fundamental issue for us and our investors,” Denys Shevchenko commented on PFP’s social work for the first half of the year.
About the connection between production, education and needs of local communities
Within the framework of social obligations undertaken by the PFP, the issue of improving the quality of education occupies a special place. “Our common goal by 2030 is to increase the share of young people and adults with sought vocational and social skills that can help them with employment and in search of a decent job or for entrepreneurial activities,” explains Denys Shevchenko.
Thus, in the first half of 2021, 83 people received new professions in the PFP training course, and 67 people improved their qualifications. 13 employees study at universities: 3 people on full-time education, 10 people on part-time basis.
The cost of training staff of PFP LLC in the first half of 2021 amounted to UAH 403,000 (223.0% in relation to the first half of 2020).
In addition, a scholarship program is being implemented in the field of general education, which, together with the Salzburg International Festival, was established in 2016 for talented young people living in the Kirovohrad region. The updated and expanded @creative.fellowship program aims to help young men and girls gain skills that will give them an advantage when looking for a job or developing their own business.
Last year, PFP launched an interactive project “@pitch.prjct” (@pitch.prjct) on the Instagram, aimed at adolescents defined by the choice of profession. The project in an clear and exciting form introduces the opportunities and prospects that the mining industry opens up. “PICH” is designed to raise interest in the industry, and ideally – to increase the number of people who in the future will choose technical or specialized disciplines.