GSA 2023 Finalist

Green Skills Award 2023 finalist: Ukraine - Taras Shevchenko National University


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Building, Developing and Proliferating Green Education in Ukraine

Ukraine has long had its sights on a green transformation of its economy. Long before other countries in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership regions, Ukraine was planning to train a new generation of young professionals to tackle the industrial, business and employment needs to create an ecologically-aware, sustainability-focused economy in the longer term.

In November 2009 – long before the current crisis and conflict became the country’s most pressing concern – Ukraine’s leading public university, the Taras Shevchenko National University in the capital, Kyiv, established a Department of Environmental Management and Entrepreneurship with the Faculty of Economics.

Nataliia Honcharenko, head of the department, said the decision to set up the new specialisms was prompted by a desire to meet the goals of the European Green Deal, which aim to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, and eventually make Europe a climate neutral continent,

“The purpose of setting up the department was to train the specialists required to ensure the transformation of the economic system on green and sustainable principles within the condition of the European integration of Ukraine,” Nataliia says.

The breadth and scope of the department is what makes it one of the 10 finalists in the European Training Foundation’s Green Skills Awards 2023.

The department is based on a “successful collaboration of leading Ukrainian scientists and German businessman, Dietrich Walter, who was head of department between 2009-2017. Working closely with Valerii Geets, vice-president of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences and others, Walter’s vision of developing international cooperation in economic and ecological education has been realised, she adds.

The department learned from the “unconventional, innovative methods and approaches” to business, research and education long practised by Dr Walter.

Since the first students were recruited in 2010 for a Masters’ programme in Environmental Entrepreneurship, other courses have been added. Today, the department counts more than 400 Bachelor and 180 Masters graduates, along with 15 PhD students. Courses offered include the Economics of Sustainable Development, Ecological Economics, Ecological Management, Ecological Marketing, Ecological Entrepreneurship, Environmental Policy of the Enterprise, Modern Technologies of ‘Green’ Business, Environmental Accounting, Taxation and Reporting, Environmental Law and others.

“Our graduates have found jobs with national and international companies that include KPMG, the World Bank, L’Oreal and OMD Media Direction, Ukraine,” Nataliia says, adding that more than 20 bachelor, masters and post-graduate students have won national and international competitions for student research papers.

A range of textbooks, academic papers and a ‘Green Business Glossary’ has been published. Students have participated in international competitions and an annual international conference of young scientists, “Green Business-Living for the Future” launched.

The textbooks include those on Entrepreneurship, Environmental economics, Environmental Auditing and International Green Business.

“We’ve also hosted an internship for Kazakh students, postgrads and professors from Karaganda University, Kazakhstan. And put on exhibitions on Sustainable Consumption,” Nataliia notes.

There have been many other successful international collaborations, including a Ukrainian-Swiss project on the development of a simulation computer programme on “Strategy of ‘Green’ Development of the Enterprise” and the opening of a master’s programme “Economic Security of Entrepreneurship” with the support of the Ukrainian International Centre and the European Commission.

The department has initiated and organised 17 international forums, scientific and practical conferences, including – for young scientists –“Green Business – Life for the Future” held annually since 2011.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the continuing conflict has done nothing to dampen a determination to rebuild green and sustainable after the war, as Politico magazine has noted.

Nataliia is one of those enthusiasts: “The green rebuilding of Ukraine is an ambitious goal and priority task of business, government and the young generation to tackle after the war.”

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