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Crafting Impact Investing Strategies for a Ukraine in Crisis

An interview with Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska

Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska is a co-founder of the Sustainable Investment Fund, a Member of Parliament of Ukraine of the VIII convocation and an expert on energy security and investment. She has 17 years of professional experience in the field of corporate governance, law, and energy, as well as 5 years as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Sustainable Development, Strategy, and Investment of the Committee on Fuel and Energy, Nuclear Policy and Nuclear Safety of the Parliament. Co-author of systemic economic and energy laws (on natural gas and electricity markets, on the regulator of energy services markets, on unbundling of “Naftogaz”, on protection of economic competition and ensuring transparency of the AMCU). Member of the National Commission for Attracting Investments in Gas Production (nine PSA competitions for the development of strategic fields in Ukraine). Participant in international negotiations and parliamentary delegations. Obtained higher and postgraduate education at leading foreign universities – UCL and Harvard Kennedy School; member of the Aspen community and the Atlantic Council Millennium Fellows. Regular participant of national and international energy and security conferences. Nataliya has published analytical articles in the Financial Times, Atlantic Council, the European Sting, and KyivPost; she is quoted by the BBC, Bloomberg, and Forbes.

Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska

Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska

Impact Entrepreneur: You are the co-founder of the Ukrainian Sustainable Investment Fund; what was the Fund focusing on before the invasion?

The Sustainable Investment Fund is a special investment vehicle focused on attracting green finance for Ukrainian sustainable projects. Before the invasion, we split our focus between alternative energy projects such as solar, wind, biomass, biogas, as well as policy development. At the policy level, we lead the project called ‘Financial tools for Ukraine’s green energy transition,’ to develop a clear set of recommendations for the government on how to create sustainable and effective green finance infrastructure.

IE: How will the invasion impact the focus of the Fund?

Two weeks ago, when the invasion happened, we decided to continue the operation of the Fund but switch the focus temporarily to meeting the instant needs of Ukrainians affected by the war. Hence, we have announced international fundraising for humanitarian aid and protective equipment. We also remain very public, explaining to people around the world that what is happening in Ukraine is an unfair war and a humanitarian catastrophe. We understand that, after the end of the war, we would also need to make changes. While our priorities will remain the same, we will need to rethink the projects we implement. Specifically, the Fund would focus on rebuilding the industries and cities of Ukraine in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and a circular economy. Here, we would particularly appreciate help from the global community of impact investors in setting an efficient framework not just for rebuilding Ukraine, but for making it sustainable, based on the principles of a circular economy.

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IE: As an impact investor based in Ukraine, what actions can the impact investor community best take now to address the crisis in Ukraine and Europe?

Nataliya Katser-BuchkovskaThe immediate help that impact investors can provide now is humanitarian aid for Ukrainians inside and outside the country. There is currently a pressing need for food, medicine, clothes, and other daily products for those who are stuck in blocked towns, are forced to spend their nights in shelters and metro stations, or have fled the country. While our soldiers protect citizens from the Russian bullets, we need to make sure we do not let women and children die of hunger or diseases.

In the middle-term, we will need help in developing a sustainable framework for the post-war circular economy. Specifically, impact investors should think about how to create more green jobs both in Ukraine and Europe to allow refugees to contribute to the post-war recovery. Besides, over the past two weeks, thousands of Ukrainians have lost their homes, as well as places to study and get healthcare. We will need much assistance in rebuilding schools, hospitals, and residential houses, as well as other infrastructure.

It is also necessary to make the European energy system more resilient: as we have seen, nuclear power plants are dangerous to rely on if you are a neighbor to someone whose desire for power can cause a new nuclear catastrophe. Therefore, we need to focus on replacing nuclear stations as well as coal with renewable energy. Finally, it is essential to create new opportunities for youth to encourage them to stay in or return to Ukraine. This can be done by building green investment and technology parks in Ukraine, as well as by supporting and mentoring young business.

To contact Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska: n.katser [at] uasif.org.

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