COVID: Support small business and mitigate your risks

In this article series we ask leading energy management experts about the impact of coronavirus. 

Mariia Voloskovets, Ukraine
Chief Specialist in Standardization, Certification and Quality at Astarta Holding

In Ukraine, the businesses that have been most impacted by COVID-19 are those that are dependent on the transport and logistics sector. Being one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural companies, Astarta must try to mitigate these risks and overcome delays and other short-term supply chain challenges.

With that said, in many ways we are lucky. Being in the business of food production means we will always have demand for our products. The government recognizes the importance of our operations for food security. We have to make sure that crops continue to be planted regardless of the current economic shutdown.

Industrial energy efficiency is one way we have prepared for this kind of crisis. It is a big part of our risk management strategy and because of the efforts we made previously to monitor and manage our energy use, I think we are better prepared for this crisis. Just in the past year through the implementation of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard, and automated monitoring systems like AgriChain, we have reduced natural gas consumption by 4 per cent and electricity consumption by 0.5 per cent. In our sugar production alone we managed to reduce the amount of natural gas by 23 per cent. These energy savings have definitely helped us to reduce costs and support our staff during this challenging time.

Astarta is very much dependent on partnerships with our suppliers, subsidiaries and contractors. So even though our large company is able to carry on during this crisis, we have to recognize the struggles of our partners in the supply chain. Without them we cannot operate. That’s why we believe it’s critical for larger companies like Astarta to support their suppliers and contractors during this economic downturn. One way companies can do this is through knowledge sharing of low or no-cost energy efficiency measures. Over the years we have worked with our smaller production subsidiaries and helped them to adopt energy efficiency programs. Four plants have already received international certificates for energy management.

Processing of agricultural crops such as sugar beets and soybeans is an energy- intensive process, having direct impact on the environment. In 2019, ASTARTA implemented several measures to reduce energy consumption in accordance with the “Energy-efficiency program (ISO 50001)”. Results included a reduction in natural gas consumption by 4 per cent y-o-y. Learn more about how UNIDO is helping Ukranian company’s like Astarta achieve energy efficiency and simultaneously mitigate their risks.

Innovation in a time of COVID. The COVID-19 pandemic will change the global industrial sector forever. In this article series we ask leading energy management experts about how the virus has affected their country’s industrial sectors and what businesses could be doing to prepare for an uncertain future.