CEO and Founder, Astarta-Kyiv
At Astarta-Kyiv, a huge agro-industrial holding in Ukraine, founder and CEO Viktor Ivanchyk ensures that sustainable development is embedded throughout its wide-ranging interests.
His already daunting challenge has shifted of late, with added urgency as his homeland nation has been invaded by Russia.
Before the war, the company focused on combating climate change, the sustainable development of cities and communities and renewable energy in the agricultural sector, Ivanchyk told the United Nations Global Compact.
“Now the focus has shifted to the social sphere: saving lives, protecting human rights and freedoms, overcoming hunger and poverty, peace, justice and strong institutions,” he said.
“However, adapting to the current conditions, we are still gradually trying to return to the priorities of peacetime - issues of combating climate change, decarbonisation,” he said. “At the same time, it is necessary to raise the living standards of people - social, domestic and intellectual.”
For his achievements, Ivanchyk was named by the UN Global Compact as a 2022 SDG Pioneer for Sustainable Business Strategy. The SDG Pioneer Program of the Global Compact is designed to honor business professionals who show exemplary work in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Astarta-Kyiv is Ukraine’s top sugar producer and the nation’s top milk and cattle producer. It is an industry leader as well in soybean processing, animal husbandry and bioenergy, in which biogas is produced from residues of the sugar production and is a substitute for natural gas.
“The current energy crisis caused by Russia's aggression in Ukraine is negatively affecting the entire world community, so people need to make even more efforts to find alternative energy sources,” he told the UN Global Compact.
Ivanchyk was born in a village in Ukraine’s Poltava region, educated in mechanical engineering and has advanced degrees in business. In 1993 he founded Astarta, which was listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in 2006. It was one of the first Ukrainian companies to join the UN Global Compact in 2008.
Several of its sugar plants have implemented energy efficiency programmes, reducing their consumption of natural gas, electricity and water. In its agricultural segment, which is its biggest consumer of diesel fuel, the introduction of new technologies has brought about a drop in diesel consumption by 14%.
Last year, the company took second place among 89 agricultural companies in a global ESG ranking by Sustainalytics, a renowned provider of ESG research, ratings and data, and won a silver medal from EcoVadis, an international rating agency that measures company ESG performances in 200 industries in 160 countries.
Astarta’s Wings project is a global initiative aimed at helping women in rural areas become economically independent and start their own businesses. Its program Rise! - in which the Global Compact Network Ukraine is a partner - educates young people to be leaders who will value sustainable development and such principles as transparent business conduct, the creation of attractive jobs and care for people and the environment.
“We cultivate a culture of caring for the use of natural resources,” Ivanchyk told the Global Compact.
“When there is a critical mass of such conscious people, they will become the driving force of positive qualitative transformations, first at the level of local communities involved in the Astarta's business ecosystem, later, in Ukraine and globally,” he said.